Two circuits through Tollesbury Wick reserve
Autumn or winter
Wintering birds on the estuary, grazing marsh and flooded fields.
Paths can be muddy in winter; very exposed along the seawall – check the forecast and take warm clothing.
Drive to Woodrolfe Road car park in Tollesbury (point A) or bus to The Square (F)
Full circuit (ABCDEFA) 4–4½ hours; shorter circuit (ABCDBA) 3 hours.
Flat, apart from short steep climbs on and off the seawalls, on well-defined, mostly unsurfaced paths, apart from short sections on road through Tollesbury.
Click on a marker on the map for route details
Stage AB: Car park to seawall
Follow Woodrolfe Road on from the car park towards the marina. Short of the marina, follow steps on the right leading up to the seawall path, which leads past the marina on the left and the Cruising Club on the right, then on to the entrance to Tollesbury Wick nature reserve.
Stage BC: Seawall path to Shinglehead Point
Follow the seawall path all the way round to the concrete blockhouse at Shinglehead Point, perhaps pausing here for a drink or a bite, or just to look at the view.
Stage CD: Shinglehead Point to Mill Creek
Continue along the seawall path to a stile – marking your exit from Tollesbury Wick nature reserve – almost at the end of a straight stretch heading inland. 100m beyond the stile a footpath leads down from the seawall on the right. Here you have the choice of a shortcut back to the marina and Woodrolfe Road car park (via B) or continuing around the seawall and back through Tollesbury (via E and F).
Stage DB: Mill Creek to marina
Follow the footpath straight on for 200m then left on a farm track, straight on past Wick Farm, then via a stile and gate on to Mell Road. Follow Mell Road into Tollesbury, then turn right into Woodrolfe Farm Lane. The road becomes a track then narrows to a footpath, leading between hedges then climbing up on to the seawall south of the marina. Turn left to follow the seawall path back to Woodrolfe Road, then left again up Woodrolfe Road to the car park.
Stage DE: Mill Creek to Decoy Farm
Continue along the seawall path with the saltmarsh and mudflats of Mill Creek on your left and grazing marsh on your right. After a while the grazing marsh gives way to arable fields. At a sharp bend in the seawall take a footpath down on the right, following a concrete farm road which soon becomes a hedged track, leading past Decoy Farm and its small wood.
Stage EF: Decoy Farm to The Square
Follow the track past Decoy Farm, then past a narrow strip of woodland, and then between the barns of Bohums Hall Farm, after which it soon enters Tollesbury. Walk past the Parish Room on your left and the church on your right and you come into The Square, where the bus terminates.
Stage FA: The Square to Woodrolfe Road/marina
From The Square cross the High Steet slightly right to enter Station Road and follow it to its end (where the station once stood, closed in 1950s). It continues as a hedged track, soon joining the seawall. Turn right to follow the seawall path, with on your left one of the early coastal realignment experiments – a limited success, mainly mud with a few drowned hedges. Beyond it is the old seawall, ending at the breach that let the sea back in. About 200m beyond the junction with the old seawall a footpath leads off on the right past the sewage works, then follows its access track back to the Woodrolfe Road car park. (Alternatively, stay on the seawall path back to Woodrolfe Road at the marina, then turn right to follow the road back.)