Now the weather if finally getting a bit better, a lovely lakeside walk beckons. Essex has some glorious watery havens to choose from..

1. Danbury Lakes, Danbury Country Park, Woodhill Road, Danbury.

Danbury Country Park – originally laid out in the 13th century as part of a private estate – offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in ornamental gardens. lakes, woodland and meadows.

The lakeside path takes you past the ornamental gardens and alongside tranquil waters, where you can see ducks, carp, moorhens, coots, grebes and sometimes a kingfisher. Late spring is a good time to see ducklings and spectacular displays from rhododendrons in the gardens. Parking charges apply.

2. Belhus Park, Aveley.

Popular Belhus Woods in Thurrock combines ancient woodland, working woods, flower meadows, open grassland, and beautiful fishing and conservation lakes.

It’s a great place to walk your dog, picnic by the lake, feed the ducks, go fishing or spot wildlife. There are many activities throughout the year for families and nature enthusiasts, such as riding the model railway, archery and watching model boats.

3. Chigborough Lakes nature reserve, Chigborough Road, Heybridge

Once gravel pits, this land was flooded and transformed into a wildlife haven where you can discover new wildlife round every bend or sit back on one of the benches and relax and just check out the scenery.


Stroll around the lakes on the circular path and encounter a variety of habitats, from Willow Carr, lakes, marshy areas, grazed grassland and scrub, each with their own different wildlife. Over 120 species of bird have been recorded here and more than 40 of these have bred. There are a number of benches around the trail where you can sit back and enjoy the views of the lakes.

4.Lake Meadows, Billericay

One of the most popular and well kept nature parks around Lake Meadows has a central fishing lake which makes for a perfect circular stroll before relaxing in the cafe with a cuppa or visiting the play area with the kids. One of the best parts about visiting used to be feeding bread to the ducks, but alas, due to concerns over rats visitors are asked not to feed them anymore.

The park also a swimming pool, skate park, bowls green, tennis courts and crazy golf. The fishing lake operates a day ticket system open from 7am to 7pm with a night fishing syndicate you can join if you get in contact with the bailiff. The lake boasts mainly carp with little silver fish and one catfish (‘The Beast of Billericay’) to the size of 60lb.

5. The Serpentine Lake, The Hylands Estate, Chelmsford.

The lake was created as part of Humphry Repton’s landscaping of the Hylands Estate shortly after 1800, and was made to look like a river. It has been recently restored after becoming overgrown with trees and vegetation.

The lake is just one part of the stunning 574 acres of historic parkland open to the public free of charge at Hylands.