Debden: Take a woodland wander

St Mary's Church, Debden

St Mary's Church, Debden - Credit: Peter Lawson/Eastnews Press Agen

Lotte Sherman enjoys a ramble through woods with views of Broadoaks Manor

Route of the woodland wander walk

Route of the woodland wander walk - Credit: Archant

Exit the car park walking to your left past the pond and into High Street and shortly turn into Deynes Road. This is marked on the map as part of the ‘Harcamlow Way’, but apart from yellow way-markers indicating public right of way, there are no signs to mark this long distance route. Ignore paths going off from either the left or right side and head straight for ‘Rowney Wood’.

A wide path runs for approximately 1km to the north-eastern border and further ahead to ‘Rowney Corner’. The path exits on the B184 by the junction with Pebbles Lane. Look out for the first footpath between rows of tall trees leading off from the right, go along to the T-junction of paths, veer left and almost immediately right into the path bringing you back into Pebbles Lane. (cross a couple of footbridges)

By ‘Conyards’ the lane changes into a byway, ignore this, but continue on a footpath towards Broadoaks Manor. This is a perfect place to rest awhile and take in this lovely view of the building, the moat and the graceful oak bridge spanning it to a gate within the garden wall.

To proceed, walk along the moat to the top corner of the property, turn right past the front of the manor and aim for the last huge farm building. Walk right in front of this to the field beyond, which hides a small pond, enclosed by scrubs. Skirt to the left around the pond and follow the cross field path leading to an ivy-clad tree in the far hedge.

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At the time of walking there were no way markers to guide walkers along this stretch of the public right of way; it is prudent to consult your map. Once through the gap in the hedge, veer to the right downhill to the ‘River Chelmer’. Do not be surprised if you miss it, as the river is but an insignificant, albeit deep, ditch and the water is channelled through a concrete pipe below ground level. However, from this point on the water-course carries the name ‘River Chelmer’ until it changes its name and flows as the Blackwater into the sea.

Proceed from the river slightly uphill, ending on a farm track, another stretch of the Harcamlow Way. Turn right here and continue walking past Fellows Farm, shortly along the border of the narrow Becks Wood and keep going, ignoring any turn-offs, right back to the outer boundary of Rowney Wood. You need to go left and stay close on the wide grassy field edges back to the point where you entered the wood in the early part of this journey. Now retrace your steps back into the village and the start.

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