295. Great Oakley to Clacton-on-Sea

Although the weather forecast did not look that good, especially as it was down to rain for most of the day, I thought I would give the walk a go. Generally, I’ve found that the BBC forecast can be a bit pessimistic! So today would be a day’s walk in Essex, which meant for an early start. Fortunately, the drive over from Shropshire was trouble free with no road diversions in place. There was also a bus service available in order that I could get to the start of the walk.

I parked on the seafront in Clacton-on-Sea and was careful to find the free parking section using Google Street view. I then caught the 07:57 #3 bus to Great Oakley. The bus service was run by a new bus company to me – Hedinghams and I was impressed to catch a bus at this time on a Sunday morning.

I could see that the area had had a great deal of rain overnight so I selected to walk in my boots, as opposed to my walking shoes. The first part of the walk was to circum-navigate the explosives factory at Bramble Island and keep off the roads as much as possible as they have little or no verges to walk along. I made good use of the available footpaths which were not very muddy and took me ultimately to the head of Hamford Water near Beaumont Cut. I did have a couple of short footpath diversions to contend with and was totally flummoxed by the 3 page “Council legalistic speak” on the notices attached to a finger post. I just gave up trying to interpret what they said  and just followed the pointers! I soon met a local chap out with his dogs and we had a nice chat about a number of things. I stayed on the sea bank for the next hour and a half as it snaked eastwards. I did have views out to the small islands of Skippers Island and Horsey Island, with the Felixstowe Dock cranes in the far distance. At Kirby Quay, I came inland quite a bit before crossing over a concrete dam and onto another section of sea wall that took me out to Peters Point. It was not long before the footpath turned inland again, this was at the start of the tidal road out to Horsey Island. I followed a lane inland to the outskirts of the small village of Kirby-le-Soken on the B1034.

The Maybush Inn Great Oakley
Council “Mumbo Jumbo” re: a footpath diversion
The sea bank at Beaumont Cut
Little Egret at Hamford Water
Skippers Island
Dam at Kirby Quay
The tidal road out to Horsey Island

I followed the road, on a footpath, into Walton-on-the-Naze. Here, after visiting an M&S Food hall for some snacks I joined up with the sea bank at Walton Mere, following the footpath around Sole Creek and past a holiday park. The official and marked public disappeared on the map, but it was obvious the footpath continued along the sea bank towards Walton Channel and Walton Hall Marshes. I was now walking the headland that is the Naze, which juts out into the North Sea. At its NE corner, I reached the actual coast, here my left foot started playing up, in particular the flexy part between my sole and toes. To make matters worse I was now heading into quite a strong headwind, which would be against me for the next 8 miles! And it started to rain and fatigue started to creep in! Grrrrr!

I was now heading due south and soon made a quick call to Naze Tower, a square brick building built in 1720 by the Trinity House to act as a day mark. I did not linger at the tower but continued on along the cliff top, feeling tired and trying to ignore my sore foot. I passed a multitude of coloured beach Huts, 4 deep in places that extended way beyond Walton and past Frinton-On-Sea. By the time I reached the Holland Haven golf club I was now walking along the sea wall proper. With the high tide the beach had disappeared and the sea was breaking along the base of the wall.

I could now see Clacton in the distance and I was wishing the walk would end soon. I passed through the small outlier of Clacton that is Holland Haven and then into Clacton itself. It was certainly strung out and I was desperate to catch a glimpse of the pier, because I knew my car was parked about 400m from it. When I did eventually see the pier it seemed miles off and for the next hour just didn’t appear to get any closer! The pain in my left had subsided some time ago, but the wind was still there. I eventually arrived back at the car, amongst the thinning visitor crowds as the late afternoon wore on. Not a bad days walking, but became rather mundane walking along the promenade.

At Peters Point on The Naze looking across to Felixstowe in the distance
The Naze Tower
Looking back at Walton-on-the-Naze pier
Heading along the Sea Wall at Holland Haven
The pier at Clacton-On-Sea
Martello Tower “F” with old Coastguard lookout at Clacton

Distance today = 23 miles
Total distance = 5,383 miles





7 thoughts on “295. Great Oakley to Clacton-on-Sea”

  1. I have been reading your blog for sometime and its very interesting. There is a good norwegian site for accurate uk weather forecasts. Go to http://www.yr.no and change the language to english in the top right. It will give you a very accurate forecast for most places in the uk.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Alan – I recently walked this section of the coast as well – I completed the entire UK mainland in August. I am very glad you found the Council diversion signs unintelligible as I did too. I thought it was just my own stupidity so it is encouraging to know it wasn’t just me. I don’t know why they can’t just have a big cross for ‘you are here’ with an arrow showing where you should go to. It would be so much more simple than a mass of hieroglyphics .


  3. H Chris, belated congratulations on completing the coastwalk. I have about 65 – 68 days of walking still to do. The diversion in question was actually just a small field of about 2 acres next to the sign, unsure why there was a diversion, I just walked past the next diversion sign.
    Any ideas what you plan to do next? I have a yen to walk the Hadrians Wall NT, although I doubt I will head back to the high hills.


    1. I am toying with the idea of starting to walk around the inhabited islands of Britain. The main reason for doing so is it gives me an excuse for going to the Orkneys / Shetlands and Scillies. It won’t be as intense as previously which more or less took all my time. It will be more in the nature of going away on holiday occasionally for a few days. So I would probably never complete it (I am approaching 60), as these days I am slowing down and tend to just potter along. But I am missing my walking already, and champing at the bit for the Spring, so I definitely need an incentive, as I am a bit of a couch potato otherwise. Best of wishes for your final 60 odd days. Fantastic effort. So you’ll complete it sometime next year?


  4. Hi Chris, After I retired in 2013, I spent a week in Shetland “bagging” all the Marilyns on the Islands. I really liked Shetland, especially when I flew out to Fair Isle which was really nice.

    Hope to complete next year, I’ve just got to keep on doing a minimum of days a month. I’m 66 years old so I want to keep mobile as long as I can………………………and stay this side of the grass!! LOL


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