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The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield

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The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield
Author: pubwalker, Published: 03 Sep 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield Pub Walking Guidestar1 The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield Pub Walking Guidestar1 The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield Pub Walking Guidestar1 The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield Pub Walking Guidestar0 The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield Pub Walking Guide
Essex, Chelmsford
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield Pub Walking Guide boot The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield Pub Walking Guide boot The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield Pub Walking Guide
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A 3 mile circular pub walk from the Old Windmill in South Hanningfield, Essex. The Old Windmill has been serving food and ale since 1799 and today, with a beautiful sympathetic refurbishment, it really is a gem of a pub. The walking route explores the local countryside, a peaceful journey through arable fields and ancient lanes, visiting the pretty local church on route.

The paths follow sections of arable fields and grass meadows, all of which can be very muddy in the winter and after periods of rain, so the walk is one best enjoyed in the warmer months. The paths in a couple of places can also be a little overgrown so good stout footwear and full length trousers are recommended (unless you’re immune to nettles!). The route has several climbs and descents throughout and there are a couple of sections of road walking so take care of traffic. There are a few gates plus six stiles, some of which are fully enclosed with wire fencing so dogs may need a lift over. Depending on the condition underfoot, allow 1 to 2 hours.

South Hanningfield is situated between Basildon and Chelmsford, just off the A130. The walk starts and finishes at the Old Windmill pub which is on South Hanningfield Road. The pub has a large car park alongside. Approximate post code CM3 8HJ.

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Walk Sections

Start to Flemings Farm
Start to Flemings Farm

Start point: 51.6497 lat, 0.5147 long
End point: 51.6419 lat, 0.5183 long

To begin the walk, head to the rear of the pub car park (with your back to the road you need to head to the back left corner). Pass through the gap here under an arch of trees to join the grass footpath which runs along the left-hand edge of a crop field. Keep ahead as the path continues with crop fields each side and power lines running parallel to the left.

The path skirts right to run to the right of a long line of hawthorn and oak trees. As the field edge swings right, fork left up a short slope to reach a T-junction with a quiet road and a small fenced reservoir opposite. Turn right along the road and then, as the fence on the left ends, turn left past a disused stile to follow the left-hand edge of this next crop field (with the reservoir still on the left).

As the fence on the left ends, strike out ahead over the centre of the crop field, aiming for the left-hand end of the long hedgerow ahead. As you reach this hedge line, bear slightly right to follow the right-hand edge of the next field heading gradually downhill. At this point you’ll have beautiful views across the valley ahead. At the bottom of this field you’ll reach a post with yellow arrows marking a junction of paths, with Flemings Farm visible across to the right.

Flemings Farm to Stone Track
Flemings Farm to Stone Track

Start point: 51.6419 lat, 0.5183 long
End point: 51.6472 lat, 0.5315 long

Turn left following the bottom edge of the field you just descended. At the far corner, follow the field edge path as it swings left with a belt of trees on the right. As the main belt of trees ends, fork right down a short slope to reach the adjacent field. Keep ahead along the bottom boundary of this field and into the next field. At the gap in the tree line on the right, dog-leg right then left to join the wide grass ride with a private property on the right. Pass through the staggered barrier to reach a T-junction with the road.

Turn left along the road edge, taking care of any traffic. Where the road swings left, keep straight ahead through the gate to join the footpath along the left-hand edge of the field. At the top corner you’ll meet the edge of Scrub Wood ahead. Turn right along the edge of the field and less than half way along, where the woodland on the left ends, dog-leg left and then right to follow the path down the right-hand edge of this next field.

In the field corner, bear right to reach a junction of several paths. Take the second left, an ancient lane with passes under a tunnel of trees. Continue to the point where the dirt lane becomes a stone track. Keep ahead for just a few paces more and then look out in the hedge on the left for a partially hidden stile.

Stone Track to Romans Farm
Stone Track to Romans Farm

Start point: 51.6472 lat, 0.5315 long
End point: 51.6518 lat, 0.5302 long

Cross this stile and follow the path with fenced horse paddocks to the right. Cross the next stile ahead and cross a small footbridge and then pass through a wide gate (or use the stile alongside) and keep straight ahead on the tarmac drive to reach a T-junction with the main road.

Turn left along the road edge, taking extreme care of any traffic. After about 200 yards you’ll see a sign marking a footpath off to the right. Cross over the road to take this path, which leads you through the metal entrance gate of Roman’s Farm.

Romans Farm to Church
Romans Farm to Church

Start point: 51.6518 lat, 0.5302 long
End point: 51.6541 lat, 0.5204 long

Keep straight ahead onto the footpath in line with the gate which passes between outbuildings. Cross a short section of scrub, cross a stile and then swing left to reach an open grass field. Keep ahead along the left-hand edge of this, passing a pylon on the right. At the end of the field, keep ahead on the narrow path through another section of scrub.

Cross the stile and pass through the small woodland belt, passing under the branches of the large oak tree to reach the next large open grass field. Keep ahead, close to the left-hand boundary, heading for the church spire visible on the hilltop ahead. Continue through the long narrow grass field. About 150 yards before you reach the tree line at the end of the field, fork left across a small sleeper bridge, to join a narrow path between hedgerows.

Cross the next stile and keep ahead on the path which passes a large white thatched property on the right. You’ll emerge to a gravel driveway. Turn right along the gravel driveway for a short stretch and then turn left into the church yard.

Church to End
Church to End

Start point: 51.6541 lat, 0.5204 long
End point: 51.6497 lat, 0.515 long

Cross straight through the church yard passing to the left of St Peter’s Church. Take time to admire the pretty wooden clad 15th century belfry and the ornate timber porch with stained glass panels.

At the far side of the church yard, pass through the metal kissing gate into the large lawn area of a private property. Follow the right-hand boundary of this private meadow and, at the bottom corner, pass out over the stile to reach a T-junction with the main road. Ahead you’ll have lovely views across the enormous Hanningfield Reservoir.

Cross over the road with care and turn left along the concrete path, with the reservoir over to the right. Hanningfield Reservoir was built in 1957, flooding this section of the Sandon Valley and the hamlet of Peasdown. Contrary to popular belief, no buildings survive under the water, however, an earth removal machine was left in situ and concreted over prior to filling.

At the end of the road you’ll come to a T-junction. Turn right, signed to Ramsden Heath. Further along on the left you’ll reach the Old Windmill for some well-earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author pubwalker and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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2 images to "The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield"

2500_0Richard1380724187 The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield Pub Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
We walked this route in September and there was a lot of activity on the fields that we walked through - lovely oak trees too.
2500_2Richard1380724187 The Old Windmill and South Hanningfield Pub Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
With a large car park this pub makes a great place to start and end the walk. We had a great lunch and there was a good choice of beer.

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