13 Feb

Hilly Fields is a local ‘jewel in the crown’ nature reserve, nestled just outside the town centre. It offers walks-within-walks depending on how much time you have or how far you want to go. On average the longest is around 2 miles but you can twist and turn, go in and out, to make it longer/shorter.

It’s easily accessible by foot if you’re already in Colchester or parking is available in Sussex Road, off Lexden Road (5 mins from A12). Here’s the start of the main walk. Turn left to begin.

A circular route, it includes a combination of woodland areas and fields – so great for both on and off the lead exercise for dogs. Wildlife is abundant – you’ll see rabbits, birds, squirrels and, if you’re lucky, a deer or two.

In the top field, that overlooks Colchester, you’ll find a section of round, open grassland with a pathway. Dotted around this there’s historical information signs for your interest.

Make your way down to the lower field and, with Colchester Institute on your left-hand side, aim towards the Balkerne Lane exit (indicated with an arrow). Head up the path to Popes Lane then turn right onto Rawstorn Road. Follow this road right to the bottom, turn right onto Crouch Street then just a 30 second walk and you’ve arrived at The Hospital Arms.

This dog-welcoming pub is a huge favourite of ours (well it is our local!) with extremely friendly staff and management (Ros the lovely landlady is a massive dog-lover and owner herself). A wine plus an ale costs around £7. Food here is delicious and it’s a great place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon!

To return to the car, walk down Lexden Road and turn right back into Sussex Road.

What you can do next:

1) Why not head into town? Just take the Balkerne Lane exit, go up the path, turn left down Popes Lane and go over the bridge. Here you will see remains of the earliest Roman gateway in Britain (Colchester Castle is situated at the bottom of the High Street/top of East Hill).

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