The Colchester Orbital

The Colchester Orbital is the most recent of Walk Colchester’s current projects (in collaboration with a number of other local green organizations, see below).  Approximately 14-15 miles in length, the Orbital is a circular walk/cycle route around the periphery of the town, taking advantage of and connecting some of its loveliest green spaces and off-road pathway networks. The route follows existing public rights of way over almost all of its course (no new pathways have been created to achieve it), and aims to appeal to the widest range of users.

An interactive map of the Orbital (expand to full-size for menu functions)


The project which is still evolving is supported by a number of local organizations concerned with green issues and infrastructure:

  • Walk Colchester
  • Essex Local Access Forum
  • Colchester Ramblers
  • Colchester Natural History Society
  • Myland Community Council
  • Essex Bridleways Association
  • Cycle Colchester
  • Colchester Green Party

Colchester Borough Council have been active partners in the project since 2015, and the Orbital project is incorporated within the CBC Draft Local Plan, 2017-2032.

In July 2016, a recruitment drive resulted in the beginnings of a volunteer team, drawn from across a range of interest groups, to help with route auditing and description.

The route

Clockwise from High Woods Visitor Centre (Turner Road)

  • Eastwards across High Woods country Park
  • Via St John’s and Magdalen Wood; then farmland footpaths to edge of Welshwood Park
  • Along the length of Salary Brook nature reserve
  • Via Elmstead Road towards the Hythe; along King Edward Quay
  • Along Distillery Lane, via Distillery Pond and Bourne Valley
  • Via road to Abbotts Road playing fields, across to Mersea Road and along edge of Birch Brook
  • Via playing fields to school, and right along School Road to allotment.
  • Via cycle path to Berechurch Road, Layer Road and Shrub End playing fields
  • Across Maldon Road towards Phillip Morant school
  • Via alternate routes left and right of St Benedicts/Girls’ High school grounds
  • Via alternate routes to Spring Lane i) via Lexden Park and Spring Lane Park, ii) via Hilly Fields and southern section of Cymbeline Meadows
  • Via northern section of Cymbeline Meadows to railway crossing and Bergholt Road
  • Across open land to Mile End and right along Mile End Road.
  • Via Oaks Hospital, to A133, to Colchester General, Turner Road and High Woods Country Park

Mapping our paths, trails, parks and green open spaces