A pleasant stroll in the Essex countryside along field paths, secluded lanes and a stretch of river bank. Along the way there is an 18th century former priory, a canal lock (and tearoom), the delightfully named World's End Cottage, a ford and the Parish Church of St. Andrew.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Parking is on Church Road, close to the entrance to St. Andrew's church, just past the school 'no waiting' restriction, alongside the pavement.
(D/A) Walk along Church Road in the direction of the church, keeping to the pavement as it turns quite sharply right. You may get a glimpse of Priory House, with its lake and gardens, through the railings on the opposite side of the road. After a quarter of a mile, the Hatfield Peverel Scout and Guide Headquarters building can be seen on the opposite side of the road. Cross the road and walk through the car park to the fence.
Go through the kissing gate directly ahead, ignoring the stile and footpath on the left hand side of the fence. Ignore the path that goes diagonally left immediately after the kissing gate, going straight ahead passing two large chestnut trees with a hedge and allotments on the right. The path goes gently downhill to another kissing gate, which is now largely defunct, beside a willow tree. Keep straight ahead on the field edge path with a ditch and hedge on the left.
(1) At the bottom of the field, where the path joins the tarmac of Sportsmans Lane, go straight ahead, passing 'Gregory's' thatched cottage on the left. After a few yards, where the lane turns sharply right, keep straight ahead to follow a marked footpath, again heading gently downhill, with a hedge on the right. Cross the concrete footbridge at the bottom of the field beside willow trees. Ignore the footpaths that go left and right from the other side of the footbridge but keep straight ahead on an (often indistinct) footpath on the left side of a tall, long-established hedge. After roughly half a mile the field edge path meets a lane at a fingerpost. Turn right on the lane immediately passing two cottages on the right and 'Stonecroft' on the left.
(2) Continue along the lane for a short distance looking out for a footbridge and fingerpost on the left. Cross the footbridge and follow the path between hedge and fence. The path continues on the field edge with a hedge on the right leading gently downhill to a waymarked power line post. Where the hedge ends continue straight ahead on a (usually) well reinstated path, passing under the power lines towards another waymarked post on the opposite side of the field. Cross the wooden footbridge and initially keep straight ahead with leylandii on the left.
The path very soon heads south-west (compass bearing 223°) across the field on the right, heading towards a thatched barn and adjacent farmhouse. Again, this path is generally well reinstated. There are views of Little Baddow ridge on the left. At the other side of the field the path continues through the hedge, crossing a waymarked three-plank footbridge (at the time of writing this bridge is looking rather the worse for wear). Emerging from the hedge the path continues following its south-westerly direction towards the thatched barn. At the gate of Botter's Farm continue in more or less the same direction to reach the rear of a shiplap building.
Continue through scrubland alongside this building, passing to the left of a power line pole, eventually reaching a stile and footbridge over the ditch where the path joins a farm track. Turn left on the track, following it downhill passing the thatched barns seen from a distance earlier.
(3) Where the track swings to the right, follow it, passing to the right of a concrete building. Continue in the waymarked south-westerly direction towards a hedge and trees on the other side of the field. On reaching the hedge bear right, following the edge of the field as it swings left. Continue along the field edge. The path goes through some scrub and joins another field with hedge and trees on the left, eventually meeting a lane with 'World's End Cottage' on the right. Keep straight ahead on the lane to reach a road. Turn left. This road - North Hill - can be busy at times so proceed with caution as there are often cars parked along the verges, particularly at weekends. It is also a popular area for fly tipping.
(4) Pass the entrance to 'Treasure Island' and cross Paper Mill Bridge with care. Paper Mill Lock (see Useful Information below) is on the right if you wish to stop and visit. The path continues through an old wooden gate beside a finger post on the left, just after the bridge. The route now follows the towpath along the side of the navigation. Surprisingly, as it was a towpath, it is a footpath rather than a bridleway. Despite that it is very popular with cyclists, so please be aware. There are many cricket bat willows along this section of the canal which are felled and replaced on a regular basis and provide an income for the canal company. There is an unmarked footpath off to the right just before a bench under a willow tree - ignore this and continue along the towpath. The bustle of Paper Mill Lock and the noise of the road are soon left behind on this tranquil riverside walk. After very nearly one mile along the towpath there is a white footbridge over the canal at a junction of footpaths and bridleways.
(5) Cross this bridge. The path on the other side turns immediately right and follows the line of the canal for a short distance before swinging left on a field path towards a line of willow trees. Pass between trees, following the track up to a bend in Bumfords Lane ahead. Turn right on the lane which carries very little motor traffic but is popular with cyclists.
(6) After 600 yards, just before a weight-restricted weak bridge (Bumfords Bridge), turn left off the lane to take the marked path alongside the River Ter. This field edge path follows the meandering course of the river for some distance, eventually descending some steps to join a lane beside Nounsley ford.
(7) Cross the road and, ignoring the path to the left, cross the concrete bridge over the ford. Continue ahead on the lane as it climbs gently away from the ford. Just after houses 'Heatherdene' and 'The Croft' on the left, turn left off the lane at a finger post to follow the narrow footpath, initially between fences and then hedges. It eventually emerges on to Sportsmans Lane opposite the iron gates of The Priory with The Sportmans Arms on the left (long closed as a pub unfortunately - it was a favourite in my youth).
(8) Take the marked footpath opposite, on the right of the iron gates, between hedges. The path later becomes a field edge path. Follow this with a fence and hedge on the left. Ignore a path on the right leading to houses and another, just before reaching the cemetery. Shortly after reaching the cemetery fence turn left beside some rather derelict gates (see NOTE below) and head towards St. Andrew's church along the stony path. At the church access road and car park turn right, walking past properties on the right to emerge at Church Road and the parking spot.(D/A)
"NOTE : In the event of the churchyard path being unavailable (perhaps due to a wedding or funeral), rather than turning left at the gates continue ahead beside the cemetery and allotments to reach a footpath T junction and fence. Turn left here to return to the parking spot."
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 135ft - Parking along Church Road
1 : mi 0.59 - alt. 85ft - Gregory's
2 : mi 1.19 - alt. 105ft - Footbridge and fingerpost
3 : mi 1.64 - alt. 49ft - Concrete building
4 : mi 2.17 - alt. 49ft - Paper Mill Bridge
5 : mi 3.16 - alt. 46ft - Footbridge
6 : mi 3.61 - alt. 43ft - Bumfords Bridge
7 : mi 4.47 - alt. 52ft - Nounsley ford
8 : mi 4.76 - alt. 102ft - Sportsmans Lane
D/A : mi 5.33 - alt. 135ft - Parking
Paper Mill Lock Tearooms is open seven days a week from 10am. Their menu changes seasonally but tea and cakes are always available. Details and their menu can be found at https://www.papermilllock.co.uk
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation is the canalisation of the Rivers Chelmer and Blackwater. The navigation runs for 13.75 miles (22.13 km) from Springfield Basin in Chelmsford to the sea lock at Heybridge Basin near Maldon. There is an excellent Wikipedia entry about the canal if you would like to know more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelmer_an...
English Cricket Bat Willow
The life cycle of a commercially grown English Cricket Bat Willow Trees - Salix Alba Caerulea - is ideally fifteen to twenty years. They can be allowed to grow beyond this stage and provided they remain healthy can grow to well in excess of forty years old. Each felled tree has to be replaced on - at least - a one for one basis, either in the same area or at least on the same farm or Estate, hence the young trees that are evident along the canal.
An easy stroll in the countryside near Wickham Bishops, departing close to the redundant St Peter's church, passing beneath the last wooden railway viaduct in the country and then along the meandering banks of the River Blackwater. The return passes through woodland and has some excellent views across the Essex countryside. This is an all-seasons walk but is particularly good in spring and autumn.
An enjoyable stroll near the ancient rural village of Woodham Walter with a nature reserve, arable fields, woodland and The Wilderness. The route is along bridleways and footpaths for the most part, with a couple of short sections on quiet country lanes. There are only two cross-field paths so it's a good winter walk although, like any hike in Essex, it can be muddy after rain.
Last checked and updated: 22 June 2021 - see below
A circular walk that circumnavigates the village of Little Baddow. Beginning in Lingwood Common, the route follows bridleways, footpaths, the river towpath and quiet country lanes. A good walk for any time of year, but not after spells of prolonged rain when the towpath, especially, can become something of a quagmire. Walking it in spring is highly recommended as Blake's Wood is nationally known for its display of bluebells.
Checked & updated: August 2021
3 village circular walk through Howegreen, Great Baddow, and Sandon
Along pavements, footpaths and bridleways and across fields.
A circular walk from Purleigh that passes close to three excellent pubs using footpaths, bridleways, byways and short sections of country lanes. It joins St Peter's Way here and there, follows a disused railway track and goes through vineyards before meeting a WW1 airfield. A walk for all seasons, although sections can be muddy after rain.
Please see the Useful Information section for important information regarding the aerodrome.
Reviewed & updated 26/5/21
Explore Hylands Estate following this path through the park.
For more walks, use our search engine.
The GPS track and description are the property of the author.