Description: A rewarding walk, through and around no less than six Towns and villages in north-east Essex.
OS Ref: TL540318
Length: 11½ Miles
Approximate time 4½-5 hours.
Parking: Roadside parking in Widdington.
Refreshments: Pubs in Widdington, Newport, Wicken Bonhunt and Quendon.
Start by the Church in Widdington. Leave the village on a footpath the opposite side of a road on the East end of the Church. This path soon goes right and follows the right side of a field for a short while. The path then diverts left. Follow this, cross a bridge and continue to cabbage wood. Turn left onto a byway just before the wood. Follow the byway to come to a road. Carry on in the same direction along the road for a short while. Where the road bends left, take a byway to carry on in the same westerly direction that you have been going.
Carry along on the byway to a junction with a footpath on the right. Take this footpath. Walk past an Ordnance Survey triangulation station. At this point there is a good view on the left, to the valley where Newport is. We'll be there soon! Follow the footpath to ringers barn. Turn right there, in front of a house, then left onto a road.
Continue down the road. At the second left bend in the road, at a signpost, turn right onto a footpath. Follow this path which goes down for a way. Walk across a field to a wood, cross a bridge then turn left. Walk through some woodland initially. The path emerges from the wood to be on the right side of a field. For a while you can see the Church tower of Newport. Carry on along this footpath, go to the left of a gate. A short while after the gate, the path becomes metalled. Keep along the path, cross a river and follow the path to the left. Walk under a railway bridge and follow the road you are now on, to a main road (B1383) Turn right at the B1383, then shortly afterward, left into Bury Water Lane.
At this point, before you turn down Bury Water Lane, you may want to take a tour around Newport. Newport has some attractive parts to it. Parts of the present Church date back to the early 13th century. There are other attractive old buildings too.
Carry on down the lane. Just after some school buildings on the right (and left initially,) there is a footpath sign to the right. Take this footpath, and skirt around the left of the school. Walk along the left side of some playing fields, keeping in a northerly direction. Ignore the way marker pointing left (which looks like the official route,) and walk to a small stile which crosses some netting into a rugby pitch. Turn left after the stile and walk to the left of a football pitch. Aim for a gap in the hedge in front of you, and continue along a gently undulating path, going upward initially.
Keep along the path to eventually come to some hedges. Turn left and follow the line of the hedges until they end. At this point, keep ahead (maybe slightly left) to a way marker post which is visible from where you are. Walk across part of a field to the way marker, then turn right to walk along a concrete path down to a road. Turn left along this road (Rookery Lane.)
You are on the outskirts of Wendens Ambo. You may at this point, want to check this Town out. The name (Wendens Ambo) is somewhat strange. The Ambo part of its name possibly comes from a definition meaning "raised platform" or maybe "pulpit". The church is a little gem, and is featured on the front of my copy of the O/S map of the area!
Anyway, follow Rookery Lane, and at the second right bend, turn left onto a bridleway. Follow this bridleway to a tunnel under the M11 motorway. Walk under the motorway, and keep in the same direction after the concrete tunnel to follow the bridleway gently uphill. At a byway junction further up, make a quick left-right turn to continue along the bridleway in a southerly direction. The route rises slightly more steeply for a while from here. After a couple more minutes, you have some pretty good views to the east and north. To the east you can see a chalk-pit just outside Newport.
Continue along the bridleway to eventually walk slightly downhill into Wicken Bonhunt. Wicken Bonhunt catches you out from this direction, as you don't seem to realise you are walking into it until the last moment (when you see the church to the right!!)
Turn right when you get to a road, follow the road for a short distance then, at a bridleway signpost, turn left.
Walk uphill for a while. Turn right after a row of trees, then left at a field corner. Shortly after the corner, dodge right to go through a hedge gap, then left. Follow this path going left first, then right. Keep ahead to a house you can see in the distance.
From here you have some good views, especially to the left, where you can see the rotating radar mast of carver barracks.
At a farmyard, keep ahead (don't be tempted into the yard, as it may seem the obvious route!) At a road, turn right. Follow the road to a junction then bear left. This is the tiny village of Rickling. You may want to see the inside of this lovely and somewhat lonely country Church before you carry on.
Continue to a footpath sign on the left. Turn down this footpath and follow the left edge of a field. At the corner of this field, go through a hedge gap, and follow the path diagonally across the next field. After this field, follow the path in the same direction. It becomes enclosed for a very short while. At a way mark post, bear left, and follow the right edge of a field for a short way. At the field corner (ignoring the tempting way to the right) turn left, then almost immediately right. The path is now between some enclosures to the left, and some houses to the right. Continue along the path, turning slightly right at the end to a road.
Turn right along this road (the B1383 again!) At a sign for Quendon Church, turn left. Follow the path uphill, pass Quendon Church (to the left,) then go through an opening. Follow the next few way mark posts. The first to the right, then left at the next (even though the second way-marker did not point left when I last did the walk!) After a short way, bear right to make for the corner of a plantation, seemingly walking diagonally. At the plantation, bear left to follow its left side.
Where this plantation ends, just after a hedge gap, turn left. Follow the path to a way mark post pointing right. Take this right turn. Follow the path, which goes right after a short while. Follow a succession of way mark posts from here, first to the left, then right. Follow the edge of the M11 until you come to a concrete tunnel on your left. Take this left turn (under the M11 yet again,) to be on its correct side for the rest of the ramble.
Follow the route to a road. Turn left and follow the road to a footpath sign (on the opposite side of the road pointing right.) Take this footpath. It's a bit dodgy initially. After the first (ramshackle) gate off the road, you may have to avoid a rather territorial dog! Walk directly ahead, to the right of a barn. Cross a bridge over a stream. Cross a stile then walk up some steps. Carefully cross the railway lines. Go down the steps the other side and cross another stile.
Carry on straight ahead along the right side of London Jock Wood. Go through what looks like a big opening between two woods (remembering to keep just to the right of London Jock Wood.)
At the "apex" of the wood, at a house, go left, then immediately right to follow a bridleway, which is more like a track, in a north-easterly direction. Keep ahead on this track to come to the end of a road. Turn left onto this road, and ignore any side-roads off it. Carry on until you come to the centre of Widdington, where the walk started from.
Click here to get an OS map with the route highlighted.