Roaming through Rivenhall’s Roman history
A walk through Rivenhall and Rivenhall End. Walked by: Lotte Sherman.
How to get there: Best from the A120 from Braintree junction to Freeport; Turn off to Silver End and Rivenhall. In village, look for sign to free car park at Albert Moss Playing Field. Length: 6.5m/10km. Map: 183 grid ref. 829 175.
The small villages of Rivenhall and Rivenhall End are old Roman settlements, nestling between the four civil parishes of Silver End, Kelvedon, Great Braxted and Witham. Investigations between 1950 and 1977 concluded that this area was the locus of principal settlements going back centuries. (Council for British Archaeology 2000; York University) These two hamlets are now separated by a main rail line, as well as a trunk road, part of it still named on OS maps ‘Roman Road’. The foot rail crossing used in this circular journey may be closed in the future; please check before starting out.
Start your journey exiting the car park to main road, turn left, cross over to St Mary’s Crescent and follow the signed footpath to the right, leading out of the residential area. Walk next to a hedge to the end, followed by cross-field path turning right towards a four-way junction.
You continue in the same direction all along field edges, veering twice slightly right, a few metres left and arriving at John Ray Walk over a plank bridge. Here turn left between dense hedgerows to get to Rickstones Road. Cross safely into Rectory Road opposite, walk to first path on left, go through the hedge and follow this to next junction.
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Turn left towards the drive to Rivenhall Oaks Golf centre and, maintaining direction, get to second drive; slightly right on the opposite side, locate the hidden path through dense vegetation leading away from golf course and exiting across the drive to Hoo Hall. Walk here towards a weir and bridge, pass over to the footpath on the right along watercourse. After heavy rainfalls, this can be flooded; you see a grassy track nearer the hall, which also leads to a crossing over the water further along and, veering left from there, you end on Oaks Road.
Turn left, passing under the railway, and follow the footpath on left along the rail embankment to the rail-crossing; use this safely and take the path between fields, bearing right at the end. Cross the plank bridge, turn right along hedge; halfway, change to other side and continue at field edge to a green lane, emerging through a metal farm gate on Sniveller’s Lane.
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Proceed to the left for one km, ignoring first path on left but taking the second across fields, following way-markers pointing to Rivenhall Hall. The 1km path swings first left then right, over a brook to a metal farm gate ahead. Pass through and aim for the small wooden gate into the farm complex and across past the barns onto the drive out to Church Road.
Look left; make use of the safer grass verges; aim for the church, the school, and soon you will recognise the village hall and the entrance to the playing fields, from where you started your journey. (Route walked early 2018).