Alternate commuting options between Colchester area and Brightlingsea.

If you live in the Colchester area, the chances are you've gone & visited the coastal town Brightlingsea. And those in Brightlingsea no doubt have more than likely travelled out of the town to Colchester or the surrounding area.

Now, what's the roads like travelling? Not great are they? Coming in & out of Brightlingsea is just one road & can often snarl up due to congestion, weather conditions & maybe a road accident.

Now if only there was another option? How about using the bus services? No?

Not surprised, its unreliable at times & if the drivers get caught up on traffic due some issues on the road, a bus service will too...

Ever tried to cycle or walk it or even considered these options? No??

Can't say I blame you, not the nicest of roads to go onto on with 2 wheels or feet. Actually some of the roads don't appear to be suitable to walking on at all. One major issue I've seen when using the roads seem to be Tenpenny Hill. Definitely not nicest to cycle up & I couldn't see paths along it too & sure doesn't look safe to walk it anyway.


Now if only there was an option to sort this, well there are. Government could get another road built into the town but that would be very costly & very unlikely as well as just add more cars on the road & clog up like the rest eventually.

I was thinking something a lil more affordable, easier to do & part of the route already exists & just needs linking to Brightlingsea which would help encourage those going in or out of Brightlingsea to walk or cycle, it's also something I have looked into & thought it through & do feel it is needed. If it was to happen this would help ease traffic flow in & out of the town & benefit all. It's also something I have discussed with others travelling to & from Brightlingsea or who have travelled between Colchester & Brightlingsea & they love the idea I am about to explain.

So you're no doubt asking How? Well if you're familiar with the area you will know there's an old rail line that's now used to walk on along the river bank & acts as a sea defence too, go far enough & you'll come across the footings to an old rail bridge & on other side of the river the route continues to Wivenhoe. 


So what I was thinking was if a path suitable for walking & cycling was created along this old rail line & over a new bridge in place of where the old bridge over the river was & then follow the coast line to Wivenhoe to then join up with the shared path route known as the Wivenhoe Trail, you will then have a direct route to Colchester for those walking & cycling as well as a walking/cycling direct link from Brightlingsea to Alresford & Wivenhoe.

Now I know some of you will be screaming out, 'but this idea has been suggested before & failed to get the funding' & yes you are right. But why is that? Wrong time to suggest it or just the fact it was being suggested as a leisure route. Doing so, it's no wonder it was set to not get far...

Others are probably thinking 'The bridge would be an eyesore'. Would it? Have you seen designs used in places like the Netherlands? They are beautiful to see & can actually enhance the area & some are being built in the UK too.

To be honest We need to think bigger! We need to have more sustainable routes for travelling, roads are congested due to over capacity. People would like to walk or cycle but there's no safe route to do so on the roads joining Brightlingsea, we need to get routes suitable for walking & cycling not for just leisure but to actually commute.

So with a bridge built in place of the old rail bridge, upgrade the paths suitable for walking & cycling all the way from Brightlingsea to Colchester. Then we will have a viable alternative for those wanting to travel by foot or bicycle, then when those who want to do so the number of those driving will fall & it will help ease the congestion.

And now I have got that in your head, we need to get Councils to listen. Councillors & the public to discuss this as a viable option. Its affordable if you consider what it will benefit for all & I for one would use it as I just love going to the cafe at Batesman tower.


Now if this was possible, here's a seed of thought to implant in your mind following the blog. How about if we could expand it, just think what if we could link Points Clear to Brightlingsea? Then we could possibly have a walking cycling route along whole coastline to Clacton-on-Sea & beyond from what I have read in the local news of new shared paths in that area.

Just think how that would be so much easier to get from Colchester/Brightlingsea or any route in between to Clacton or beyond. Especially in Summer, I've seen those miles of traffic trying to get into Clacton-on-Sea & next to no parking. Cycling it would be so much better with a direct safe route.


  1. Brilliant.. Totally agree.. This would give cyclists and walkers from bsea to Colchester upto nine miles off road connections between the two towns.. There is also Alresford and Wivenhoe in between.. It would be a phenomenal extra route available.. I believe it would get much used by both cyclists and walkers.. Joining up with the rest of the coastline between bsea and seawick going on towards Clacton and Walton would in the end, benefit everyone and be business for cycle hiring along the route for tourists.. It is an amazing route.. Just fragmented at present due to not getting the link up to Brightlingsea over a bridge.. Well done Wolfe..

    1. Yup, it would benefit commuters, college students etc between Colchester & Brightlingsea as well as bringing tourists into Brightlingsea without straining the only road into & out of the town. I have already thought of the possibilities of a bridge system between Brightlingsea & Point Clear to join the route to Claton-on-Sea & onward to the North. But we need to focus on getting 1 stage done at a time & this would be the best one to start with. Now just need more to spread the word & get the Councils to listen.

  2. Hi yes totally agreed. I once cycled thru' the brambles to the site of the old bridge and thought the same. Developing this route would make a big difference to travel choices in the area. However, its all about the detail. Your right to mention the bridge design which no doubt would attract attention and be the major focal point for the scheme, but I would say its all about the width and whether cyclists and pedestrians are segregated. The recently constructed Shipley Greenway (SGW) in West Yorkshire is 4m wide. This is a Sustrans route and even they are realising that traditional 2m isn't enough. They realised this when they had to widen part of the Bristol to Bath route http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-32377994 All about gaining popular support and balancing the various concerns. As a cycle campaigner, I would like to see segregation of cyclists and pedestrians like the Dutch do on their long distance (LF Landelijke Fietsroutes) routes. The thing about these routes is that the cyclists who use them for commuting tend to be better equipped with faster bikes etc. I saw this on the SGW and this can be a problem with the mix between these cyclists and dog walkers, those out with children etc. Plus there are those who see the development of such routes as nature corridors and the tarmac path should be kept to an absolute minimum. - please see the saga about widening the Whitby to Scarborough shared use path http://road.cc/content/news/226467-mixed-reaction-plans-transform-scarboroughs-cinder-track-cyclists-motorway Going back to the Bristol / Bath path then conflict between users is a problem then the route becomes 'a victim of its own success'. This can even include cyclists and other cyclists http://road.cc/content/news/231303-calls-safety-measures-bristol-and-bath-railway-path-after-cyclists%E2%80%99-injuries That's why we need a clear vision of what these routes are and who the are for?

    1. Yes the devil is in the details & for the route to work it will need to be a suitable width & a surface suitable for all users including the disabled which I see the existing surface is anything but that. I doubt the route would ever be segregated due to the limitation of the area use between train tracks & riverbanks if done as much as I like it to be, though in experience of this in Chelmsford you find the cycle path would be used by those walking so anyone cycling on it would likely not expect people on it. Shared use path you would & if route was good enough to use the likelihood those cycling on it would not necessarily speed down it as it would be more enjoyable to ride & is not in a straight line, tho there will be the odd idiot on the path.