Wild winter walks in Essex

Essex Wildlife Trust share some of their top nature reserves to enjoy a stroll this winter

Winter is one of the most magical times of the year to go for a wild walk and appreciate the natural wonders of Essex. The crisp mornings, the crunchy frost underfoot, the whistling wind and the symphony of wintering wildfowl makes for a truly special experience. Wrap up warm, put on your wellies and chase away the winter blues by exploring some of Essex Wildlife Trust’s top walking destinations this winter.

Blue House Farm, CM3 6GU

See what wildlife you can spot in the three bird hides found along the permissive path; look out for Golden Plover, Dunlin and Teal whilst listening out for the noisy flocks of up to 2,000 wintering Dark-bellied Brent Geese; the main attraction of this site during winter. 


Photo: John Lilley

Thurrock Thameside Nature Park, SS17 0RN

Overlooking the mighty Thames Estuary, this is where you can observe internationally important numbers of Ringed Plover and Avocets at high tide. Keep your eyes peeled for hunting Short-eared Owls too. Explore three colour-coded trails that take you around this wonderful site then finish at our centre for a warm cup of tea or some hot food.

Short Eared Owl - TTNP

Photo: Stephen Hiscock on Flickr

Fingringhoe Wick, CO5 7DN

Numerous reserve trails lead you through the different habitats that this site has to offer; discover woodland, scrub, heathland, ponds and the Colne Estuary. Visit the Margaret Hide for wonderful views over the intertidal area. Wheelchair and All Terrain Mobility Scooter available on request.

Grey Plover

Photo: Peter Bowden

Gurnon Bushes, CM16 7RW

This magical pocket of ancient woodland has Hornbeam pollards and a network of ponds. Follow the paths to the north of the reserve where the old gravel sites have been transformed into a series of plant-rich bogs, before circling round to the south of the reserve

Gurnon Bushes

Photo: Jon Whitehouse

Abberton Reservoir, CO2 0EU

Winter sees exciting visitors including Smew and Goldeneye at this wetland site of international importance for wildfowl. Take the circular path to the two bird hides and back to the centre. The Brambly Hedge Trail is also located here, a great activity to enjoy with your children.

Find a reserve near you.

Wildfest Abberton