Crays Hill circular walk
Crays Hill circular walk centres on the old village of Crays Hill, located between Billericay and Wickford.
Crays Hill circular walk offers two alternative routes.
Route one is a reasonably easy route of about two-and-a-half-miles using public footpaths and Gardiners Lane North.
Route two is the main circular walk of about four-and-a-half-miles, which cuts across farmland to the east of Gardiners Lane North. The eastern section can be more difficult to walk and is best suited to the more energetic walker.
Using Public Rights of Way
Some Circular Countryside Walks and Nature Trails incorporate Public Rights of Way in their routes. Public Rights of Way most often follow ancient footpaths and should be clearly marked. Where a Public Right of Way crosses privately owned land, walkers are expected to stick to the path and exercise due care and consideration.
See Public rights of way enforcement for further information and to report any problems encountered when using a Public Right of Way.
Planning your walk
Getting to the start point
By car go via Southend Road into Crays Hill.
Park in the Crays Hill Recreation Ground to the west of the village.
Or from Basildon take the (A 176) Upper Mayne, turn into Wash Road and then left into Hardings Elms Road. At the T-junction (White s Bridge) turn right and a little further along London Road turn right again into the recreation ground.
For directions see, Google map - Crays Hill, Essex
- From the car park take Footpath 40 at the back of the recreation ground. Turn left at the back of the allotments, then right across the stile.
- On the right is a cleared woodland with only standards (trees with one trunk) remaining.
- Across the bridge turn left into Oak Road
- Just after Oak Avenue (which is on the left) take a right-hand turn along Oak Lane.
- Turn left into Footpath 78. Here, to your left, are good views through to Nuttons Wood
- Cross the stile and head towards the farm buildings at Great Wasketts.
- At this point you may decide to take the shorter route. If you're feeling energetic then continue to Point 8. If not, continue from Point A to Point E on the map heading North along Gardiner's Lane North
- Cross the road and take the track past Woodland Nursery. Cross the stile and cross the field diagonally
- Look at the view to your left up to the higher ground at Crays Hill. On your way, to the right, you'll see many cornfield weeds - for example groundsel (the name comes from the old English Ground Swallower), scarlet pimpernel and shepherds purse.
- Cross the stile and turn left, then right along the southern edge of Noak Wood, a private, ancient woodland with ash, oak, field maple and wild service.
- Cross another stile. The field to the right is the venue for regular boot fairs.
- Turn left and head through the field along Footpath 84. Note distant views across farmland.
- Cross the stile and bridge, turn left into Borwick Lane. Here an ancient hedgerow encloses the lane with several species of shrub, including rare wild service trees.
- Look for a way marker pointing west along Footpath 82
- Now look for footbridge which crosses the ditch and go north to field boundary.
- Keeping the field boundary to your right, continue along Footpath 82 for about a quarter-of-a-mile. There are extensive views to the south and across Basildon.
- Take a short right turn, then left across the bridge.
- Keep along the field boundary and down to Gardiners Lane North. Turn right.
- The odd looking dead elm on your right was a victim of Dutch Elm disease.
- Cross the stile and head along Footpath 70. Cross another stile into cultivated garden areas. Turn right out of the gate and immediately left along the footpath.
- A sharp right turn now takes you into London Road, Crays Hill and onto footpath 67
- Cross the stile and turn left along the field boundary at rear of properties in Crays Hill.
- There are good views here from Crays Hill over farmland to the north. Open fields with hedges are a likely place to spot pheasants.
- Cross the bridge and stile and turn across the field heading towards the back of houses.
- Cross the stile and walk between the houses back on the London Road. To the left along the main road are shops and a pub if you feel in need of refreshment.
- Continue down London Road and return to Crays Hill Recreation Ground car park.