Description: A circular walk Around the Easters and Mashbury, near Chelmsford. The walking is generally easy. The walk starts and ends on the Essex Way, with some lesser used paths in between. I had to re-arrange the walk to the north of High Easter several times, as some of the footpaths in the area were pretty overgrown and badly defined.
As with the last walk, the numbers within brackets (and sometimes, [square brackets]) refer to waypoints on the map, and are also included in the GPS file which can be downloaded below. The GPS file here also includes a track recorded while doing the walk, but that may be a case of "too much information"! I may not include these in the future.
OS Ref: TL626121
Length: 13½ Miles approx.
Approximate time: 5-5½ hours.
Parking: Roadside parking in Good Easter.
Refreshments: Pubs at High Easter and Pleshey.
1 - Path definition can be unclear during crop growing east of Blakes (from TL662156 to TL658157).
2 - At Lofty Green, there is no foot-bridge to cross the ditch to the road (TL646163). A short excursion northwards is needed to join the road, unless you fancy a leap across the ditch!
3 - The field-edge path can be a bit treacherous during crop growing, just west of Maggotts, from TL646161 to TL645160. It's quite possible to persevere with this section however, if you don't mind a nettle sting or two (wearing shorts)!
4 - Navigation south of Pentlowend can be a nightmare during crop growing. The path is not made walkable between TL622162 and TL622148. I expended a lot of energy checking this out by walking across a field of bean growth which was chest-high! It might be best to follow the road to High Easter if this is a problem. As pointed out earlier, I found big problems plotting this part of the walk!
5 - The short area of scrub-land from Round Roblets to the final Essex Way path (TL631134 to TL628133) can sometimes be a problem due to undergrowth. It may be better to follow the road for this section if you find it bad.
Start at Good Easter church on the Essex Way. Enter the churchyard from the road, then walk past the west end of the church to the south edge of the churchyard. Turn left to walk to its south-eastern corner. Cross a plank bridge then go across a field, aiming for a white-tipped way-marker in the distance. At the way-marker bear right to follow the left edge of the field to its corner. Turn left (2) at the corner, cross a plank bridge then follow the right edge of the next field. Follow the boundary round to the left before turning right. Follow the path to a road.
Turn right onto the road, then after about 70 metres turn left at a footpath signpost and cross a stile to follow the left edge of two fields. After entering the second field, there's another white-tipped post to head towards. You can actually see two posts from here, but make for the left one. Pass the post then head for another one at the tapered end of the field. Go through a wooded area with reservoirs to the right. After passing a weir on the right, head into an open area, then turn left at a footpath signpost to walk to the right of a tower then turn right.
Keep ahead at a signpost in an easterly direction. On coming to a field, walk diagonally across is towards another white-tipped post. Go through a gap then follow an earth track. The edge of this field is actually defined by a brook, with the track slightly to the left. At the far corner turn left at a way-marker (3) to walk in the direction of Mashbury. After a while the path becomes enclosed, with the bank of a reservoir to the right. Keep ahead at the end to the right of some farm buildings, turning right on approaching some stables to walk in front of the church at Mashbury.
Just to the east of the church, follow a signpost to take a path which roughly goes in an easterly direction. Go through an enclosed section at first, later coming out into the open to be on the left edge of a field. Enjoy the view to the south for a short distance, before turning right onto a road (Chignall Road) in the same direction. Where the road bends right, keep ahead on a bridleway. Walk to the right edge of a meadow, then bear slightly right to walk along the right edge of a field, at a gap. At the far corner of the field, turn left at a way-marker to follow a bridleway (4). It can be muddy on this bridleway after rain, so you might have to tip-toe to the sides at times!
After passing a pond, the bridleway carries on across a field. Aim for an easily viewable white-tipped way-marker at the far side. At the way-marker, walk to the right of a boundary for a short while, before the bridleway dives left through a gap in the corner of a field, then goes up a slight incline to an enclosed section. On coming out into the open, the route goes right, shortly to come to a road. Turn right onto Fox Road, then walk roughly in an easterly direction.
Ignore the first signpost left, but take heed of the one to the left after, by a green metal barrier (5). Walk in a northerly direction on a concrete track in the direction of Pleshey. Pleshey church can be seen in the distance. From this path, there can be some quite decent views behind at times, so it's worth having a quick glance back every now and then! Stay on this concrete path, ignoring the temptation to stroll onto any of the paths that lead off it.
Just outside Pleshey, walk to the right of a gate at the end of the path, into a recreation area. Go diagonally across it, turning left at a lane (Pump Lane). There should be a concrete signpost here, but it's a bit neglected, and there is just a mortise in the concrete where the finger should go!! The short stretch here follows the edge of a motte and bailey of a castle dating back to the 12th century.
Pleshey has quite a long history. William the Conqueror gave Pleshey to Geoffrey de Mandeville in appreciation of his services. Mandeville was one of William's battle commanders at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Later, his grandson, another Geoffrey, was made Earl of Essex by King Stephen.
Turn left at the end of Pump Lane onto a road (The Street). Follow it for a short while before turning right at a signpost. Follow this path to a white-tipped way-marker. Turn left at the marker, just in front of a bridge, then walk the short distance to the corner of this field. At this corner, go through a gap and turn right onto a track. Follow the track to a road then turn right. After 100 metres or so, look out for a signpost to the left (could easily be missed ). Turn left at this signpost to walk through a short enclosed section before turning right. Make for another white-tipped post (they seem pretty common in this area,) and then turn left at it.
Follow the right edge of this field to its far corner, then turn left to follow a well defined path which goes across the top part of the field, coming to part of its boundary at the other side (sounds complicated, but isn't!). On coming to this boundary, keep it to your left, walking in the same direction. This is somewhat different to the path defined on the OS map, but ends up at the same location.
At a byway, turn right to be on an enclosed part of it. Follow it first to the left, then right to emerge from its enclosed environment to be on the right edge of a field. Further on, go past some farm buildings, then continue, to pass a by-way way-marker before eventually turning left at another way-marker, roughly in a westerly direction. Here again, the route defined in the OS map differs slightly, as it's initially a bit further north than the route presently cleared for the path.
On coming to a road, there should be a bridge over the ditch, but it's currently missing. It's either a leap here, or go right for about 40 metres before turning left onto the road. After about 300 metres, go right at a signpost (7), then follow the right edge of a field. Go right where the boundary ends on the right, then immediately left to walk across the field. At the far side follow a way-marker (falling over when I took the notes for this walk) to cross a plank bridge. Follow the left edge of the next field. After following its edge for a short while, cross a plank bridge to the left, then turn right. Don't be tempted to go right after this, as it seems like the way to go. The right of way is to keep to the right edge of the field you're on.
Cross another plank bridge into the next field, then carry on, turning right at the next corner, over a rather ramshackle wooden bridge. Turn right, (don't be tempted to follow the rather obvious way ahead,) then follow the contour of the right edge of a field, crossing a (rather rotten, and pretty bouncy) plank bridge at its far corner. Carry on, across the next field to go through a gap, turning left at a lane. Turn right at a T junction with a road, then left at a footpath signpost.
Turn right almost immediately to walk in a NNW direction along the right side of a field. At the far corner, go through a gap, then turn left at a way-marker. Soon after, turn right at another way-marker, to walk along the right side of a young plantation. Turn left at another way-marker, to follow the right edge of a field. On coming to a road, turn left for a short distance before turning right at a footpath signpost (8).
The next part of our ramble may sound a bit complicated, but it's pretty obvious on actually following the route! This part of the route differs from the OS map, and has probably been changed recently. Anyway, go through a gate, to walk along a short enclosed section, to the left of a rather dilapidated tennis court. Follow a way-marker to continue along the left edge of a field. Follow a way-marker at its far left corner to go right. Go left at the next way-marker, cross a stile, cross a plank bridge to cross another stile, going right after it. After a short enclosed section, turn left at a signpost. Follow the left edge of a field to come to another stile, by a signpost. Turn left onto a road here. After the frenetic activity of the last quarter mile or so, our walk reverts to an easier route as we follow this road!
Follow this road to go ahead at a junction, in the direction of High Easter and Leaden Roding. At a footpath signpost after this junction, turn left to clamber up a bank (9), then cross a field in a SSE direction. When I formulated this walk, there was no well-defined path here, but you will soon see a way-marker on the far side of the field. Make for this way-marker, then turn half-right on coming to it, to follow the left edge of a field, soon going to the left of a ditch. The church at High Easter can be seen looming up here!
Make sure to keep to the right of a ditch to go in the same direction you've been going in at the next boundary. At a way-marker, bear slightly right to follow the edge of a row of trees. Cross a foot bridge by another way-marker, then a plank bridge just after. Turn left onto a path, to walk to the right side of a ditch, though a wooded area, soon coming to another way-marker, following the left edge of a field.
Soon, turn right, then shortly afterwards left, to skirt around the edge of a property (which possesses a tennis court). Go right at the corner of the field, then left at a way-marker, going between properties to a road (if you want a quick tour of High Easter and its church, turn right here for a short diversion, then come back to this point). Turn left at the road (10), then right at a signpost, just after "Old Vicarage Close" on the left. Turn left at a way-marker to walk along the back of some properties. Stay close to the backs of these properties, soon to cross a plank bridge. The route here differs from the OS map footpath routes. The following narrative was correct at the time of typing this text! See also the OS map, with its route highlighted.
Walk between some allotments on the right, and properties on the left. Follow another way-marker to go straight on. Cross a plank bridge at the end of this stretch, then go right, then soon left to skirt a recreation ground.
Cross another plank bridge, then turn right immediately after it to walk along the right edge of a field (11). The field to the right looks to have a more inviting footpath on it, but keep the side you are, as that's the current right of way! Keep on, coming to a plank bridge by a stile (well - I know - it's not actually a stile). Keep ahead, then after a ditch turn slightly left to hop over another thing that's not exactly a stile (actually made from an old telegraph pole or something!) Turn right on the other side to follow the right edge of a field. Keep along this edge to a gap on the right. Go through it (no actual marker here, but is the correct way! ) Go first to the left of a pond, then to the left of another young plantation. Keep ahead to a road. At the road (13), look out for a signpost to the right (after following the road for about 30 metres).
Turn right at this signpost to walk through some scrub-land. Cross a stile to walk through a short belt of wood then cross another stile, then a cross a plank bridge, following a way-marker after it to go straight ahead. Follow another way-marker to go through another belt of wood.
Turn left at a road, follow it round a bend to the right, then turn left at a signpost. We're now back on the Essex Way, which we'll be following for the rest of the ramble. Cross a plank bridge, then walk on the left edge of a field. Good Easter church can be seen soon, with its steeple making it a local landmark. Go ahead at the next field boundary, following a white-tipped way-marker. Continue to another (rather diminutive) white-tipped way-marker, then turn right to walk behind some houses on the outskirts of Good Easter.
Turn left at signpost, then shortly after, right onto a road. Turn left at a cross-road (14) to walk along a road pointed to in the direction of Mashbury and The Chignalls. Keep ahead to approach Good Easter church, and the end of the walk.
Click here to get an OS map with the route highlighted.
Click here for a file containing Garmin eTrex details for the walk.