What You Can Get Away With » Walking

Walking north

No meetings today, and the weather was reasonably good so I went for my first long walk in a few months – probably the first proper walk I’ve done since the Roman Circus one back in February, actually.

Mostly places I’ve been before, starting with the back route to West Bergholt (detailed here) and then following the Essex Way up as far as Boxted, then heading off towards the Stour on the way out of the village, rather than carrying on the Way towards Langham and Dedham. From there, it was a just a short walk up to Stoke-by-Nayland to complete 13 miles with a rather nice sandwich and pint at the Angel. Here, have some pictures:
Oilseed field between West Bergholt and HorkesleyView from the bridge, crossing the River Stour near BoxtedWisteria-covered barn between Boxted and Stoke-by-Nayland
I’m going to try and blog a few more walks this summer – just like I promised to do last year, of course – and am thinking about doing the full Epping-to-Harwich Essex Way this summer. It’s been a while since I’ve done a long stage walk like that, and while it’s not the full 1,000+ miles of John O’Groats to Land’s End, it should make an interesting challenge.

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Donating

Just to let you know that you can now directly donate to Colchester Archaeological Trust through Justgiving as well as through Charity Choice.

In other news, Sunday’s weather forecast is still looking dry. Fingers and crossed and wood is being touched in the hope it stays that way.

The route

After some playing with Google Maps, I think I’ve managed to plot a rough outline of the route we’ll be taking on Sunday:

View Roman Circus walk in a larger map
If there’s nothing showing above, then click here to see it on Google.

It’s slightly approximated at points because it’s hard to follow footpaths on Google Maps, so the southern section (along the Roman River and through Friday Woods) shows up as basically a straight line when it’s anything but, but a look at Ordnance Survey maps on Streetmap will show you how many routes there are through there.

So, if you live near Colchester (or were watching The One Show last week) you’ll have heard about the appeal to raise funds to save Colchester’s Roman Circus.

Well, as part of the appeal, I’m putting my walking boots back on and hitting the road this Sunday to help raise cash. Along with Jo Hayes and my fellow councillor Theresa Higgins, I’ll be walking a twelve mile circuit that starts and finishes at the circus and also takes in some of the other Roman remains in Colchester, including the walls, the Balkerne Gate and Gosbecks Archaeological Park.

So, if you want to contribute then please visit the Roman Circus website and pledge cash there, or contact me for other details of how you can make a donation.

Or, if you feel like joining us for part of the walk then please come along. We’ll be starting from the Circus at around 10am, and I’ll be updating throughout the day on Twitter, and possibly finding some way over the next few days to use the GPS functions on my new phone to report our location.

We’re also arranging a separate shorter walk around the Roman sites in the town centre, which will be led by Bob Russell MP and will cover about three miles around the walls and other sites. Bob’s happy for anyone to join him – they’ll be starting at the same time, and we’ll be covering the same route for a while – as long as they make a donation of £5 or more to the Circus appeal.

So it’s fingers crossed for good weather on Sunday…

a>We’re heading west this week, and I’ve attempted to give a theme to the walk, of what humans have done to the landscapes of Colchester over the year. People have been living here for thousands of years, and every passing wave of them has left their mark on the area in one way or another. Stone, however, isn’t very common around here, so large walls weren’t always an option, and so lots of earth was moved to provide defences and define boundaries – and some of those boundaries remain today.

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For this weeks walk, I decided to find a route that linked two open spaces that are quite close to me in a non-obvious way. You could walk between these two spots in about ten minutes or so, but I thought it would be more interesting to find a big loop.

Officially, this isn’t a circular walk, as it starts and finishes in two different places, but it wouldn’t be too hard to make it into a circuit to and from North Station. As it is, however, it starts from Cymbeline Meadows, just off the Avenue of Remembrance, loops round through West Bergholt and Great Horkesley, then finishes off with a stroll through High Woods.

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When I was out on a walk the other day (more details on Sunday), I noticed this sign:

At first glance, I thought it was just another variant on the same sort of sign you see a lot of when you’re walking – and it is, but note who it’s from. Yes, the Homes and Communities Agency, which is an agency supposedly owned by the public, and out to serve the public, declaring that a large patch of open space is private land. Not restricted, private – normally used to state that the owner doesn’t want plebs tramping over it.

But what if we plebs are the owner?

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I guess it’s time to start my new series of posts. From now on, every Sunday I’ll be posting details of a walk – usually around the Colchester area – with some photos and links included for you to find out more. This serves a double purpose – getting me out for some more exercise and hopefully also encouraging people to get out walking around here more. While we may not have the stunning mountain scenery of some parts of the country – what’s termed a hill round here is normally referred to as a speed bump in the rest of the country – there are interesting places to go, and one of the benefits of being without steep slopes is that it’s a lot easier to walk longer distances.

We’ll start with a very easy stroll down the river to Wivenhoe:

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Off for a walk

Having been thwarted in my desire to walk last week thanks to the terrible weather, I didn’t miss the chance to get out today. It’s quite strange to be out walking again round here after a week in the North, especially when your body’s just adapting to a slope, getting ready for a climb and then it tops out at 50m above sea level.

While I was out, I was wondering if I should start detailing some of my walking routes here, perhaps as a first step on the route to becoming the Colcestrian Wainwright (further steps include developing legible writing and beyond-stick-figure artistic skills and then culminate in becoming an old reactionary). I think there are lots of interesting walks to be found round here. While routes round here aren’t technologically challenging (taking a wrong turn may lead you into a few more nettles rather than having to negotiate your way up or down a scree slope, for instance) there are various paths and ways that aren’t too well-known, and the idea of doing my bit to promote Colchester as a walking destination appeals to me.

So, I think I’ll start posting up a weekly walk, along with a few directions and pictures to guide anyone wanting to follow it. If nothing else, it motivates me to get out and get some exercise.

To whet your appetite, you might want to look at some of my pictures from previous walks out to Manningtree, Bures, Stoke-by-Nayland, Tiptree and Mersea, or a walk from Sudbury down to Great Horkesley.

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Off to the Lake District for a week, so no fresh blogging until I get back next week. I have scheduled a few posts to appear during the week, just to keep my new posting schedule up, but if you want to know what I’m doing for the next few days you’ll have to follow me on Twitter, where hopefully I won’t be posting ‘raining again’ too much.

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