Wakes Colne, Fordstreet and Chappel

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Statistics and Files
Start: Railway Station Distance: 5.8 miles (9.3 km) Climbing: 85 metres
Grid Ref: TL 89662 28788 Time: 3 hours Rating: Easy
GPX Route File Google Earth File About the River Colne
Statistics
Start: Railway Station Distance: 5.8 miles (9.3 km)
Climbing: 85 metres Grid Ref: TL 89662 28788
Time: 3 hours Rating: Easy
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

The Walk: Long renowned for its rivers and marshes, Essex also boasts some of the loveliest English countryside. This riverside walk through the valley of the River Colne presents the county at its best. Starting from the Chappel and Wakes Colne railway station, the walk passes cottages which were built to house the railway construction workers. After crossing the branch line there are fields and beautifully secluded valleys nestling at the foot of low hills.

Chappel and Wakes Colne railway stationChappel and Wakes Colne railway station
Chappel's Victorian railway viaductChappel's Victorian railway viaduct

Passing through woodland to higher ground beyond Bretts Farm there are extensive views over the Colne valley to the south. The walk then follows an ancient sunken lane past grassy horse paddocks as it descends to the village of Fordstreet.

Then follows thew most delightful stretch: past a wall with a veriety of flowers growing in it (the real meaning of wallflowers) and on past a tree and shrub nursery leading to a fine track beside the River Colne. Here you will see water lilies, skylarks, cormorants and a variety of waterfowl. In the distance, the 32 arch Chappel Viaduct is etched tall against the sky.

Heading back towards the start, the walk passes through flax country - a rippling expanse of blue in summer. A shrub lined path leads under the viaduct past a well stocked duck pond to a fine group of houses and the Church of St Barnabas, built here to serve the people who, in days past, found the trek to church in Great tey too far.

Allow time at the end of the walk to visit the East Anglia Railway Museum and its excellent bookshop. The line operates steam hauled passsenger trains on the Gainsborough Line. The museum points out this is a working railway and visitors should not walk along or beside the track.


Acknowledgments: Text derived from the Out and Out Series; Discovering the Countryside on Foot. Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia.

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