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Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley

There are currently 3 comments and 7 photos online for this walk.

Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley
Author: Steve Hallam, Published: 06 Apr 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide star1 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide star1 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide star1 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide star1 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide
Essex, Dedham
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide boot Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide
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This 6 mile circular walk is situated just over 6 miles north west of Colchester in Essex. It combines lovely old villages, beautiful individual buildings, woods, river and stream-side walking, and views across the broad Stour Valley. Come and see what inspired Constable! This is an area with affluent residents, so throughout the walk there are some impressive spreads to admire.

None of the walk is particularly muddy, although the low lying sections get wet after heavy rain. There are only two stiles on the walk, one of which also has wire netting underneath – so dogs will need to jump over this or have a lift. You will also need to negotiate several kissing gates and footbridges. Some sections of the walk are close to the A12 dual carriageway, where the traffic noise is constant. However the attractions of the rest of the walk more than compensate for this, in my view. There are two climbs on the walk – one gentle and one quite steep. Livestock may be encountered alongside the Stour river, and in two fields elsewhere. One mile of the walk is along public roads, although most of these are usually quiet. You will need to cross one sandy gallops track where horses are exercised, so make sure you check this track is clear before you cross. You should allow around 3 hours for the walk.

The walk starts from the main public car park in Dedham, at CO7 6DH. Dedham is served by the First Essex bus route 102, between Colchester and Harwich, and the Panther bus route 80 / 81 between Colchester and Manningtree.

Walk Sections

Start to Black Horse
Start to Black Horse

Start point: 51.961 lat, 0.9936 long
End point: 51.9656 lat, 0.9721 long

Turn right out of the car park, to head along the road towards the large mill (which has been converted into apartments). Just past the mill, turn left where a concrete footpath sign points down a narrow path between wooden rail fencing. Follow this path as it passes by the mill, over the mill race, and past a restored lock to reach a metal kissing gate. Go through this gate and turn left to walk along the river bank. As you do so, listen out for the explosive song of the retiring Ceti’s warbler. Give yourself a gold star if you manage to see one!

Follow the river bank all the way to the A12 dual carriageway, passing through several gates, but no stiles. Follow the path as it passes underneath the A12 to reach the old London to Ipswich road, where there is an informal car park. Cross the road and turn right (but you may wish to admire the attractive building on the river bank just to the left). Walk down the pavement into Stratford St Mary village, noting the black and white timbered house you pass on the way.

Black Horse to Langham Church
Black Horse to Langham Church

Start point: 51.9656 lat, 0.9721 long
End point: 51.9644 lat, 0.9594 long

Continue on past the Black Horse pub to reach a prominent red lifebelt post on the left of the road. Here a narrow path (guarded by metal railings) leads over the river to a stile, and then into a grass field. Take the path that leads straight across the field, ignoring the one that leads off to the right. Head for a metal farm gate on the far side of the field and negotiate the stile next to it. Turn left, as indicated by the yellow footpath arrow, to walk down a track. Where the hedge on your right ends, you come to a wooden fence in front of you, turn right. A yellow arrow shows the way. At this point CHECK CAREFULLY FOR HORSES BEING EXERCISED before crossing the sandy track.

Follow the path along the left side of the hedge in front of you. After 160 metres, follow the track that climbs the hill diagonally to the left, ignoring the path that carries straight on. Plod up the track, which turns from grass to sandy soil and enters a wooded area. It goes to the right of a house to reach the front of Langham Church.

Langham Church to A12 Foot Tunnel
Langham Church to A12 Foot Tunnel

Start point: 51.9644 lat, 0.9594 long
End point: 51.9552 lat, 0.9664 long

Follow the church access road for a few yards to a junction by a pair a large cream gate posts (through which posh looking grounds can be glimpsed). Turn sharp left, as indicated by a yellow footpath arrow, to follow a straight tarmac road running between two rows of trees. This is a private road, so is usually very quiet. Follow it all the way to an impressive set of black wrought iron gates that lead to a public road. If the main gates are shut, the side gates can be just pushed open.

Turn left to follow the pavement down the hill. Follow the road round a right hand bend, and then cross the road at the triangular junction to take the one signposted to Dedham. Follow the Dedham road over the A12 and down a slope to the entrance to Milsoms, on the left. Just past this, is a footpath sign pointing right. Take this path into a grass field, which normally contains sheep. Climb the hill, keeping the field boundary to your left. There is a metal kissing gate at either end of the field. The path narrows past a garden before ending at a quiet tarmac lane. Turn right and follow the lane until you see SLOW painted on the road – facing away from you. Just past SLOW, a footpath sign points to a manicured house drive on the left side of the lane. This is your route.

Walk down the drive towards a set of white gates barring your way. As you reach them (and are just starting to fear the worst, as they appear to block the way), you will see a narrow path going off to the right. This runs between a long garden hedge and a stock fence. Follow this path, crossing a small open area before continuing straight on to run alongside a second garden hedge, which is on your left. The path swings down a slope to your left, past a laurel hedge and timber beam fence, to reach a little lane by an underpass under the A12.

A12 Foot Tunnel to Farm at Road Bend
A12 Foot Tunnel to Farm at Road Bend

Start point: 51.9552 lat, 0.9664 long
End point: 51.9511 lat, 0.9832 long

Do not pass under the A12. Instead, turn left onto this lane, and follow it out of the hamlet and away from the noisy road. This must have been a lovely spot once. After about 200 metres you will see a footpath sign pointing to the left. Take this path and follow it by the brook. It becomes a track and passes by two small landscaped lakes. I saw a Kingfisher here. After the lakes, the path crosses a muddy track and switches to follow the right bank of the brook, so that the water is on your left.

Continue to follow the right bank of the brook, at one point ignoring a concrete bridge which seems to be inviting you to cross it into the grass field beyond. This is not the way. Eventually the path passes through a metal gate into a grass field, and then through a second one to enter a grassy garden. Ignore the wooden footbridge that crosses the brook – keep on down the drive of the house to the road. At the road turn left and walk up the pavement towards the farm on the other side of the road.

Farm at Road Bend to End
Farm at Road Bend to End

Start point: 51.9511 lat, 0.9832 long
End point: 51.961 lat, 0.9936 long

Where the road swings to the left, cross it to the farm. There are two slightly awkward metal bars to negotiate. Then turn left to follow the footpath in front of the farm building. You will have the building on your right and a garden hedge on your left. The path opens out to run along the left-hand side of a field, with a hedge and trees to your left. Keep straight on, ignoring a path that crosses at right angles to reach a wooden footbridge with metal rails and a metal kissing gate on the other side. From here the way is straight on, up a grass slope, passing through two gates before becoming fenced in on both sides.

A metal kissing gate leads to Dedham playing fields. Here you can go either right or left – both will work. I chose the ‘left’ option, to walk along the edge of the playing field. At the end of the grass, turn right down an unmade track, which has a yellow footpath arrow pointing down it. At the end of the track continue straight on into a small alley. Note the restored half-timbered house on the right. At the end of the alley turn right into Dedham High Street. This is full of attractive and impressive buildings, particularly the church.

Follow the road past the church and on to where it turns sharp right. Cross the road and go down a lane to the left with a sign for ‘Dedham Hall hotel and Art workshops’ showing prominently. After 20 yards go through the wooden kissing gate on the left and follow the fenced in path past the pond. At the end of the pond, walk down the left side of the grassy open area. At the end of the grassy area, follow the path as it jinks left and then goes straight on. When you reach the wooden bridge over the stream on your left, cross this to access the start car park.

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network Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide Original GPX source file

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


3 Comments for: "Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley"

Great walk. Lovely views, lots of animals and nice properties to see. Very good instructions. Make sure you stop off at Langham Church and meet Gerry the church cat.

By RichardN on 24 Feb 2018

What a beautiful varied and easy walking walk - definitely do this again.

By jillblane on 19 Dec 2017

Completed this walk today and thoroughly enjoyed it. Directions were spot on. lovely scenery and will definitely do this again. Took us about 3 hours

By Polly52 on 16 Apr 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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Instagram Photos for: "Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley"

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7 Gallery Images for: "Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley"

7709_0SteveHallam1490997085 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide Image by: Steve Hallam
Uploaded: 31 Mar 2017
Attractive buildings in Dedham
7709_1SteveHallam1490997086 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide Image by: Steve Hallam
Uploaded: 31 Mar 2017
Langham church - which is a long way from anywhere else in Langham
7709_2SteveHallam1490997088 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide Image by: Steve Hallam
Uploaded: 31 Mar 2017
Landscaped ponds - not so long ago these were a swampy, scrubby area - ideal for wildlife. Progress?
7709_3SteveHallam1490997089 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide Image by: Steve Hallam
Uploaded: 31 Mar 2017
Dedham Mill apartments - lovely, if you don't mind tourists
7709_4SteveHallam1490997090 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide Image by: Steve Hallam
Uploaded: 31 Mar 2017
Dedham mill pond - understandably popular
7709_0sophiewalks1535872469 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide Image by: sophiewalks
Uploaded: 02 Sep 2018
Look out for this beauty as you walk up from Milsoms
7709_0sophiewalks1538330640 Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley Walking Guide Image by: sophiewalks
Uploaded: 30 Sep 2018
Huge oak tree in the field opposite Milsoms

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