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.
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.
(D/A) From the parking area, take the bridleway beside the information signs, heading into the woodland of Lingwood Common. As the path begins to descend more steeply, ignore a waymarked path on the left, continuing ahead. Disregard any paths left and right to stay on this undulating wide bridleway. Where a bridleway joins from the left at a white-topped marker post and seat, continue ahead, going downhill. At a cleared area of woodland on the left, the path swings right; it can be rather muddy after rain as the path crosses a ditch line at the bottom of the descent. Shortly after this cross a stony culvert, after which the path begins to climb before dropping down again to another stony culvert; here it climbs slightly more steeply. Almost immediately after this second culvert, there is a waymarked public footpath to the right (if you reach another seat at the top of a rise you have missed the path).
(1) Take this clearly defined path on your right through trees for approximately ¼ mile, ignoring any other paths left and right climbing gently uphill until it emerges at a wider track beside the scout camp gate. Turn right to follow this wider track with a ditch on the right and fencing on the left, soon meeting and running alongside a tarmac track and eventually emerging at a road – The Ridge. Cross the road and continue almost directly opposite to walk down Fir Tree Lane. At the end of the lane, continue ahead to enter woodland past traffic barriers. Ignore a courtesy path through a swing gate on the left and a path on the right beside two barred gates, going ahead between another pair of traffic barriers. At an information board for Danbury Ridge Nature Reserve, turn left, soon passing the entrance to Pheasant House Wood on the right, keeping to the gently descending wide path. Almost at the bottom of the path, ignore the right hand footpath through a swing gate to carry on ahead, curving to the left and still gently downhill. Cross the footbridge and begin to climb slightly.160 yards after the footbridge, ignore a wide waymarked path on the left. A few yards after this, where the path swings right, ignore a waymarked path through a swing gate on the right. Continue going gradually downhill to meet a gravel track leading to properties. Follow this track uphill to meet Spring Elms Lane.
(2) Cross the road to the marked footpath almost directly opposite, with white-topped marker posts showing the route. At the fourth marker post (at time of writing, this was laying on the ground) do not take the left hand path between holly bushes and a fence, but continue straight ahead with fences left and right. Follow this meandering path between garden fences, eventually meeting a gravel track at a T junction. Turn left to follow another bridleway between wire fences to arrive at a junction of paths with a Heather Hills sign on the left. Turn right downhill with some excellent views of the Essex countryside ahead. When the path eventually meets a fence, turn right to walk alongside the fence. Ignore the footpath which leads towards a signed gap in the hedge slightly to the right ahead and continue to follow the bridleway along a farm track and field edge path. On meeting a brick wall, follow the bridleway with the wall on the left until it joins an imprinted concrete track.
Turn right .A few yards further on, where the (now gravel) track turns to the right, ignore all the marked footpaths, instead keeping to the track bearing right until it eventually meets Tofts Chase.
(3) Cross the lane and stile to take the signed footpath heading downhill with a ditch on the left. At the bottom of the field, turn right to follow a grassy track. Where the hedge ends, join the towpath, turning left to follow it alongside the river for ½ mile to Paper Mill Bridge. Go through the gate and cross the road with care - it can be surprisingly busy for a quiet lane. Go through the gate opposite, passing Paper Mill Lock Tea Rooms, the lock and scores of moored pleasure craft. After 3/4 mile, ignore a footpath at a white-topped marker post. Just before a blue footbridge at Little Baddow bridge, turn left to take the multi-waymarked path (Little Baddow Millennium Walk & Admiral McHardy Way) heading straight across the field towards the church. At the other side of the field, continue straight ahead on the grass then bear very slightly left to steps leading South to Church Road.
(4) Turn left on the road. Opposite the church entrance, follow the fingerpost and Millennium Walk marker along with a track passing Little Baddow Hall, a C14th-C15th Grade II listed building, following signs to the church car park. At the final sign to the car park, with a left pointing arrow, ignore the path going ahead between paddocks but instead, turn right to follow the gravel track. Ignore a footpath waymarked on the right (Millennium Walk) and follow the track as it swings to the left. Where it turns sharp left, go straight ahead on a grassy track with a hedge on the left and paddocks on the right. At a corner of a paddock, just before some scrub land, look for a large gap in the hedge on the left. Go through this and go ahead on the grassy track. Cross the stile and enter a tree-lined path that meets Chapel Lane over a footbridge.
(5) Turn right, heading towards a white-painted house (Rowan Cottage) ahead. Where the lane curves right, with Spring Cottage on the right, look out for a fingerpost on the left at the back of a lay-by. Cross the stile to take the rather narrow footpath. Ignore a waymarked footpath on the left over a footbridge. Go through a swing gate, where the buildings of Belle Vue Farm can now be seen ahead. The path narrows somewhat as it nears its end, joining a wooden slatted fence on the right. The path emerges at the entrance to the farmhouse.
(6) Immediately turn sharp right, passing in front of the farm gates and, ignoring a footpath off to the left, walk towards woodland with a sign for Blakes Wood and a very prominent "no riding" sign. Enter the wood through the swing gate, going slightly downhill on a clear path that eventually drops down to a stream and footbridge. Turn left after crossing the bridge, the path going uphill and curving left then right beside fallen trees to reach a T-junction with a seat and National Trust Blakes Wood Trail 8 marker post. Follow the white National Trust marker right on this path. Where the path splits left and right follow the National Trust waymark going half right, ignoring the sharp right track. The path descends gently and bears left then going more steeply downhill. At a T junction, with National Trust post 9, turn left following the National Trust marker direction, then almost immediately right at another National Trust waymarked post dropping down a little and curving left. The path soon starts to climb and the ancient woodlands on either side provide a fantastic display of bluebells in the spring, preceded by white wood anemones. The path continues uphill, passing a bench and finishing at Blakes Wood car park.
(7) Go through this on to Riffhams Chase. Turn right, following it gently downhill. A few yards after The White House gates on the left, as the road curves right, follow a fingerpost on the left into Lingwood Common. Disregarding all other paths, waymarked or not, follow this wide undulating bridleway ¾ mile back to the departure point.
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 348ft - Car park
1 : mi 0.46 - alt. 295ft - Path to scout camp
2 : mi 1.84 - alt. 302ft - Spring Elm Lane
3 : mi 2.81 - alt. 115ft - Tofts Chase
4 : mi 5 - alt. 62ft - Church Road & Little Baddow Hall
5 : mi 5.43 - alt. 121ft - Chapel Lane
6 : mi 6.03 - alt. 249ft - Blakes Wood entrance
7 : mi 6.63 - alt. 262ft - Blakes Wood car park & Riffhams Chase
D/A : mi 7.54 - alt. 348ft - Car park
The small parking space at the start is large enough for four or five cars.
The Paper Mill Lock Tea Rooms (handily placed at just about the halfway mark) is open seven days a week from 10am but, of course, this is weather permitting, as the river has been known to flood. Their menu changes seasonally but tea and cakes are always available. Phone 01245 225520 to check what’s on or visit their Facebook page.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Global average : 4.33/5
Number of opinions : 2
Description quality : 4.5/5
Routemap quality : 5/5
Walk interest : 3.5/5
Global average : 4 / 5
Date of walk
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Average
An enjoyable walk, though ended up on a couple of detours where description was slightly unclear.
Global average : 4.67 / 5
Date of walk
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Good
Probably the best walking directions we've come across
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
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
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.
Explore Hylands Estate following this path through the park.
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