Wipe away the Christmas excesses and at the same time enjoy some of the most breathtaking scenery.

Here are ten walks you can enjoy in north Essex's beautiful countryside and coast.

1. 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 I 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.

2. 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. As well as the sedate meandering of the river, there’s plenty of great local pubs to make detours to for a stop-off or two.

3. 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 added bonus of the RSPB’s wildlife garden to explore at Flatford, and the glorious 15th century St Mary’s Church at Dedham. Just watch out for the cows and the little messages they occasional leave.

4. Wivenhoe Trail

As a Wivenhoe boy myself, it would be re-miss of me not to include this popular route that starts from the industrial Hythe and gently winds its way to the picturesque estuary town. Although my favourite part has always been past Wivenhoe itself and on to Alresford Creek where many a happy afternoon has been spent chilling out on Whitehouse Beach.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Whitehouse Beach, Wivenhoe

Ok, not exactly a beach in the conventional sense, and I’m not sure I would want to go for a swim there, but then this is a list of places to go for Wintery walks, and this place is perfect for that. Located between Wivenhoe and Alresford, it’s serenity itself with the sharp shrills of the waders out on the mud flats and the gentle lapping of the water on the shingle. Definitely my happy place.

8. The Naze, Walton

Although the super tower won’t be open until March 30, the Naze is still worth a stroll at this time of year. There’s 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.