Jim’s Colne Estuary Walk, Sunday 21st May

Words and pics contributed by Jim Grundy

The Brief: After leaving Colchester station we cross a few busy roads then enter Castle Park and pick up a riverside path. After a mile or so, cross a main road then re-join path through some allotments and amble around the former dock area before crossing another busy road to join a continuous path, passing the pretty village of Wivenhoe and out to the mouth of the River Colne. We will stop for lunch just before the path comes to an abrupt end, and walk the same route back again.

We met at Colchester Station in the usual place (everyone appears to be getting used to the “front entrance” Vs “back entrance” shenanigans at Colchester). The weather was very warm and sunny, much better than I had anticipated, and 8 of us set out on time at 10.15. Two new prospective members, Frank and Qwan, were present and very welcome they are.

We met Bob and Sarah about a mile into the walk at a convenient spot near Castle Park (so now there’s 10). We then met Nick about 3.5 miles into walk, near Essex University, bringing numbers to 11.

Arrived at the Rose and Crown pub at Wivenhoe at the predicted time of 12.25 (almost to the minute!) and took a short break (drink break for Anne! But it was only a soda ha ha). This is where Rosie left us so were back to 10, but not for long as Gerry and her brother Tony joined us. So now it was 12!

We carried on to the half-way point, a very nice raised grassy area with fantastic views of the Colne River estuary where we had our lunch.

It’s worth pointing out the last stretch of the walk follows what was the Wivenhoe to Brightlingsea branch line. It is a common misconception that this was a victim of Dr. Beeching’s cuts in the 1960s but actually the bridge crossing at Arlesford Creek was washed away in the floods of 1953 and never rebuilt. Subsequently the line rapidly fell into dilapidation. You can see still see what remains of the struts (is that the right word?) of the bridge that would have carried the train onto Brightlinsea and there’s a few photos of us playing on them (see below).

A few miles back in the direction we came and we were back at the Rose and Crown in Wivenhoe for a well-earned drink. We left Gerry, Tony, Nick, Bob and Sarah at their various exits, and the last weary travellers finally made it alive to Colchester station.

It was quite a long walk at 14 miles and I must say in the hot sun a few of us, myself included, found the last two miles pretty hard going, but we all really enjoyed it