Finchingfield: Down by the waterside
Lotte Sherman explores the countryside around Finchingfield
After leaving your means of transport (local buses serve this village) locate the village sign by the road running uphill towards the church and take the footpath leading off on the right side.
Walk along a high wall for a mere 100m and turn off onto the path on your right to the footbridge ahead.
Cross over to the other side of Finchingfield Brook and walk to the left along its bank for the next 1.5km. This wide brook twists and turns around several sharp bends and takes in more water from small side streams. You encounter a couple of narrow plank-bridges and come to a farm track; cross the track and continue in the same direction to the next footbridge and stile.
Shortly after you need to cross a narrow concrete bridge on your right, which brings you to the other side of the stream and the watermill ahead. Take a look at the large waterwheel still in place, albeit now in disrepair.
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After you cross the millrace over the wide bridge, proceed through the yard of the property and continue the journey along the track to your right. The track runs almost parallel to the river, before veering away in a southerly direction over a meadow towards a path-junction. Take the right fork, which shortly exits on the road by Gt Bardfield Village Green.
Walk uphill past some shops as far as the war memorial and the Vine public house. The public right of way goes through the pub car park; have a look at the sign on the shed wall to the right giving details of a circular pub-walk from the Vine.
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Walk out of the far end of the property following the yellow markers by a metal gate; the path runs diagonally left across a meadow, through a hedge and over yet another footbridge. Turn right to get back to the riverside path. By the next footbridge the path gets back to the opposite side of the Pant.
You need to carry on in the same direction, passing the weir and the next bridge to the stile ahead. Climb over and follow the way-mark pointing away from the river towards Beslyns Road. Turn left on the road to the junction with Cook’s Lane near Beslyns Cottage; proceed on this long track to the right, ignoring the paths leading off, as far as the private drive to Pitley Farm ahead.
A fingerpost on the right guides walkers and riders down Toms Lane, which is approximately one kilometre long and emerges on Finchingfield Road. Walk to the left on the road and turn off on the first footpath leading off from the other side by Spinny Lodge. Continue in a northerly direction towards Spaine’s Hall; the public path then veers right past ‘Darielay Farm’ and joins a minor road. Here you walk downhill for about 500m, before taking the footpath on the right back into Finchingfield.