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Wormingford Hills

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Wormingford Hills
Author: Steve Hallam, Published: 21 Mar 2017 Walk Rating:star0 Wormingford Hills Walking Guide star0 Wormingford Hills Walking Guide star0 Wormingford Hills Walking Guide star0 Wormingford Hills Walking Guide star0 Wormingford Hills Walking Guide
Essex, Wormingford
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Wormingford Hills
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Wormingford Hills Walking Guide boot Wormingford Hills Walking Guide boot Wormingford Hills Walking Guide
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0018_cloudy_with_heavy_rain Wormingford Hills Walking Guide Today's weather
16 °C, Light rain, Wind: 9 mph SSW
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0003_white_cloud Wormingford Hills Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Wormingford Hills Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Wormingford Hills Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Wormingford Hills Walking Guide 0001_sunny Wormingford Hills Walking Guide

A 3 mile circular walk, close to Colchester in Essex. The route allows you to discover a most unusual corner of Essex - hills, grassland, and grazing livestock. You might think you were in Devon! This circular walk, which is three miles to the north of Colchester, includes magnificent views, a delightful old church and hamlet, a lovely riverside mill house and weir, woodland, rolling grassland and the site of a Tudor hunting lodge.

The walk involves some steep, but short, climbs and should take about 1.5 to 2 hours. One short section is almost always wet and muddy. There are three remaining stiles, but most have been replaced by gates. There are a few hundred yards of walking on tarmac lanes, but these are all usually quiet. Both sheep and cattle are likely to be encountered. One short section of the route follows a public right of way across a private garden and you may encounter dogs here - in my experience they have done nothing more than bark.

The walk starts from a large lay-by on the B1508, approximately 1km north of the Wormingford Crown, and 100 metres north of the junction with Sandy Lane. The lay-by is on the outside of a sharp bend and has a prominent double metal farm gate (shown in the image for Section 1). The nearest postcode is CO6 3AA. Chambers bus routes 753 and 754 pass by.

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Walk Sections

Start to Wormingford Church
Start to Wormingford Church

Start point: 51.9564 lat, 0.7977 long
End point: 51.9549 lat, 0.8114 long

From the lay-by, pass alongside the farm gate and take the right-hand of the two farm tracks. The track runs south up the hill, towards a copse on the top of the hill. At the top of the hill keep straight on, keeping a wire and wooden post fence to your right. Ahead of you is a small wooden gate, set in some bushes. Go through this gate and then head straight on, keeping to the obvious path with a fence on your left-hand side. Descend into a short but steep valley and then follow the path through trees up the other side of the valley.

The path brings you to a gate, through which you enter the graveyard of Wormingford Church. Follow the tarmac path through the graveyard to reach the road on the other side.

Wormingford Church to Flint Cottage
Wormingford Church to Flint Cottage

Start point: 51.9549 lat, 0.8114 long
End point: 51.9557 lat, 0.8198 long

Turn left onto Church Road from the graveyard. There are some lovely old houses in this hamlet, so take time to admire them! Walk down Church Road and, after 50 metres, turn right into the lane that runs to the Community Centre. At the end of the lane (by the Community Centre) take the footpath that turns sharp right (NOT the one that goes straight on).

Follow this path through a belt of trees, across a field and then alongside the hedge on the other side of the field. Take the track that goes off left, between two hedges and marked by a yellow public right of way sign. Follow this track for a few yards until it ends at a tarmac lane. Turn right, and almost immediately you will see a metal pedestrian gate (on your left) into the field opposite. Go through this gate and walk straight across the field to the point where a wire fence marks the boundary between the field and a wood. Follow this fence, it will be on your left, to the corner of the field. Here you will see a stile that leads to a path with a wire fence either side of it. Take this path to reach a second tarmac road. Turn left at the road and follow it for 280 metres until a signposted footpath goes off left through a wooden gate, as the road turns to the right.

Take this footpath and follow the visible path across a grass field to reach a wooden kissing gate in a hedge. Pass through the gate and cross the next grass field to a stile in the next hedge. (If this path is not visible in the grass, the direction to take is about 10 o'clock). Beyond the stile is a short path up an earth bank, and then a second stile. Once over this stile, turn left to head up the field edge towards a flint cottage.

Flint Cottage to The Mill House
Flint Cottage to The Mill House

Start point: 51.9557 lat, 0.8198 long
End point: 51.9609 lat, 0.8126 long

At the cottage, turn right to pass in front of it and follow the field boundary to a metal pedestrian gate in the hedge on your left. Go through the gate and follow the path through bushes down the hill. This part of the route can get very muddy, but it is usually possible to avoid the worst bits.

At the end of the bushes the path opens out into a large arable field, with a wide grass headland. Follow the headland (and the yellow footpath signs) straight ahead. Shortly afterwards the field boundary and headland swing left. Follow the path all the way to a tarmac road.

At the road, turn right and then turn left at the junction with Bowdens Lane. You will reach The Mill House, just before the bridge over the River Stour.

The Mill House to End
The Mill House to End

Start point: 51.9609 lat, 0.8126 long
End point: 51.9563 lat, 0.7977 long

Turn left off the road at The Mill House, going through the pedestrian gate to the left of the cattle grid. (You can't see the house from the road, just one of its barns). Walk along the drive and in front of the house. There are some barky dogs here, but in my experience they have never done more than bark - so far.

Take time to notice the old mill race and attractive weir to your right. You will find yourself facing the lawn of the house which, surprisingly, the public right of way goes right across the middle of. So march across the lawn to reach a wooden kissing gate that leads to the grass field beyond. Cross the field, heading towards the left-hand corner. Cross a muddy bridge over a ditch, turn immediately left through a gate way and then turn right to start climbing a grassy hill. A line of wheel marks can be seen, which turn into a progressively more visible track. This marks your route.

At the top of the hill, before passing through a gateway, you will see a wire fence running off to your right. This leads to the site of a Tudor hunting lodge. This site has been excavated and there is an information sign which explains its history. Also, from this point you may be able to see the lovely Tudor Smallbridge Hall, sitting in trees on the other side of the river. This was built by the Waldegrave family and visited by Elizabeth I.

Returning to the path, go through the gateway and continue ahead with a fence on your right-hand side. From here there are superb views down the Stour Valley, in both directions. It is also an excellent place to see soaring Buzzards and, perhaps one day, Red Kites. From here follow the track down the hill and you will reach the lay-by where the walk began.

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network Wormingford Hills Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author SteveHallam 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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