Walks And Walking – Essex Walks Billericay To Chelmsford Walking Route
I met up with Tim @ukjeeper at Billericay train station for what turned out to be a slightly longer walking route than planned but certainly one of the most rewarding walks in Essex I have ever had with plenty of great countryside, podiatry breaks, wildlife spots and even an acrobatic stunt plane thrown in to the mix.
We met at Billericay station, turning left and then right down to Norsey Close and in to Norsey Wood walking around the right hand side by The Deerbank with the houses on our right hand side to a road that we walked up and then turned right at the Public Footpath 28 signpost across and around the open fields to the Water Tower at Forty Acre Plantation.
We then walked up along the road turning right at Potash Road and then right at Goatsmoor Lane turning right at the Bridleway Signpost turning left at the crossroads of paths crossing over Goatsmoor Lane to the Public Bridleway Signpost to the pond at Greenacre Farm. We then walked right and then turned left at the Public Footpath Signpost following this pathway all the way to Stock village across about 5 footbridges and stiles to a kissing gate and then the road at Stock. We then walked right and then turned left in to Mill Lane to visit the Stock Windmill.
We then walked left at the Public Footpath Signpost keeping right at the road and then turning right and then left down the footpath to now join St Peters Way. We turned left at the Public Footpath Signpost walking around Swan Wood down some long wooden steps to continue following St Peters Way. I then put my Southend-on-Sea and Basildon Ordnance Survey Map away and got out my Chelmsford and The Rodings map. It was also here that I realised I had a blister on my left foot in my new Scarpa walking boots despite strapping up both heels in zinc oxide tape and my usual 2 sock combination to prevent blisters. I knew today I would be testing them out in anger so I had packed some painkillers in my bag so I had a couple of them and got on with the walk.
Continuing to follow the well-marked St Peters Way waymarkers we then arrived at Fristling Hall and walked through the wooden gate to a wooden kissing gate across to the next wooden kissing gate to another wooden gate and footbridge across the field and over the Gang Bridge just before the Margaretting Railway Underpass. It was here I felt a popping sensation on my left foot so I guessed my blister had burst so we agreed to stop at the next pub and review our progress and what to do next. The underpass was quite an interesting point of interest as it is very low so we had to walk carefully underneath so not to bang our heads on the ceiling.
Leaving the tunnel we walked across the next fields to the B1002 road turning left to cross the road to The Red Lion pub where we had a short break and some refreshments. I tentatively took of my boots and surveyed the damage before changing in to my The North face walking boots, that I had packed in to my rucksack, which immediately felt more comfortable. We then agreed to continue the walk as planned and set off turning right at the black signpost and white kissing gate and stile following St Peters Way to a small pond where we spotted some frogs spawn and several frogs.
We continued to follow the signpost for St Peters Way over a series of footbridges and stiles to Dog Kennel Lane where we then went through a series of electric gates at Hadley Barns turning right at the stile to the edge of Well Wood and then heading straight across the field in to Box Wood. We then left St Peters Way at the stile turning sharp right crossing 3 stiles in to open farmland down to the road where we turned right and then left in to more open fields to High Woods.
This was definitely Deer country with plenty of open fields and woodlands, their perfect environment. As we walked through High Woods the sun was flickering down through the trees bouncing off the tree stumps and foliage and I thought I had spotted something moving around but it was only when we met a couple with binoculars that my Deer senses were confirmed as we saw a group running through the woodland ahead of us. We then turned right at the Bridleway Signpost and started to climb upwards along Chalk Hill Track where the couple had previously seen a Deer heard of about a hundred or so.
As we walked nearer to the open grounds we saw 4 female Deers bounding across the field with a larger group of about 40 just behind them. The couple with the binoculars had now caught up with us so we all continued our walk uphill to see the main heard of about another 60 or so on our left hand side sitting peacefully in the late afternoon sun. In the middle of the heard was a white deer, something I have never seen in the wild before.
After taking a few photographs we continued walking along the pathway down to a footbridge turning right at Highwood Road and then left at the Kissing Gate following this pathway along to a couple of footbridges to Little Oxney Green. It was here that we looked up to the sky to see a stunt plane doing acrobatics in the sky; loop the loops, stalling the plane and falling, twisting and turning all over the place. The light was now starting to fade so we cracked on turning left on the A414 road and then right along the pathway to a footbridge and then the road. Walking straight ahead up the road to the Agricultural College buildings we then walked right to join the Cycle Path.
It was now getting difficult to read my paper map so we switched to Tim’s tablet for the rest of the walk following the Cycle Path signposts and then the Chelmsford Railway Station signposts which are all very clearly marked from now on in. We then walked through Admiral’s Park in the darkness all the way to Chelmsford Railway Station. We had originally planned to do just under 15 miles but it turned out to be 18.3 miles taking us 6 hours and 13 minutes. When I got home and took off my boots, socks and ripped off the zinc oxide tape I was surprised to see how small the blister on my left foot was. So, whilst my blister prevention techniques had not entirely worked they had certainly limited the damage.