Walking through a waterworld
- Credit: Archant
Lotte Sherman takes a ramble on a route awash with waterways
Just inland from the Essex coast the land abounds with waterways, lakes and reservoirs. It can be so wet, even the ducks take to rooftops (3). This week’s ramble winds past several ‘Greens’, along fishponds and two largeish lakes – Sweet Lavender and Lodge Lake next to the remains of Leez Priory.
During excessive rainy periods walkers may be unable to cross the footbridge over the River Ter (4) and hence will have to retrace their steps towards the end of the journey walking back to the entrance to Leez Priory Farm and the road back to Littley Green. Part of the journey takes in stretches of the 113.2km Saffron Trail, which runs from Southend to Saffron Walden. The trail takes its name from the substance extracted from crocuses.
To commence your journey park by the roadside opposite The Compass Inn (1) in Littley Green and walk towards the road junction ahead. Follow the fork signed Hartford End and in 500 metres veer off into a bridle way on the right, a one km stretch of the Saffron Trail exiting near the entrance to Lees Hall. Bear left and locate the next signpost at the bend in the road. Seek out the waymark indicating the continuation of the Saffron Trail, now part of the ‘Quiet Lane Network’ (2).
You will cross a wide bridge, swing left through a low meadow, pass over a stile and left again cross the concrete bridge and continue with the reservoir on your left. By the next path junction, follow the yellow arrow pointing right towards more waymarks. Choose the path running diagonally right across the field and exiting via a plank bridge on the road between Cobler’s Green and Cock Green. Turn right passing the Hamlet of Cock to the second track leading off in a southerly direction.
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In less than half a km the path joins an east-west footpath, proceed to the left along more fishponds to emerge on the road by Thirstley Greens, which straddle the waters. Turn to the right and shortly right again, aiming for Leighs Lodge Farm. Aim for the large metal gate and the avenue linking up with tracks by Lodge Lake.
From here be guided by the way markers along the public right of way over the River Ter and almost immediately away from the lake on a footpath running south and emerging on a minor road. (Ignore the path leading off to the left). On the road walk to the left to the junction by Mattock’s Farm; proceed right into Littley Green, which is reached in under one km. The Compasses Inn invites walkers to partake of refreshments.
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