• Start: At church, OS GR 799246
  • End: At church, OS GR 799246
  • Country: England
  • County: Essex
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: The Onley Arms in Stisted and a tearoom just next to church car park on The Street. There is also The Dolphin on the A120 just before Bradwell
  • Ordnance Survey: Explorer 195 Braintree
  • Difficulty: Medium
Google Map


American Mark Twain famously described a round of golf as, 'a good walk spoiled', but this stroll around Stisted and its golf course allows you just to enjoy a good walk Words and photography: Charlotte Fellingham

Strolling around Stisted

Step 1
From the car park at All Saints Church, turn left away from The Street and the main village towards the church. The church is open weekdays so feel free to go inside and take a look at this medieval building. In fact the church and village have a strong literary connection with the Rev Charles Forster, the grandfather of author EM Forster and related to former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, who owned Stisted Hall. If you do take a stroll around the churchyard and you see a gravestone with tiny chimneys carved into it, this is in homage to the man who built the twisted chimneys of Stisted village. Go through the kissing gate and onto the golf course. At the corner of the wall of the churchyard, turn left across the green and then right walking alongside the fence. Follow the fence round to the right and keep ahead on the golf course at the yellow arrows, going round the conifers. The path then follows the River Blackwater by the edge of the golf course. Make sure that the rivers edge is followed at all times, do not be tempted to take short cuts across the greens. A little way beyond the Environment Agency Gauging Station and bridge, the path turns away from the Blackwater towards the club house, still following the boundary. At the tarmac track, turn left and join Kings Lane. With difficulty you can catch a glimpse of Stisted Hall through the trees. This historic hall is now a care home, owned and run by the Masons.

Step 2
Turn right and walk up the lane. After the right-hand bend, turn left onto a footpath that will pass through the wonderfully named Coven Plantation. Both Covenbrook Hall and the plantation are named from a previous owner, Roger ate Coufenne, who owned the hall circa 1327, so unfortunately nothing to do with witches. Walk across the concrete section just behind the first gate; pass beyond a second gate and into the woodlands. Keep ahead on the well-defined track, taking the left fork at the large fallen tree. At the yellow arrow, turn left towards a bridge. Once over, turn right at the arrow, keeping the fence on the left. Climb the stile and turn right over another bridge. The path passes next to horse paddocks and then behind Glebe House. Sir Andrew Motion lived here with his family in the 1960s; it was then the old rectory but the family renamed it Glebe House. Cross the stile on the right and turn left along the boundary of the golf course. At the white cockle shell track, wait a moment to check that no-one is teeing off, then proceed straight across the course towards the house and the clearly mown path. Keep ahead on the path behind the houses all the way back to Kings Lane. Turn right, then immediately left onto another footpath, follow the arrow left and stay on the white path, past the chickens. Take care at the 9th tee as the path crosses in front. If clear, walk across and turn left into the trees. Keep ahead along the farm track back to the road and the church car park.

Essential Checklist

Distance: 2 miles / 3.5 km / 1 hour
Terrain: Muddy through the wood when wet, two stiles at Glebe House and the end of Coven Plantation
Start: At church, OS GR 799246
Map: Explorer 195 Braintree
and Saffron Walden
Parking: Church car park, off The Street
Refreshments: The Onley Arms in Stisted and a tearoom just next to church car park on The Street. There is also The Dolphin on the A120 just before Bradwell
Tourist Information Centre: Braintree Tourist Information Centre, Town Hall Centre, Market Square, Braintree
CM7 3YG. Call 01376 550066
Places to visit: Great Notley Country Park. Call 01376 347134 for more information

About Open Access
Open Access Land means that where you see this symbol you can walk without sticking to the mapped paths. For more information on Open Access and the right to roam visit or call 0845 100 3290

Each month Essex County Councils Public Rights of Way team provide Essex Life with a walk in the county. Walking, riding and cycling leaflets are available to download from or call 08457 430430

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