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Stage 6: Dedham to Manningtree — Essex Way

7.49 mi
2.4 mph
300 ft
325 ft
Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

Tour Overview

Starting Point
4.08 mi
5.87 mi

Saint Mary The Virgin

Hiking Highlight

7.32 mi


Hiking Highlight

7.49 mi

Weather Forecast

Dan planned a hike.

June 26, 2020


  • Dan

    You are, quite literally, transported into a Constable painting on this stage, which takes you to the 'smallest town in England'.To make the overall itinerary work, this stage is a short-and-sweet 7.5 miles (12.1 km) long with 300 feet (91 m) of uphill and 325 feet (99 m) of downhill. If you fancy heading a little further, though, read on for a worthy extension.You start by heading south out of Dedham and, after a short time on Castle Hill Road, cut southeast through a patchwork of fields and small woodlands. A little while after crossing the railway line, the footpath winds round to meet Mill Lane. Here, it is well worth following the extension shown to see the view that John Constable captured in his iconic 1821 painting, ‘the Hay Wain’. Simply head left past Dedham Vale and over Dedham Old River for the view. The there-and-back extension adds 2.5 miles (4 km).If you fancy taking the extension further, continue to Flatford Bridge and follow the Stour Valley Path along the north side of the river to Cattawade. Then, take the footpath south next to the A137 and hike back along the other side of the river until you meet the St Edmund Way. This leads south to a lane, which links to the Essex Way. There is lots of wildlife and great views on the extension, which brings the hike total to 10.2 miles (16.4 km). From Mill Lane, take the footpath east through fields, cross Dedham Road, and skirt around the small woodland. A short-step later, you find St Mary’s, a pretty Grade I-listed church in peaceful surroundings.The trail then heads through pleasant countryside, crosses the A137 and winds into the centre of Manningtree, which claims to be England’s smallest town with 700 residents within 20 hectares. You find some accommodation in the town, plenty of places for food and drink, shops, and, of course, fine views over the River Stour.

    • June 30, 2020