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Chappel and Chalkney Wood

There are currently 2 comments and 8 photos online for this walk.

Chappel and Chalkney Wood
Author: Steve Hallam, Published: 01 Apr 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide star1 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide star1 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide star1 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide star1 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide
Essex, Earls Colne
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Chappel and Chalkney Wood
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide boot Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide
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This 5 mile circular walk starts in the quaint hamlet of Chappel, six miles west north west of Colchester in Essex. It takes in a combination of arable land, river valley grazing meadows, and the largest wood in the area. Highlights are extensive views across the Colne Valley, lovely mixed woodland, two large old river mills, extensive riverside meadows and marshland, and a most impressive railway viaduct.

The route is easy going, with just one steady climb up a slope. Parts of the route are almost always wet and muddy, but there is only one stile. Grazing livestock, mainly sheep, will be encountered in both the early and latter parts of the walk, where dogs will need to be kept under close control. The walk includes 400 metres along a quiet tarmac lane. Allow around 2.5 hours.

The walk starts in a free public car park, just past the Chappel village school. If you are coming by car, the approximate post code is CO6 2DD. If you are coming by train, Chappel rail station is 700 metres from the start of the walk. It is served by trains running between Marks Tey and Sudbury. At Marks Tey, these connect with trains on the main line between London Liverpool Street and Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich, Harwich and Clacton. From the rail station, walk down the hill, cross the main A1124, cross over the river and walk past the pub and village school on your left. The start of the walk is immediately after the school. By bus, First bus routes 88 and 88A run from Colchester to Halstead. These buses stop at the village shop, 200 metres from the start of the walk, on the A1124.

Walk Sections

Start to Bacons Farm
Start to Bacons Farm

Start point: 51.9212 lat, 0.7538 long
End point: 51.9106 lat, 0.7584 long

From the car park walk towards, and then under, the railway viaduct. This carries the line from Marks Tey to Sudbury over the river – there is a railway museum at the north end of it. Immediately after passing under the viaduct, take the path that runs right, before the Millennium Green. Follow this path alongside the railway, and then as it turns left to run across an arable field.

At the end of field turn left down the tarmac lane. After having passed the house at the end, follow the path as it turns right to run alongside a wooden fence and then crosses another arable field. At the end of this field, pass through the metal gate into the first of three grass fields, normally containing sheep. Follow the path through these fields, passing through two more metal gates. Immediately after the second of these gates turn right, as shown by a yellow footpath arrow, walking up the slope keeping the hedge on your right. At the top of the slope pass through the metal gate and turn right to walk through the farm. Follow the track as it turns left to go past the farmhouse, and then continue straight on up the track in front of you.

Bacons Farm to Pattocks Farm
Bacons Farm to Pattocks Farm

Start point: 51.9106 lat, 0.7584 long
End point: 51.9081 lat, 0.746 long

Walk up this track away from the farm, and pass over the railway bridge. Where the track swings sharp right, take the footpath that goes straight on. You jink left, past the entrance to Applecroft, to access the path, so that you have the hedge to your right. Follow this path as it runs straight on, along the edge of two fields. You then come to a path junction where one goes off right, while the path you want continues straight - but this stretch now runs between two rows of bushes, instead of in the field. Go through the hedge on your right and down three steps. It is shown by a yellow arrow, and is less complicated than I’ve probably made it sound!

At the end of the line of bushes turn right, even though there is no sign, and walk down the track with a hedge on your left. As you approach the agricultural buildings, you will see some paddocks fenced in with six foot high wire. These hold free range turkeys in the autumn. If you stop, they will come over for a chat. They have a lot to say, but most of it seems to be themed around 'Do you happen to have any food on you?'

At the end of the track, cross the road and continue on down Oak Road.

Pattocks Farm to Chalkney Mill
Pattocks Farm to Chalkney Mill

Start point: 51.9081 lat, 0.746 long
End point: 51.9221 lat, 0.726 long

Follow Oak Road to the point where it swings right. Here you take the track that runs straight on. Follow the yellow footpath arrow where the track jinks to continue straight on down the right-hand side of a hedge. Pass through a row of Alder trees (these were planted to provide a wind break for the fruit trees that were once grown here) and follow the path as it swings to the left, following a ditch on your left. After 20 metres or so you need to turn right, but this is the one place where there is no yellow arrow to help. At present this turn is at the boundary between the fruit bushes and the arable land. The route runs straight across the field to a large conifer hedge, located just to the right of a very obvious cream-coloured house.

When you reach the far side of the field (by the conifers), turn left, ignoring the inviting looking wooden footbridge in front of you. Walk towards two large agricultural buildings until you see a path going across the grass on your right, towards a wooden 5 bar gate. Take this path and go through the gate.

You will see a concrete footpath sign on the opposite side of the road, just to your left, but this is pointing into some unwelcoming looking bramble scrub and debris. If you walk just to the left of the sign you will see a grassy area where your next path leaves the road, heading down a field boundary towards the edge of Chalkney wood on the far side of the field.

(The next paragraph describes the route through the wood. I have used a route that is fairly direct and straightforward to follow, as well as going through some of my favourite parts. But this is a delightful and rewarding wood in which to ‘get lost’, following whichever paths look interesting if you prefer. There is much to enjoy – and you will eventually find your way out. Probably. Your ultimate goal is to get to Chalkney Mill.)

Enter the wood passing by the stile and take the path that runs straight on, ignoring those running to the left and right. Pass by a wooden bench, continuing to follow the yellow footpath arrows. A few yards past the bench you come to a fork in the path. The yellow arrow points right and you would be wise to obey. At a path crossroads, where there is a second bench, go straight on. You will eventually reach the far edge of the wood, where you will see a metal five bar gate ahead of you. At the gate turn sharp right to access a small car park with a sandy-coloured surface. From this car park take the path that leaves to the LEFT of a red, dog waste bin. (Do NOT take the larger track that the red bin is in front of). Follow this path until it ends in a T-junction with a wider one. Turn left on to this track and then follow it down the slope to the mill. You won’t realise this is the mill, because you first see some dog kennels (and you will probably hear these before you see them.)

Chalkney Mill to End
Chalkney Mill to End

Start point: 51.9221 lat, 0.726 long
End point: 51.9213 lat, 0.7539 long

Walk past the kennels and immediately turn right into a slightly scruffy looking yard, that normally has some assorted vehicles parked in it. (A slight detour to look at the mill building itself is well worthwhile.) The yard tapers into an obvious path, which you follow along the right-hand side of the old mill race stream. Continue to follow the path straight on, as the mill race bends away to the left, to reach a metal kissing gate. The gate leads to a narrow path that runs alongside a long and high solid timber fence. The fence turns into a brick wall, and then the path comes out on to a block-paved roadway. Follow this roadway to the right, away from the large ‘house in the woods’. After a few yards you will see a metal gate leading into a grass field on the left-hand side of the road.

Go through the gate and then head at about 1 o’clock across the field, towards a metal five bar gate. (It is easy to drift too far to the left in this field). Once through the gate you will see the metal handrails of a footbridge in front of you. You may wonder why someone has plonked a footbridge down in the middle of a grass field, but when you reach it you will see why. Go either over, or round, the bridge (depending on ground conditions), and continue towards a metal five bar gate at the corner of a hedge running down from the right. When you reach the gate, continue forwards, keeping the hedge on your right. You are heading for a wooden footbridge in the corner of the field, to the right of the open water you can see ahead. But your route may meander as you seek to avoid getting wet feet. The area in front of the bridge used to be a particular ‘challenge’, but someone who is both kind and muscular has put down a row of sleepers to walk across.

From the bridge the path runs straight ahead, through a series of grass fields and paddocks, and always shown by the yellow arrows. When in the last field before the village, you may wish to wander over to the left to have a good look at the impressive mill and its mill pond. This is a good place to see Kingfishers and Grey wagtails. The route finishes past the chapel and its lovely companion buildings. Cross over the road to reach the start car park.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by iFootpath and the author SteveHallam and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 comments for "Chappel and Chalkney Wood"

realy nice walk...the swan is a great pub at the end.

By davedeb on 29 Aug 2018

Pleasant walk, though it goes through a couple of farm yards. When you're at the start there's a park. The right turn is before the park, that led us astray for a little while!

By Maddymilo on 26 Nov 2017

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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8 gallery images for "Chappel and Chalkney Wood"

7696_0junipergulf1503752628 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide Image by: junipergulf
Uploaded: 26 Aug 2017

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7696_4junipergulf1503752629 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide Image by: junipergulf
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7696_1junipergulf1503753079 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide Image by: junipergulf
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7696_2junipergulf1503753080 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide Image by: junipergulf
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7696_3junipergulf1503753080 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide Image by: junipergulf
Uploaded: 26 Aug 2017

7696_4junipergulf1503753081 Chappel and Chalkney Wood Walking Guide Image by: junipergulf
Uploaded: 26 Aug 2017

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