Enjoy a walk along the lovely Blackwater Estuary from Maldon to Tollesbury. Flat footpaths run right along the river estuary with fine views and lots of wildlife to look out for on the way. The National Nature Reserve is home to little tern, ringed plover, Pied avocet, dunlin and Hen Harrier so be sure to bring your binoculars. The route runs for just over 13 miles with the option of catching the bus back to Maldon.
The walk starts in the Essex town of Maldon, at the parking area next to the start of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Canal. From here you can pick up a footpath heading east past the Heybridge Basin, Collier's Reach and Barrow Marsh. On this section you can enjoy fine views over to Northey Island. The island is home to a diverse range of birdlife and can be visited by arrangement with the warden.
You continue along Goldhanger Creek and Thirslet Creek before rounding the Tollesbury Wick Marshes. This nature reserve consists of coastal freshwater marsh which is grazed by sheep, and is worked by traditional methods which encourage wildlife. Areas of ungrazed rough pasture have badgers, and field voles and pygmy shrews are hunted by hen harriers and short-eared owls. After passing through the reserve the route finishes in the village of Tollesbury. The village is located at the mouth of the River Blackwater and has a nice pub where you can enjoy refreshments at the end of your exercise. You can then catch the bus back to Maldon.
To continue your walking along the estuary, head east to West Mersea and explore Mersea Island. Our route takes you along the coastline visiting beaches, Cudmore Grove Country Park and the settlements of West Mersea and East Mersea.
From Maldon you could start another walk from the Marine Lake in Promenade Park on the eastern side of the estuary. Footpaths here head south east along Southey Creek to Maylandsea with more fine views over the estuary.