Gosbecks & Roman River
Circuit starting from Gosbecks archaeological site
Wild flowers and insects at Gosbecks and beside the Roman River.
Vegetation beside the Roman River can be dense in summer; muddy paths in wet weather.
Park at Gosbecks archaeological site, by a roundabout on the B1022 on the south-west outskirts of Colchester.
Flat terrain on unsurfaced footpaths except for Leas Lane/Olivers Lane (surfaced but closed to vehicles) and New Cut in Layer.
Click on a marker on the map for route details
Stage AB: Gosbecks to Olivers
From the Gosbecks car park, take the leftmost path that runs parallel with the main road, then swings right beside Olivers Lane. At the end of Gosbecks archaeological park go out on to Olivers Lane and follow it down past a farm to a collection of buildings, including Olivers itself, where the lane ends.
Stage BC: Olivers to Layer
Bear left just past the entrance to Olivers on to a footpath that heads down past gardens and meadows until you come to a footbridge on the right over the Roman River. Cross and turn left immediately beyond the bridge to follow a footpath parallel to the river. Ignore paths joining from the right until you come to a boardwalk crossing the marshland on your left. (This leads to another footbridge and a short path up to the road and the Donkey & Buskins, to which you might choose to make a detour.) Turn right here and follow the footpath gently up through coppice woodland beside a brook, then with oak-covered slopes both sides until you join a well-used footpath. Bear left to follow it, still gently up, until you emerge from the woodland on to a track that leads out on to New Cut, Layer.
Stage CD: Layer and Chest Wood
An informal footpath turns off right before you reach New Cut, following the fringe of the wood beside the gardens of the houses on New Cut and emerging on to the same track reached via New Cut itself. If you prefer to take the safer and 'official' route, walk on to New Cut and turn right to follow it until it turns sharp left, where you take the track off right. This track continues up to a house and garden, round which the footpath detours, continuing beyond it along the lefthand fringe of a wood. Soon you meet Chest Wood, a private wood, beyond fencing on your left. The path follows the fence, eventually bearing left and descending towards the Roman River.
Stage DE: Roman River to Olivers Lane
Turn left before the footbridge to follow a footpath beside the river. The path joins Leas Lane, a bridleway, and here turn right to cross the river and follow it to the end of Olivers Lane. 200m up Olivers Lane, take a bridleway that turns off left.
Stage EA: Back to Gosbecks
Follow the bridleway around the edge of a stables until you come out on the fringe of Gosbecks archaeological site. Continue straight on with a hedge on your left, later curving left on a grass path to head back towards the car park.