Great Tey: A village of surprises

Great Tey village sign

Great Tey village sign - Credit: Archant

Lotte Sherman follows a route around Great Tey

Route of the village of surprises walk

Route of the village of surprises walk - Credit: Archant

This journey takes in some interesting lanes and properties, such as Cucumber Hall, a Grade II listed 16th Century building, the Witch Lane and Florie’s Lane. You will also pass near the source of the quiet waterway, the Roman River, which sends its waters into the Colne River near the Colne estuary. The first stretch of this week’s ramble follows the Essex Way (EW) in its direction from east to west.

If you have come by car and parked by the extensive playing fields, make your way towards the main road and St Barnabas Church. Aim for the pub just off the main road and locate the fingerpost with the ‘Poppy’ disc. From here the path is also marked as a bridleway with the EW running in a southerly direction all the way to Houchin’s Farm. Ignore ALL turnings off to either the left or to the right and just keep an eye out for the discs with the poppies.

The way first runs across a field, next alongside a wood, crosses a couple of footbridges and encounters some newly-installed metal gates before arriving at the road by East Gores. Turn to your right and almost immediately left, still following the poppies, to a large reservoir-cum-fishing lake. It is here that you leave the EW. Turn right at the far corner of this water and now proceed on your journey in a northerly direction towards Maltbeggar’s Farm and the junction with Tey Road.

Walk straight ahead to reach Palmer’s Farm, where you need to turn right into ‘Witch Lane’. This is a very peaceful, wide path along a field edge. At the time of walking it was a carpet of colourful wildflowers and lush grasses; a herd of deer could be seen grazing in the meadow on the other side of the hedge. Somewhere in this farming area the Roman River makes an appearance.

Approximately one mile on, Witch Lane becomes Florie’s Lane. At the junction a farm track runs ahead, but you need to go over the footbridge to your right and walk along in Florie’s Lane for about half a km to another path junction. Leave the bridleway and continue north towards Cucumber Hall, now a large equestrian centre.

When arriving at the corner of the first of numerous paddocks, follow the footpath running to the right of the fence. Shortly you emerge on a minor road, formerly known as Burnthouse Road, cross over to the field edge path. Follow this to a footbridge, which takes walkers to the opposite side of the hedge, but continuing in the same direction.

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You will cross another footbridge to walk slightly uphill and by the third one turn left going in a northerly direction to exit onto Earls Colne Road. Proceed along the road to the right ignoring the first two turnings off from your right; locate the third one, which runs south across meadows and past an adventure playground. You will see the car park and housing estate ahead. Depending on the time of day, refreshments can be had at The Checkers or Poplar Nurseries on the A120.