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Crocus and nameSaffron Trail


113 km / 70 miles
The route traverses the County of Essex from south-east to north-west crossing the Essex Way at Great Waltham, a route which goes from south-west to north-east. Starting on the coast at Southend, famous for its pier (over a mile long and claimed to be the longest in the world). It continues along the coast through Leigh with its famous cockle sheds to Hadleigh Country Park with excellent views across the Thames Estuary. Here the route turns inland, initially urban but later open countryside leads to Hockley Woods. Continuing northwards the River Crouch is reached at Hullbridge and it is followed to Battlesbridge, associated with the battle of Ashingdon in 1016. Further northward progress brings the town of Danbury with its many wooded areas, from which a turn west leads to the River Chelmer. The Chelmer is followed to the confluence with the River Cam, which in turn is followed through Chelmsford, the County Town of Essex. Beyond the County Town, the trail swings first north and later north-west across some lovely countryside and through many pretty villages to reach Great Dunmow, known for its four yearly Flitch trials. More villages and undulating countryside follow until the trail reaches the finish in Saffron Walden.

David Hitchman developed this route in 2000 to traverse the County of Essex from south-east to north-west to complement the Essex Way. The Trail was adopted by Redbridge Ramblers and a revised 2016 guidebook, including some route changes, and suggestions to avoid some road sections, has been issued, and the route is now shown on OS maps and is marked both ways.

UPDATE July 2022:
The Saffron Trail has been closed by Network Rail where it crosses the railway line between Hockley and Rayleigh at Blounts Wood (Grid Reference TQ 8176 9269). Essex Highways cite the Closure as "on grounds of safety issue as identified by Network Rail." The Active Prohibition Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) is scheduled to continue until 25th November 2022.
UPDATE August 2022:
Network Rail say that the closure will last until April 2023, after traffic lights have been installed. A local alternative might be via Bett's Wood and the footbridge over the railway at TQ 8288 9308. NB: the footbridge near Blounts Farm shown on the Ordnance Survey map at TQ 8219 9292 is a pedestrian crossing similar to the one at Blounts Wood.
UPDATE February 2022:
The latest TRO closure order is now scheduled to last until April 2024.
Network Rail have announced that the closed stretch of footpath over the railway line at Blounts Wood has been re-opened. Traffic lights were first promised in 2022.


Waymark: Crocus and name
Path Type: Other Paths
Waymark: Crocus and name
Attributes: Easy
Start: TQ884852 - Southend on Sea, Essex View on StreetMap
Finish: TL537386 - Saffron Walden, Essex View on StreetMap
Web Sites: Essex Walks - Saffron Trail

Publications, Badges and Certificates:

Guidebook Saffron Trail  (Redbridge Ramblers  - 2016 )


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Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2016.
© OpenStreetMap contributors under Open Database Licence.
Rights of way data from selected Local Authorities.
Large scale digital mapping is provided by John Thorn.
At high zoom levels the route is indicative only.
Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:
OS Landranger 154, 167, 168, 178
OS Landranger Active 154, 167, 168, 178
OS Explorer 175, 176, 183, 195
OS Explorer Active 175, 176, 183, 195

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GPX Route File
Saffron Trail GPX Exchange Format Route File
Last Updated 26/01/2021 23:24:29
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MemoryMap Route File
Saffron Trail Memory Map Route File
Last Updated 26/01/2021 23:24:29
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Tracklogs Route File
Saffron Trail Tracklogs Route file
Last Updated 26/01/2021 23:24:30
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Route Profile:

112.8 km (70.1 miles)
1,171 m (3,842 ft) ascent
121 m (397 ft)  maximum height

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