Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Old Leigh (A Guided Walk in Old Leigh)

"Old Leigh" is a Guided Walk devised and led by Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby, of Colin Crosby Heritage Tours, who now lives in Leicester but was born in Rochford and spent many years living in the Southend area.

These strolls are a most enjoyable way of soaking up some Local History.

Colin led this walk as part of Sea Britain 2005, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Nelson's great victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Leigh-on-Sea is now a suburb of Southend, with its own thriving shopping centre. However, the original settlement, now universally known as Old Leigh, was a fishing and shipbuilding town on the estuary of the River Thames.

The walk starts outside the Error with link in Broadway West, in the modern shopping centre. This building is the former Rectory.

The route of the walk goes down the steep and picturesque Church Hill to the old waterside High Street. The return up hill is by the much more gentle Leigh Hill.

The chief industry of Old Leigh today is seafood, particularly cockles, which can be eaten in the restaurants or purchased from the many stalls.

For centuries Old Leigh was a shipbuilding town, and it is probable that the Mayflower, on which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America, was built at Leigh. Certainly a high proportion of those who sailed came from Essex.

Some of the old wharves retain their salty charm. There is a walk known as "the Cinder Path", that leads beside the estuary to Chalkwell, beyond which can be seen Southend Pier, the longest in the world. On the hillside in the other direction are the ruins of the mediaeval Hadleigh Castle, famously painted by John Constable, while there are views across the estuary to the Kent hills.

Colin also leads walks locally in Southend, Rochford, Prittlewell, Rayleigh and Maldon.

Dates, costs and where to meet

A place on 'Old Leigh' costs £5.50 per person, or £3.50 if paying in advance. The guided walk begins at Public Library, and is running on:

I'm sorry, but there are no plans to run this event at present.

If you would like to book a place on one of these dates, please telephone Colin on (0116) 2611576 or email him at

Upcoming Events

Guided Walks List