Great British Walks - Mersea Island
This simple clockwise walk around Mersea Island in Essex is fairly long but can be done in one day, or could be split over two shorter days, if you arrange for transport at the halfway point.
The first half takes you along the sea wall in the north of the island, with mud flats on one side and fields on the other. Coastal wildlife is abundant on these wide-open and isolated stretches.The southern half goes through the more built-up part of the island, along the beach and past beach huts and chalets
Follow this guide to plan your walk. We've included details on how long it should take you to complete, where to park, and some places to stop for food and drink along the way.
We've also included a recommendation of where to stay if you're looking to book a pitch nearby and spend more time in this area.
Picture courtesy John D Williams/stock.adobe.com
Your walk around the most easterly inhabited island in the UK starts from the town of West Mersea, taking you west along the coast road, past the Victory pub, the Oyster Bar and the Coast Inn before leaving the main road and heading along the sea wall. The route passes along the Strood Channel, with views over the water to Ray Island Nature Reserve and Langenhoehall Marsh before heading inland.
You’ll briefly find yourself on a main road, but after a few hundred yards take the footpath that follows the line of the sea wall around the coast. Continue alongside the mudflat of the Pyefleet Channel to Reeveshall Marsh where there are good views over the water to uninhabited Pewit Island, once the centre of a thriving oyster industry.
Past the island, stay on the sea wall and start to head south, passing Mersea Stone where there’s a ferry service to the mainland during the summer. A few hundred yards further on, the route continues southwards to Cudmore Grove Country Park. Here you can stroll along the sandy beach and enjoy views towards Brightlingsea. Look out for wildlife including marsh harriers and water voles.
There are also toilets here and it’s a good place to stop for a picnic. The area is rich in historic features, including World War II pillboxes and gun emplacements as well as the remains of a 16th century blockhouse fort built to defend the river mouth.
The walk then passes along the south side of the island with great views over the Mersea Flats to the Blackwater Estuary. You have the choice to walk along the sea wall or continue along the beach.
At high tide the beach gets completely submerged with no exit points, so if the water is encroaching go for the sea wall option. The final section of the walk takes you along the coast through West Mersea past the beach huts to the finish point in the centre of town. West Mersea has a number of pubs where you can enjoy some well-deserved refreshments after your exertions.
Picture courtesy John D Williams/stock.adobe.com
PLAN YOUR WALK
Route A circular route around the island of Mersea
Distance 13 miles
Time 6 hours in total
Terrain Combination of sea walls, roads and sandy beaches
Difficulty Moderately easy
Parking Public car park in West Mersea
Cudmore Grove Country Park is located at the eastern end of Mersea. Walk along the sandy beach and enjoy views across the water. There’s also marshland and grassland which is perfect for picnics.
FOOD AND DRINK
WHERE TO STAY
WALDEGRAVES HOLIDAY PARK
Waldegraves is situated on the beautiful Mersea Island overlooking the sparkling Blackwater Estuary. Enjoy walks around some of south east England’s most breathtaking scenery; discover coastal walks alongside rivers, estuaries and streams or country strolls surrounded by fields and farmland. A wide selection of self-catering luxury static holiday homes are available for hire at the Park and there’s a choice of electric, non-electric and hardstanding pitches. Holiday home ownership allows you to enjoy a coastal break whenever you want during the 11 month season.
Accepts tents, caravans and motorhomes. Pet friendly accommodation available.
Mersea Island, Essex CO5 8SE
OPEN 15 FEBRUARY - 15 JANUARY
Price: Touring from £20 per night and short breaks in a static holiday home from £159 per break.
EAT & DRINK
Restaurant, clubhouse, bar and shop on site.
• Four fishing lakes
• Beach access
• Outdoor heated pool
• Golfing facilities
• Children’s play areas
• Wheelchair-friendly facilities
• WiFi available
• Motorhome waste empty point
• A dog walking area
Want more great tent information? Our "Hillwalking, hiking and trekking: the camping guide" is full of great information and camping advice.
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