TV star promotes county's tourism

By Charlotte CoadTELEVISION presenter John Craven has visited Essex to launch a new tour of National Trust properties in the county.The route takes in some of the county's major visitor attractions and some of its most picturesque spots.

By Charlotte Coad

TELEVISION presenter John Craven has visited Essex to launch a new tour of National Trust properties in the county.

The route takes in some of the county's major visitor attractions and some of its most picturesque spots.

It begins at Sutton House in east London and leads visitors through Essex and across the border to the Anglo-Saxon burial site at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge.


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Mr Craven, who presents the BBC series Country File, said the initiative would help boost Essex's reputation as a heritage county, which had been overlooked for too long.

The tour includes:

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n the 100-acre Hatfield Forest, one of the few surviving examples of royal medieval hunting forests

n Cressing Temple Barns, near Witham, with its barns dating back to the 13th Century

n the 15th Century Paycocke's House in the historic town of Coggeshall, containing rich panelling and wood carvings.

n the 13th Century Grange Barn, also in Coggeshall, one of the county's seven listed buildings and one of the oldest timber-framed buildings of its type in the UK.

Mr Craven, a past presenter of children's BBC Newsround, joined representatives from Essex County Council's tourism team and the National Trust at Grange Barn yesterday to promote the tour.

He said: “This is an amazing place to launch this initiative. It is the best 13th Century building I have ever seen and yet it only gets 4,000 visitors a year.

“Sadly, there are lots of places like this in Essex. This new itinerary will go beyond the brown signposts that you see in the street and make visitors aware of these places and help them to find them.”

Mr Craven also pointed out more than 75% of Essex is rural and added: “Most people are unaware of this and do not realise the fantastic scenery that there is to see.

“These new superbly-presented guides make the reader want to get out and follow these routes. They will get people into the countryside to enjoy the gems that are on offer.”

Peter Battrick, the National Trust's communication and marketing manager for East Anglia, said: “The National Trust is pleased to be in partnership with the county's tourism industry to promote real Essex.

“We aim to introduce people, who do not know what is on offer in Essex, to the intrinsic beauty of its countryside and coastline and encourage them to enjoy it.”

Essex County Council deputy leader Peter Martin added: “This is an important event for tourism in Essex as it contributes to raising the profile of the countryside.”

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