Setting off from Tower Bridge the route passes through East London close to the Thames. It then heads north from Tilbury to Chelmsford in Essex. After a stretch on National Route 1 (also part of EuroVelo 2) National Route 13 resumes at Colchester and continues north to rejoin National Route 1 just south of Fakenham in Norfolk. The route is described here from Tower Bridge to Fakenham but is signed in both directions.
The route is under development but there are many sections already open: between Rainham Marshes and Purfleet; alongside the Thames at Grays and Tilbury; through Basildon; from the outskirts of Billericay to Bures near Colchester; and from Sudbury to Coney Weston. The longest continuously open stretch is from Thetford to Fakenham.
The route can be thought of in 4 sections:
1. Tower Bridge to Grays /Tilbury
Sticking relatively close to the north bank of the Thames heading eastwards, Route 13 passes through Albert Dock and Rainham Marshes on its way to Grays and Tilbury. The short open sections are almost entirely traffic-free.
2. Tilbury to Colchester
The route now heads north from Coalhouse Fort on the Thames to Colchester, with open sections consisting of a mainly traffic-free stretch through Basildon and an on-road route from the northern edge of Billericay into Chelmsford.
3. Colchester to Thetford
This section is almost entirely on-road, except for the traffic-free Valley Walk alongside Sudbury and the route through Bury St Edmunds. The route is incomplete between Bures and Sudbury but the local Bures Loop A2 links the two settlements.
4. Thetford to Fakenham
The route is fully open and almost entirely on-road through Watton and East Dereham to Gateley where Route 13 ends. Here it meets National Route 1, which can be followed the short distance to Fakenham.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.