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Bradwell’s Pocket Walking Guide to Essex offers the visitor a selection of 10 walks suitable for all the family. The walks have been carefully chosen to give a broad selection of walks around the county of Essex. Each walk has a brief write-up about the local area and then a way pointed description guides you around the walk with a useful map to help you follow the route.
On first impression the county of Essex seems to divide neatly into two halves: the crowded suburban south with its busy industrial towns along the Thames Estuary and neat ranks of modern housing stretching out of sight; and the empty and agricultural rural north, with little villages reached by narrow lanes, half-timbered houses sprawling around a village green. In reality there are some beautiful parts of the county in the south. To the east the land is very flat, with endless mud flats and salt marshes – a paradise for birdwatchers and nature lovers.
This book scratches the surface of the walking routes in the county. Epping Forest features in only one walk, but there are plenty more paths and tracks to discover. Other areas worth exploring are Thorndon Country Park near Brentwood, Danbury Common and village near Chelmsford, and Dedham Vale along the River Stour on the border with Suffolk.
Colchester’s proud boast is that it is the oldest town in England. The settlement was founded towards the end of the Iron Age, not long before the arrival of the Romans in AD 43. Later the town became Camulodunum, a colonia or centre for retired soldiers, bringing Roman culture to the area. After the death of the Emperor Claudius in AD 54 he was deified and a magnificent temple was built in the town to worship him; its centrepiece was a lifesize bronze statue.
The Roman fort of Caesaromagus was at the confluence of the rivers Can and Chelmer. The settlement’s name became Ceolmaer’s Ford in Saxon times and Celmeresfort in the Domesday Book. By the end of the twelfth century, after the building of a bridge and the granting of a Royal Charter giving permission to hold a market, the town had become Chelmsford. The church of St Mary’s became a cathedral, the second smallest in England. Chelmsford had to wait until the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations of 2012 before it was granted city status.
The complacency of the Roman settlers was shattered in AD 61 when King Prasutagus of the Iceni died and left his widow and their two daughters in the care of the Roman Empire. Historically Rome had little regard for the rights of women; the daughters were raped and Queen Boudicca beaten. Boudicca and the Iceni led a popular revolt against Rome, destroying Colchester and burning the survivors alive in Claudius’s temple. The bronze statue was smashed, but amazingly the severed head was found in 1907 by a boy swimming in the River Alde in Suffolk; it can still be seen in the British Museum. Boudicca and her army went on to destroy London and St Albans before being massacred by a Roman army.
Every village in the county seems to have its own derelict World War II airfield, and the county is also well provided with Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). The Essex Wildlife Trust looks after nine visitor centres, two nature parks and eighty-seven local nature reserves.
List of Walks
Walk 01 - Cabbage Wood - 6 miles
Walk 02 - Castle Hedingham - 3¾ miles
Walk 03 - East Mersea Flats - 3¼ miles
Walk 04 - Epping Forest - 4 miles
Walk 05 - Hadleigh Castle - 3 miles
Walk 06 - Layer Marney Tower - 4½ miles
Walk 07 - Paper Mill Lock - 5½ miles
Walk 08 - Log Church - 4½ miles
Walk 09 - Stour Estuary - 5 miles
Walk 10 - Thaxted - 3¾ miles
Publisher: Bradwell Books
Size: 180 x 120 mm