Great Yeldham: Two oaks and a river

The 'Old Oak' at Great Yeldham

The 'Old Oak' at Great Yeldham - Credit: Archant

Lotte Sherman follows an route with several points of interest

Route of the two oaks and a river walk

Route of the two oaks and a river walk - Credit: Archant

Great Yeldham is probably best known for its ‘Old Oak’, albeit now you can only see an encased trunk filled with concrete.

It is believed to have had roots in that spot since around 1469 and must have witnessed immeasurable changes!

People with foresight had a new oak planted nearby, which overshadows this ancient relic.

The village also makes its mark as being the ‘birthplace’ of the River Colne. You will cross it about half-way along the circular, anti-clockwise journey.

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Start the route from the A1017 opposite the oaks by following the direction of the fingerpost next to the police station. It starts as a narrow path and not far along, you cross the disused railway embankment.

Maintain the same direction for over 1km, ignoring all turn-offs to left or right until the path exits into the wide lane. This unmade road allows access to a couple of houses. You need to turn left, doubling back on yourself and proceed along this byway to where it exits onto the Great Yeldham Road by Scotneys.

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Cross the road with care and slightly to the left a fingerpost directs walkers along a public right of way past Hilltop House down to a series of fishing lakes. Carry on ahead away from the lake, make your way over the footbridge and across the swamp, aiming for the stile. Cross the stile, proceed slightly uphill and look for the way marker by the side of the hedge indicating the exit into a lane. Turn left here to walk this old path leading back over the dismantled rail track down to the A1017.

Cross it with care, turn right walking towards the entrance to Pool Farming Feed Centre; the wide drive is constructed over the infant River Colne. To reach the next footpaths, circumvent the complex to the right and locate the way marker on your left, pointing uphill on a farm track.

In less than half a kilometre you will see a marked cross-field path on the left, continue along this path following the yellow arrows on posts.

For a short distance the path follows the outer border of a small wood, before arriving at the back entrance to Speyne’s Hall property. Here the public right of way veers onto the track leading to Highlands Farm. Turn off to your left following the first footpath directly into the village.

Walkers emerge on a lay-by on Leather Lane, which is named after this long-gone industry. The lane runs parallel to a small stream, which merges its waters with two other streams to become one, namely the River Colne. There is a pavement on the opposite side of the road, cross over and make your way to the left to the road junction, the Green and the Oaks. Take a moment to read the plaque on the cobble wall protecting the ancient stump, before going for refreshments at the Waggon & Horses.

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