Walton Trails


Set of Four Walking Trails in Walton-on-the-Naze

A series of four themed public walking trails in the seaside town of Walton-on-the-Naze:

  • 40 Signs total
  • SSSI Site
  • Funded by;
    • SUSCOD
    • WWII Heritage (EU)
    • The Intereg IVB North Sea Region Project
    • The European Regional Development Fund
    • Essex County Council

Walton Community Forum was set up to increase the prosperity of this seaside town in the East of Essex. Seaside towns can often be subject to deprivation, this project aimed to redress that. The project; installed a town manager, set up yearly events to promote the town’s unique independent high street plus its other assets and applied for funding for the Walton Trails.


The Walton Trails were created to provide a resource for locals and tourists, the remit was to gain the maximum benefit from the funding and to engage the community. Starting by creating a brand for the town, which was carried across the design of all Trail elements; leaflets, signs, website etc.

Services provided for the project by TPAC:

  • Project management
  • Community consultation
  • Graphic/sign design
  • Walking trail route design
  • Cartography
  • Leaflet design
  • Website design
  • Launch event

Community consultation sessions enabled local groups of all ages to get involved and have input in its creation. The trails were created in consultation with the following groups:

Little Explorer

Local mums guided on what were the fun things to do in the town, this then translated into a booklet ideal for visiting families.

Wildlife Trail

Essex Wildlife to of provide a tourist attraction, health benefits for local residents and access to the rich diversity of educational opportunities the town has to offer. The Naze is a prime example of a unique site and would fit ‘Geosites’ criteria.


The Walton Maritime Museum and older local people who were volunteering at the Walton Forum, we used video interviews to record their stories

WWII Trail Sign


Added mid-project with additional funding from ECC. History experts at Essex County Council and the Essex Records Office provided text content, photography sourced from the Imperial War Museum.


Routes were researched and planned on the ground, crossing multiple landowners some access issues had to be addressed. Maps of the walk routes were then created.


Insurance of wayfinding elements was provided by the Forum/local council. Use of footpaths on private land, access permissions and rights of way negotiated.


Craftsmen made signs created from sustainable cedar wood, treated with environmentally friendly ‘Osmo Oil’ which naturally bio-degrades in the environment and is food grade.

Digitally printed ceramic tiles created plaques at low-cost for the History Trail, they were cut using a water jet process.

Etched and hand-coloured steel signs were conceived for the Little Explorer Trail, to allow children to take brass-rubbings from them.


The project prioritised sensitivity to the natural environment reflecting where it was located, the ‘Naze’ a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ (SSSI) through both its use of materials and finishes and though its educational value.

Legacy/Added Value

The project also delivered:

  • Town branding
  • Trail website
  • Trail leaflets
  • A film about the project
  • Educational value of interpretation boards
  • Expanding the visitor season
  • Car park signposting for visitors onto the Trails

For more info: www.walton-on-the-naze.com

Video about the project here:https://youtu.be/_LEH1en11cw

Nature Trail sign, environmentally friendly wood and oil treatments.

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