Autumn. My absolute favourite season. I always feel like it is the season that nature really shows off in. The trees become awash with fiery reds and burnished oranges. The woodlands pathways crunch underfoot with their blanket of fallen leaves. Autumn days often have that perfect mix of bright blue skies and crisp, cold air. I love nothing more than wrapping up warm and getting outside. Some of my favourite walks in Essex come into their own in Autumn. I thought I would share 3 that I think are pretty special.
Best walks in Essex
Although Essex is a pretty flat county, we do have many lovely walks. I have shared with you my favourite waterside walks in Essex previously. It felt only right I share my favourite Autumnal strolls! I have a huge love of walking amongst the trees. So these walks may well require your boots!
Address – One Tree Hill, Corringham, Stanford-le-Hope, SS17 9NH
Opening Hours – 8am – dusk
Parking – Free
- Picnic Areas
- Public toilets
- Dog friendly
- Beautiful views towards the The Thames Estuary
I love these woods. When my boys were small it was our go to. The park used to organise really cute things like Santa in the Woods at Christmas. The entire Langdon Hills Country Park is HUGE. It is 400 acres! It is broken up into various walks and areas though, so you don’t need to take your sleeping bag and tent! You can do as short or long a walk as you fancy. All are dog friendly walks too.
The two main areas of Langdon Hills Country Park is One Tree Hill and Westley Heights. The Autumn walk I am talking about here is the One Tree Hill part of the area. It has two sides to it, separated by the lane that you drive to get to it. The car parks are at the brow of the hill. Both sides are fields and woodland.
A little thing to note…. The woods are said to be the most haunted in Essex. There have been may reports of children laughing in one particular area, especially around dusk. We are in the woods often, but we have not seen any ghostly apparitions……. yet!
There is however, the ruins of an old, 1900’s well hidden deep in the woods! It is said to have provided water for the mental asylum/sanitarium that was on the brow of the hill. Rumour has it that the well got closed down as people were drinking it and becoming “not themselves”….. The small ruins are quite hard to find as they are pretty deep in the forest. But, I think “well” worth the effort….(see what I did there…)
Address – Weald Country Park, Weald Road, Brentwood, Essex, CM14 5QS
- Opening hours – 8am – Dusk
- Parking – Pay and Display – prices start at £2.20
- Dog friendly
- There is a cafe there. Opening times and service may be restricted during the Covid19 pandemic.
Top tip – If you are a frequent visitor to Essex Parks, The Explore Pass could be a great option. It is an annual pass that covers your parking fees at 7 of the most popular Essex parks. It also gives discount on food and drink at the parks cafe’s. See here for full details.
South Weald park is a perfect place for an Autumn walk in Essex. It has something for everyone. This park is where we visited with our sons every single Christmas Eve, for about 12 years! The reason? It has a herd of fallow deer that our boys fully believed were part of Father Christmas’s herd. We had them convinced that the deers needed us to go and give them reindeer food, so they could fly that Christmas Eve night. It was so special. We would then come home, watch a Christmas film, and hope that the boys would be worn out enough to sleep! Ahhhh, bless them. Such happy memories of this park.
Weald Country Park covers 520 acres. It was historically a deer park, from as early as the 12th century! That is why it still has a herd of deers. You can purchase food from the shop to feed to them. They are so beautiful.
Weald Estate did have a grand house on it at one time. Weald Hall was demolished after being ravaged by the second world war. Sadly, very few signs of the house remain. A few ruins of garden buildings is really all that shows a building was once there.
You can walk through the woods to the wall of St Peters Church though. The red brick of the wall, and ornate gates give a nod to perhaps how the house once looked. I love this part of the park as it is like looking at secret doorways. Again, our kids thought the high up gates led to secret gardens and kingdoms. This part of the woods really comes into it’s own in Autumn as it adds to the magical feel of it.
A walk around the lake will let you encounter more wildlife. Ducks and other water birds have made their home there. Again, duck food can be purchased from the shop if you want to feed the ducks. In addition to the ducks, you may see a more surprising flock of birds. The park has a visiting group of peacocks that visit most days. These colourful beauties rock up in all their finery, as if waiting, (and expecting), to be admired and told how beautiful they are.
Adding to the gorgeous wildlife are kids play areas, the famous Stick Man trail and beautiful picnic areas. You can walk for miles around Weald Country Park and I fully recommend that you do. It is beautiful, and definitely a great choice for an Autumn walk in Essex.
Hylands Estate – Chelmsford
Address – Hylands House, Hylands Estate, Chelmsford CM2 8WQ
Opening Hours – 7.30 – varies from 5 – 7pm depending on month
Parking – Free
- Cafe – (restrictions are in place during (Covid19)
- Secondhand Bookshop
- Dog friendly
Hylands House is gorgeous. Most people who live in Essex will know it, and may well have been there at least once. The grounds are stunning. The house always has a great events timetable too. The Christmas shows that they put on will not fail at getting you in the Christmas spirit. But, the gardens are amongst my favourite in Essex, are so gorgeous for an Autumn walk.
There are 5 mapped walks to enjoy at Highlands. These vary in length from a 30 minute stroll, to around a 4 mile hike. All are a real pleasure and take you through the beautiful landscape of Highlands House gardens.
The house itself is a grade II isted property. Built in the 1700’s, it has a mix of Victorian and Georgian style. The house itself is open one Sunday per month to look around. It is free to enter. There is also the old stables, that are now converted into little shops. I fully recommend a look around the secondhand bookshop. It is a treasure trove!
The grounds themselves are such a pleasure. They have worked hard at creating an area thriving in both wildlife, and natural beauty. You may even spot the herd of Red Poll cows grazing. This breed of cow is native to Easy Anglia, but are sadly on the at risk register. Hylands have introduced a herd of these gentle, docile cows to graze in the hay meadow. They are beauties!
Out of the five mapped walks, the Jubilee Walk is the one we tend to do the most. It is about an hour and a half, and takes you around the Serpentine Lake. Its a gorgeous walk.
I hope I have given you a little inspiration for wonderful Autumn walks in Essex. We have so many gorgeous, open spaces in the County. We are very lucky. With lockdown number 2 in force, I am sure I will find many more walks in the area! Let me know if you have any favourites.
You can read here my favourite walks in Essex that are for water lovers.
I also have some amazing historical places in Essex suggestions for you.