Among the bluebells of Chalkney Wood
- Credit: Archant
Take a walk through the spring flowers in Chalkney Wood. Walked by: Lotte Sherman
Map: 195, grid ref 894 283, post code: CO6 2DD. Length: 4.5m/7.4km. How to get there: Branch Line Colchester to Sudbury stop in Chappel, local buses passing through. Alternatively, take the A1124 between Colchester and Halstead; in Chappel turn off into Swan Street crossing the Colne River and pass the school to the signed free car park. Refreshments: The Swan by the river near the A1124 in Chappel
Spring – what a special time of the year, a time of reawakening, a longing to get out and about more. This is the time to seek out those bluebell woods.
Chalkney Wood, two thirds managed by the Forestry Commission and the remainder being a nature reserve owned by Essex County Council, is a good place to start. You can get there by train from Chappel station or by local buses, thus have a car-free outing.
Begin your journey by exiting the small car park walking towards the viaduct; pass under this immense brick structure, turn right and make your way alongside the high railway embankment.
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A plank bridge on the left leads into a field, cross this to a lane, keep right passing under the rail bridge to exit on a road. Turn left and shortly take the footpath on the right. It runs downhill to a hedge, gate and footbridge and further along a field, aiming for the minor road.
Exit and go left uphill looking out for steps on the right side onto a high field. Follow the direction of the fingerpost, go past a spinney and make use of steps to go down into woodland.
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Follow path through trees to meet cross paths. Take the path to the left running uphill and emerge on an open meadow. Continue ahead on the wide grassy track to a set of beehives; from there turn right, then left to the right of the hedge. Locate the path leading off to the right between a field and the soft fruit cultivation.
At the end cross a footbridge onto Swanscomb Road, where you need to walk left and shortly right taking the foot path leading towards an entrance into Chalkney Wood. Seek out a narrow path nearest to the edge of the wood to enjoy the best spread of bluebells.
Proceed to the T-junction, veer right on this main footpath which ends outside the wood and joins Swanscomb Road again. Almost opposite to the right a fingerpost points downhill, follow this, cross a footbridge, pass through a gate and then uphill to another set of gates – stop a while to appreciate the view!
Next pass a lake to your right and once again enter woodland and arrive at the cross paths, which you may recognise from the first part of your journey.
This time go downhill to the left, the path soon enters grazing meadows via a gate. Note the disk indicating the Colne Valley Path; walk to the right using the safe walkway.
Further along, pass through a number of gates, past another small lake, cross a footbridge, all the way aiming for the light church steeple in the village. Eventually you pass barns and arrive back opposite the car park. (Route walked mid-March).