For general notes about these walks click here

Available also as book and app – click here for details.

Heybridge and Chelmer

Up the Chelmer then back via field paths

Hide summary

Walk summary


Wetland birds along the Chelmer Navigation and the Chelmer Estuary, with a scattering of wild flowers and dragonflies in summer.

Some footpaths cross arable fields that may be ploughed; muddy paths in wet weather.

Park at Tesco supermarket in Maldon, or bus from Maldon to Fullbridge

3½–4 hours

Mostly flat, on well-defined unsurfaced footpaths, plus several sections on quiet roads on the way back; a number of stiles.

Click on a marker on the map for route details

Stage AB: Maldon to Beeleigh Weir and Lock

30 mins

Exit from the far corner of the Tesco car park on to the towpath of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation and turn left to follow it under the road bridge and upstream. After walking along the edge of the golf course, soon you come to Beeleigh Lock, first meeting the Langford Cut coming in from the right, then crossing Beeleigh Weir, which allows fresh water from the Navigation and from the Blackwater River down into the tidal estuary of the River Chelmer.

Stage BC: Beeleigh Lock to Hoe Mill Lock

70 mins

Cross the bridge before Beeleigh Lock and continue along the righthand (northern) bank of the Navigation, with meadows on your right and beyond them the reservoirs and buildings of a pumping station. Midway you pass Ricketts Lock then, passing the large lakes of a former gravel pit part hidden behind the hedgerow, you emerge into the open basin below Hoe Mill Lock.

Stage BE: Beeleigh Lock to Abbey Turning

15 mins

For a shortcut back to Maldon, turn off left between the weirs and Beeleigh Lock to follow the footpath towards Beeleigh Abbey, which runs down alongside the estuary, bringing you out on to Abbey Turning.

Stage CD: Hoe Mill Lock to The Cats

30 mins

Turn left at the road above Hoe Mill Lock to cross Hoemill Bridge and walk down for 80m until you see the entrance track to Hoe Mill House on your right, with a footpath leaving just to the left of the gates. The path wends its way around a small plantation then along the verge of an arable field. Crossing a stile, you turn right for 20m in an avenue of apple trees, then left between fences with an orchard on one side and a meadow the other, then over a stile and between gardens out on to West Bowers Road. Turn left down to the main road, then cross to follow the narrow lane opposite, Blue Mill Lane, signposted to Curling Tye Green and Beeleigh. After crossing a stream you come to a group of houses including The Cats PH.

Stage DE: The Cats to Abbey Turning

50 mins

About 50m down the road from The Cats a footpath leaves on the left, next to a house called Jasmin. Beyond the gardens it turns right along the edge of an arable field. This is not a great footpath but at least it cuts off a corner and saves a bit of road-walking. When you come out on to the road go straight on in front of the house and 600m later you come to a T-junction. Turn right past Guys Farm, beyond which a footpath turns off left, at first across an arable field then along a grassy track with woods and gardens on the left. After crossing an access track you join a farm track coming in from the left, go past a spinney, then cross two arable fields on a grassy track. Turn left when you meet a track running between hedges and 50m later turn right to cross a ditch then another arable field, then a grass strip beside a second, with a ditch and a few trees on your left. You come out on to the road – Abbey Turning – and turn right.

Stage EA: Abbey Turning to Tesco Maldon

45 mins

100m down, turn left down the access road to Beeleigh Abbey, with pastures on your right and Beeleigh Abbey – now a private house – and its gardens on the left. Past the abbey gates the tarmac stops and the footpath continues between widely spaced hedges with woods on the lower ground to the left and patches of scrub. After a stile the path narrows between hedges and shortly a view across the Chelmer estuary opens up. Before you reach the road ahead turn off left and follow the footpath down through woodland and under the road. Turn off left over a stile to follow the path alongside the estuary. The footpath crosses pasture then runs above a pond before joining a track through the houses: bear left to follow it alongside the estuary until it emerges on to Fullbridge just above the bridge. Turn left to cross the bridge then left through the car park of The Welcome PH and across with the Royal Mail depot on your right to join the towpath footpath. From here you can either clamber down the slope into Tesco's car park or follow the boardwalk across to the canal towpath and re-enter the car park from there.