wildessex.com is a guide to wild camping, wild swimming, kayaking, cycling and walking – in 24 hrs on any day or 48 hrs over a weekend.

It was originally created in 2009 to achieve something else: get me more commissions as an outdoor writer and photographer. That ambition is now defunct. Outdoor publishers mostly lost the ability to pay a living wage about seven years ago when DIY, social media replaced lazy, traditional media, as a funnier, faster, smarter, wiser form of entertainment.

So we’ve all turned a creative corner and become a lot smarter. I’ve moved into writing short books and, because I love Youtube and Vimeo, shooting more film. Making videos allows me to write about, and photograph, the ‘wild Essex’ I see, 24 hrs-a-day. This site is now a free collective of 250 places that might fill all our weekends for the next year.

Stephen Neale

May 4, 2016

UPDATE: Lots of you support this website by buying me a cuppa, a rare map now and again or an old Essex book. Massive thanks; you know who you are. If you like it here, just a tiny donation from you will help keep Wild Essex online, ad-free, and improving.
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Stephen Neale is a committee member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and former Editor of the Guild’s magazine, Outdoor Focus.

Stephen began his career as a reporter with the Ipswich-based East Anglian Daily Times, in 1993. He was the first journalist on the scene at Aldgate station during the London bombings on July 7, 2005, when his account was broadcast live on BBC radio around the world. His feature on a survivor won several national journalism awards.

He won more awards, before moving into finance journalism, becoming the first UK freelance journalist employed in London by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua. He began focusing on outdoor writing post-2008 banking collapse. 

Also a former lecturer in journalism for the University of Essex and South East Essex College.

Learn about Wild Essex


Discover how to wild camp and forage. Learn where to hike, canoe and cycle in Essex. Workshops for schools, scouts, guides, community groups & businesses.

Talks from £5 per person for schools and community groups. Give me a call on 07947 160007 or email news@wildessex.com