The river was once known as the Huolve or Wholve and this name is the basis of the name of the town of Hullbridge.
The Crouch rises in 'The Wilderness' on the Burstead Golf course at Little Burstead. The Wilderness is a pond surrounded by a tiny area of ancient woodland. It runs parallel with the A176 (Noak Hill Road) for approximately 1.3 miles (2.1 km) and then follows a generally easterly course, passing by, near or through:
The river flows into the North Sea between Holliwell Point and Foulness Point on its north and south banks respectively.
A major tributary of the River Crouch is the River Roach.