Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Three Forests Way - Stapleford Tawney to Chigwell 22nd April 2015

I decided to go for a walk this morning, grabbed my OS map and walked to the bus stop to grab the 375 bus to Passingford Bridge. Whilst on the bus I worked out a route and saw I could walk a section of the Three Forests Way. Buses out in the country are a vast contrast to those in town. The driver knows everyone and takes time to have a chat.
I alighted at the end of the route and walked over to cross the River Roding to walk towards a footpath that will lead me onto the Three Forests Way.
I stopped over the river hoping to see some chub or dace, remembering the times I had fished here.

I walk on and walk under a bypass taking the M25 motorway overhead.Shortly afterward I take a footpath that runs alongside the M25,

I walk up a short stretch of road crossing to tak another footpath that runs alongside a small stream.


Then its beautiful footpaths through farmland in the glorious sunshine.


I leave the footpath for a little road walking up to Stapleford Tawney. Stapleford Tawney covers an area of 670 hectares and had a population of 103 in 2001, making it the least populated parish in the district.
The parish was more populous in the past than at present. The peak was in the Victorian period. 

I can now see Great Tawney Hall, a late 18th century building.


After passing Great Tawney Hall immediately afterwards is St Marys Church.


The present church dates back to the 13th century, but it replaced an earlier building, traces of which were found during excavations in 1998. Also older than the church are two 12 th century stone coffins dug up in 1862, now set each side of the entrance porch. One of them is said to be the earliest, finest and most complete example in Essex.

The church walls are made from ordinary stones from the surrounding fields and reused material – some Roman – from the previous church.The chancel (east end) was built first, in about 1220, followed by the nave and then the side chapel. The timber tower and porch were added in about 1500, and in 1862 the vestry was built and the whole church thoroughly restored. The Parish Room was added in 1999.
The timber tower with its massive oak posts was built within the older flint walls in about 1500 and houses two 17th century bells.



Behind the church I joined the Three Forests Way and head out through farmland and fields of Rapeseed.


Across the fields I can see the church of St Micheals in Theydon Mount where the path is heading to.

St Micheals


I pass this bird scarer quickly before it went off scaring the life out of me. I've seen some birds along the walk Sparrowhawks,Kestrel,Buzzards,Pheasants,Patridges,Goldfinches and many more.


I leave the path almost opposite the Church of St Michael in Theydon Mount.

There has been a church in Theydon Mount since the Middle Ages, but in 1612 the parish records tell us that there were no services for two years ‘because the Church was so long in being built after it was burned’.  The new church, completed in 1614, was dedicated to St Michael, unlike its predecessor which was dedicated to St Michael and St Stephen.


Hill Hall Mansion
From the churchyard, Hill Hall mansion can be seen standing at a distance.A recently restored Elizabethan mansion. Although owned by English Heritage, the building consists of many private apartments. It is a grade I listed building.
The house was originally built for Sir Thomas Smith during the reign of Elizabeth I to replace a 12th-century house on the same site. Construction was carried out over several intervals (1567-8, 1572-3) interspersed between Smith's stints as ambassador to France. The hall stands in 50 hectares (120 acres) of parkland designed by Humphrey Repton.



The door to the church was locked so I made my way back out to the road and walked along crossing the M25 once more.


One of many planes taking off from Stapleford Aerodrome
Shortly after crossing the M25 I take a footpath that takes me into Abridge Golf Club.



I leave the footpath out onto a road and to my left I can see Norton Trout Fishery, I remember visiting here with me mate Dave,but never have been back to fish it.

As well as Trout fishing there is carp fishing on Fridays, starting around 7 pm. to get set up until 8 am. - There's no rod limit.
Entrance fee for one night is £15 per person. There have been some really good carp caught averaging about 7 - 8lb each with the largest at 24lb.  There are still plenty out there and large numbers of double figure carp have been spotted cruising the margins.


I now take the footpath to the right of the fishery, once it was located with yet another signpost hidden amongst overgrown trees.This takes me over more fields heading towards Abridge.


View of Stapleford Aerodrome in the distance.

I now reach the River Roding again which I cross by a bridge back out onto Ongar Road.



A ford for the farmer to gain access to his fields.

I cross the road and visit the Abridge Garden Centre and stopped for Tea and a huge slice of cake in The Blue Rooms.
After a bit of a rest I take the path alongside the Garden centre with views over Abridge Aerodrome.

I am now passing Mayhem a paintball and lasertag centre with a tank outside advertising the centre.



I now take a path heading over to my right and across farmland towards some woods.

I enter Apes Grove ,known locally as 'Bluebell Wood' and is a wonderful semi natural ancient woodland.This woodland is mainly hornbeam coppice, with occasional oak and ash standards. It has a sparse ground flora due to the heavy shade created by a largely closed canopy. Despite this a spectacular carpet of bluebells still dominate in springtime along with dog’s mercury and the occasional primrose.



Nothing says Spring more than a wood full of bluebells!








I now follow a path and its here I went wrong, a lack of signs and I made a error and went the wrong way.This resulted in me walking across farmland and eventually through someones back garden!!







Walking through a back garden, lucky enough no angry residents came out!


After leaving by the front gate I was now back out on a road and found my way back out onto a major road and heading towards Lambourne End.

Bishops Hall,New Road,Lambourne.Estimated Current Value: £4,262,500

I eventually come out at Miller and Carter formerly The Camelot pub.Having missed a bit of the Three Forests Way but I wasnt worried , at least I get to have a beer. Although this pub only stocks mainly Itailian style lagers and Broadside which I really don't like , so reluctantly I settled for a Peroni.


I cross the road and head through Hainault Forest, that I have so many times before. I finally reach the bus stop and take the 247 bus home.

I arrive home after a 9 mile walk, very enjoyable and great weather too!