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Beautiful streets in Essex: 9 you should talk a walk down

PUBLISHED: 09:36 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:16 08 September 2017

Thaxted (c) Marc Pether-Longman, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Thaxted (c) Marc Pether-Longman, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Marc J Pether-Longman

Across Essex our towns and villages’ streets are brimming with attractive, historical intrigue. In no particular order, these are 9 amazing ones you need to explore.

1) High Street, Dedham

Closely associated with the painter John Constable, this village is deep in the heart of ‘Constable County’ and provided him plenty of inspiration. Many of his paintings feature the 15th century Church of St Mary, a building that dominates this central street.

Each quaintly presented home feels incredibly different to the next, creating a patchwork effect when you look as far down the street as possible. A good place for this view is the Old Bakery café, one of many small, independent shops and eateries lining the road.

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2) Stoney Lane, Thaxted

As you arrive in this medieval town by the B184 and Town Street, the first building to catch your eye will be the striking white Guildhall that was built in the 1460s and is a symbol of life here.

Bear left at the Guildhall and Fishmarket Street will take you to John Webb’s Windmill while to the right is the aptly named Stoney Lane. This cobbled road leads up to another icon of the area – the Parish Church – and feels as though it’s barely changed for hundreds of years – minus the modern cars and signs that is.

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3) Churchponds, Castle Hedingham

There are a number of small streets in this village just west of Halstead that are worth visiting but Churchponds is perhaps the best looking. A number of terraced homes – some redbrick, some timber – look out onto the graveyard of the 12th century St Nicholas Church and its remaining Norman architecture.

This short lane opens up into Falcon Square and then carries on into Castle Lane, another incredibly narrow through road that eventually leads you to Hedingham Castle.

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4) Lower Street, Stansted Mountfitchet

Continuing on from High Lane – the country road that brings you into the area - Lower Street goes right through the heart of this Norman Village located in North West Essex.

Medieval timber buildings are just as wonky as you would expect and they mix well with other impressive buildings from later periods. Grab a window seat in the Queens Head pub and you can watch this active little street buzz with the daily goings on in its many other cafes and shops.

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5) High Street, Rowhedge

The history of this village just downstream from Colchester has always centred upon the River Colne and that remains the same even today: the High Street runs right along its banks, providing some beautiful views of the water as it snakes on along towards Wivenhoe.

Small vessels bob around serenely next to the Anchor pub while larger sailboats can be seen as you look upstream towards the quay. All these can be viewed from Ye Olde Albion’s tables on the grass verge metres away from the water – a particularly lovely spot at the height of summer.

6) The Quay, Wivenhoe

Just down from Rowhedge and on the other side of the River Colne, The Quay houses rows of delightful riverside properties that are lucky to have such close views of the water.

On one corner the Nottage Maritime Institute is neighboured by the Rose & Crown, a pub whose outside seating gets you the best look at an array of boats heading along the Colne. Your riverside walk won’t end there, however, and you should carry on to Quay Street to see the Dry Dock and more properties you can dream of buying.

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7) Church Street, Coggeshall

When driving in from the Colne Road direction, you’ll know you’re on Church Street when you spot the 15th century St Peter ad Vincula church to your right. If possible, find a spot to park and admire pastel-coloured timbered buildings and other appealing terraced homes on the walk towards the town’s centre.

After a five-minute walk you’ll come out by the Clockhouse, a distinctive blue tower that juts out of an adjoining building. Stop there for a quick drink and then head on up Stoneham Street for a similar array of attractive homes from various periods.

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8) Silver Street, Maldon

It’s not the longest street in Essex – or even Maldon for that matter – but it sure packs in plenty within its hundred metres. As you enter from the High Street, the towering exterior walls of the All Saints church and the Blue Boar Hotel block the sunlight, providing shade over most of the road.

Those buildings are also Silver Street’s main attractions: the Blue Boar’s Georgian front is a fine example of the era’s architecture and its underway provides a passage to an interesting courtyard while the church has a small graveyard hidden at its rear.

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9) High Street, Saffron Walden

Begin your stroll around this medieval market town at 1 Myddylton Place and then slowly follow the sounds of the town centre’s hubbub. To your left only the spire of St Marys Church will be visible as its body is obscured by trees and flowering gardens.

On your way to the centre you won’t be able to miss a selection of Tudor buildings including the Cross Keys Hotel. If the centre’s bustle isn’t for you, head back towards the starting point and dive down either Church Street or King Street for a quieter view of the church and access to the Market Square.

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