Lockdown means we are being told to stay home but there is still a chance to get out in the fresh air for some exercise.

So if you fancy stretching your legs this weekend we have got you covered.

We've had a look through some of the best places you can walk in Essex's beautiful countryside and coast - all without having to venture very far.

So as the temperature dips, get out and about and enjoy the beautiful autumn colours with some of these strolls.

The Essex Way from West Bergholt to Fordham

While the stretch from Harwich to Manningtree on the long distance path gets all the plaudits, and quite rightly with the views of the Stour estuary, try this little beaut for a quiet alternative.

Enjoy the sedate meandering of the river.

Canvey Island

If unfamiliar with Canvey Island, there is something quite magical and surprising about first stepping up to the sea wall and looking over.

It’s really quite breath-taking to suddenly see the wide expanse of water and the life coming and going up the Thames, and the views of Kent coast across the water, which you can see from the beach.

Follow the coastline and you will experience a bizarre combination of scenery - industrialism, concrete, tired British seaside fronts and stunning natural beauty.

Hockley Woods

These ancient woods are accessed by small tracks off main roads but, once inside, it is easy to forget you are in a built up area.

There are plenty of walks to be had around the woods with several different paths, of differing lengths, signposted.

Circumnavigate Mersea Island

At just over 13 miles, it’s worth booking out a whole day for this one, and because it’s a circular walk, you can start from any point, although we would choose either Cudmore Grove or down by the West Mersea pontoon.

Make sure you check the tides, as at some points it can cover the beach where you’ll be walking. But all that planning will properly pay off with some incredible waterfront scenery.

Flatford to Dedham, Dedham to Flatford

The iconic Constable walk, following the river Stour, with some of the best tea shops at either end, Wilkin & Sons’ Essex Rose in Dedham and the National Trust’s very own cafe at Flatford.

There are good car parks at either starting point with the glorious 15th century St Mary’s Church at Dedham.

Just watch out for the cows and the little messages they occasional leave.

Bell Wharf Beach, Leigh up to Thorpe Bay, and beyond…

There’s a good chance you are aware of the wonderful little beaches of Leigh, Chalkwell, Westcliff Bay, etc.

But there’s nothing quite like blowing the cobwebs away and doing the full stretch from Bell Wharf Beach to Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, which will take on average about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Of course you could go even further if you’ve got the gumption, around to East Beach in Shoeburyness, which is a wonderful stretch and away from the hustle and bustle of the Golden Mile.

Hatfield Forest

This forest in Bishop's Stortford has been created over years of careful cultivation.

Traditional woodland management techniques have left a perfect habitat for thousands of species of wildlife and is a perfect place for a wander amongst the trees or somewhere for the kids to use up their energy.

Danbury Woods

Explore the ancient woodland by walking a series of marked paths through the commons. You can follow a trail from Blakes Wood to Lingwood Common where there are amazing views over the Essex countryside.

Wivenhoe Trail

This popular route starts from the industrial Hythe and gently winds its way to the picturesque estuary town.

The route takes in Wivenhoe itself and on to Alresford Creek.

Benfleet to Leigh

This seems like a barren and bleak landscape. It can appear grey and lifeless, even on a sunny day.

But it is actually a dramatic and constantly changing environment. On this five and a half mile walk from Benfleet to Leigh, you can explore the tidal creeks, salt marshes, mudflats on the edge of the estuary.

Tollesbury Marshes

Apart from going out to St Peter-on-the-Wall at Bradwell, the next best place to feel truly somewhere wild in Essex, is out on the Tollesbury Marshes.

It’s no surprise they filmed Great Expectations there and when the wind gets up, which it does regularly, there’s no better place to wipe away the cobwebs.

Frinton-on-Sea Beach

Much mocked for its tight regulations, Frinton is actually a gorgeous family-friendly resort with a lovely beach that’s hard to beat - although watch out the sea does come in quite close at high tides.

Behind the beach is an extensive promenade, lined with colourful, old-fashioned beach huts and there’s also the lovely grassy area, the Greensward, which should the weather allow is a great place for a wintery blanket picnic.

Roach Valley

The Roach Valley Way, a 23 mile circular waymarked walk passes through a variety of landscapes, from the ancient woodlands of Hockley in the west to the coastal margins of the Roach and Crouch estuaries in the south and north.

The Naze, Walton

The Naze is worth a stroll at this time of year. There’s also fossil hunting.

Don’t climb the cliffs, they’re very dangerous, and there’s plenty of ‘finds’ to be had on the beach.

And don’t forget to go right round the coast to catch the plethora of sea birds hanging out on Hamford Water.

Bradwell on Sea

The landscape of Bradwell is breathtaking, mainly because as you stand on the beach, behind you will be the 7th century Chapel of St Peter on the Wall, the oldest church in England.

The ancient chapel was built in 674 using the brick of the ruined Roman fort, hence ‘on the wall’ and is a must for any Essex walker.

Dovercourt Beach

If you’re looking for views, those “headless giraffes” over the way at Felixstowe docks are hard to beat, not to mention the huge ships that sail into Harwich.

Burnham on Crouch and the Dengie

Bounded by the North Sea and the rivers Crouch and Blackwater, the Dengie is a beguiling mix of the country's richest arable farming, thatched and weatherboarded villages like the sublime Tillingham, and moody end-of-the-earth saltmarshes.

Harwich Maritime Trail

The maritime town of Harwich stands at the tip of a peninsula in north east Essex commanding the entrance to a magnificent harbour, where the Orwell flows down from Ipswich to meet the waters of the Stour that flow from Constable Country.

There are fine views over the busy harbour, especially from The Ha'penny Pier, with vessels of all shapes and sizes constantly moving.