South Woodham Ferrers walks

The Nature Reserve/Fenn accessed from Ferrers Road to the west of town

South woodham ferrers fenn fairy treeFenn/nature reserve (managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust) in Ferrers Road is used by walkers, especially dog owners. There is a choice of paths, circular and towards the River Crouch. A couple of ponds and a stream add interest on the way. Benches have been set out at intervals for those with weary legs or just wanting to enjoy the open space. Large dragonflies with bodies with a metallic sheen can be seen flitting about the ponds. There are a also some brambles and crab apple trees.

A place to play

Teenagers have been known to create dens and hang out inside the hollows in the bushes. Sadly, they leave their empty drinks cans behind to litter the ground.  Children sometimes play there, the tall grass in some parts lends itself to hide and seek. One of the trees growing on the fenn is hollow and has been nicknamed ‘the fairy tree’. Children enjoy getting inside the tree and climbing up through it.

Train alert

Parents with young children should be aware that the train line crosses the nature reserve. There is a public right of way across the train line but it is very much a case of looking and listening before you cross.

It is possible to walk through the nature reserve, down past the sewage farm (it doesn't usually smell too much!) and eventually along the river bank. There are numerous wild flowers on either side of Fenn Creek in the spring. Follow the course of the creek until it merges with the River Crouch.

The South Woodham Ring circles the town in seven miles, encompassing Woodham Fen and the Country Park.

fenn south woodham ferrers

A circular route through Frankland Fields Nature Reserve

Frankland Fields Nature Reserve

On the riverside end of the allotments in Marsh Farm Road, stands a gate and sign that informs people about the Frankland Fields Nature Reserve. Go through the gate and walk down the path past the allotments. The path enters a field; one of several. The route is well-trodden and ideal for dog walkers. There is plenty of space on the fields to exercise dogs.  The birds sing in the bushes and trees and wild flowers add splashes of colour to the greenery. It is a very pleasant place to walk on a sunny day.

Follow the path and you will notice a row of up-market houses that are fortunate to back onto the nature reserve.  Eventually, the path emerges at the River Crouch, downstream from the yacht club.  If you continue up towards the car park, cross the car park and take the grassy path that follows the road, it will bring you out at Marsh Farm. A little further on is your starting point by the allotments.

Walk from Creekview Road to Marsh Farm

At the end of Creekview Road is a roundabout and turning into Broughton Road. On the left of the roundabout when coming from Creekview Road, there is a gate that leads to the Community Orchard. Pass through this gate and notice a narrow grassed path off to the right. This path is not way-marked. It eventually leads to Marsh Farm.

narrow path from Creekview road to Marsh Farm

circular walk past scout hutsShort circular walk from the end of Creekview Road

There is a pleasant circular short walk from the end of Creekview Road.  Take the lane that leads off in the opposite direction of Broughton Road near the roundabout. You will notice the community orchard on your right, over the raised bank, as you walk down this lane. There are trees and bushes either side.

Take the first narrow lane left. This goes down behind the Guide Huts and on past the Scouts Hut and Army and Air Force Cadets Halls and on to rejoin Saltcoats Park.  It is a shaded tree lined lane with access points to Saltcoats. At the end of the lane, before you emerge, stop to admire the wild rose that has grown up into a tree. There are lots of blackberry bushes congragate dhere.

Turn right and onto the flood wall. Walk a short way along this and you will eventually see the Guide Huts again from your elevated position.

Turn right, past the Community Orchard. You may wish to rest a while on the bench in the orchard and find out what stage the apples, plums and pears are at before resuming your walk. It’s just a few yards back to your starting point and the wild flowers are stunning on the way.


A  Circular Walk Up Radar Hill

Radar Hill overlooks South Woodham Ferrers on the north side of town. To access this walk, park near the junction of King Edwards Road and Hamberts Road. A broad strip of green with a barrier at the far end is a bridleway and leads to Burnham Road. Cross Burnham Road carefully and proceed up the bridleway and through the metal farm gate.

Walk up Radar Hill

A path leads uphill which eventually opens out onto a grassy field. Keep walking upwards. You will see good views of South Woodham behind you.  Watch out for the huge bumblebees that quietly go about their business and the holes in the ground, surrounded by excavated soil, made by nesting bees.

Good views of South Woodham Ferrers from Radar Hill

Further up, the former radar testing station will be on your left. Keep going until you reach a concrete road. The road to your right leads to the control rooms for the radar station and this is still private ground.

Radar stand

Take the road left instead and follow the right-hand edge of the field until a narrow path leads into the woods. Bluebells flower here at the end of April and because people were forbidden from accessing the area occupied by the former radar station, there is a fair amount of wildlife, including deer, hares and rabbits.  A narrow path edged by brambles leads through the woodland to emerge onto farmland at the other side. There is a ditch between the woodland and farmland which may contain water depending on the time of year.

Bluebell Wood

Turn left to walk along the side of the field. Again, the views are lovely. You will eventually meet a fence and a path to the left. Take this path and it will emerge in a field that leads back to the main path up Radar Hill.

Top of Radar Hill past Bluebell Wood

Group Walks in South Woodham Ferrers

The local U3As regularly walk in the town. These groups are for retired or semi-retired people. They also organise longer distance walks in other Essex locations.


Good places to walk near South Woodham Ferrers

For those willing to travel a little further afield, there is a very pleasant walk at Hanningfield Reservoir (about 5 miles away). The bluebells and other wild flowers are a delight in early to mid May. Bird lovers will enjoy seeing the ducks, swans and geese guarding their young. There are also a couple of observation hides overlooking the lake. The forest floor is littered with wood chips and gigantic termites - remember to wear closed-in shoes. Refreshments including snacks and lunches can be purchased at the lodge overlooking the water. Boats can be hired for fishing on the lake plus there is a fishing tackle shop.

Hanningfield Reservoir

Deer, squirrels, rabbits and other wildlife can be spotted on Danbury Common. It's a popular place to walk and the small car park is sometimes full to overflowing. The Cricketers Pub is a good place to stop for a liquid reward afterwards.


The Heybridge Basin, near Maldon, offers a glorious walk along the sea wall with views of lots of yachts and boats bobbing about the water. Take the tour.


The Chelmsford Youth Hostelling Association (open to all ages but the current membership is mainly male, aged 25-55 - joke is that YHA stands for Your Husband Assured) also have local walks as a regular feature of their programme.

The Ramblers Association organise regular walks through the Essex countryside. The nearest groups to South Woodham Ferrers are the Chelmer and Blackwater Ramblers Group and the Friends Group.