Essex’s best walks: Five-mile circular at White Notley and Fairstead
PUBLISHED: 14:36 29 May 2020
If you like a get-away-from-it-all ramble, this mid Essex walk provides a quiet route from the little village of White Notley to Fairstead and back again | Words and pictures by Laurie Page of the Public Rights of Way team at Essex County Council
This article was written before lockdown and all information should be checked before you head out
1. From the bottom of Vicarage Avenue, turn left at the road junction then turn immediately right at the next junction, past the Cross Keys pub. Go uphill passing the houses and at the end of the row on the left, opposite the village hall, take the bridleway along a wide dusty track.
This bends left then right and out into open countryside. Where the track bends left again, go straight on leaving the track, and follow the hedge and ditch to your right. Continue along this path for some distance, into successive fields.
Soon after you pass under the pylons, go right along a concrete track, passing a barn on the left. Soon after at the track junction, turn left.
2. The concrete path soon reverts to a grass track. Follow the hedge line. At the end of the field, cross a little planked bridge and bear right around the field edge to the lane. Turn left along the quiet lane. Continue for about half a mile passing under the pylons again.
The road bends sharp left then right past some cottages. At the road junction go straight on unless you would like to turn left to visit the pretty tranquil church of Fairstead where there is a bench outside to admire the view and take a rest.
Pass a footpath on the left and immediately after take the bridleway on the left which has a hard surface and is part of the Essex Way.
3. Proceed past Troys Hall where you bear right onto a grass path. It bends left and when you reach the way-marker post, go right.
Continue on to where the path bends sharp right, going through a metal gate. Soon after the path bends left onto a concrete surface. Follow this all the way to the end. At the main road turn left along the road. Watch out for fast moving traffic.
4. After a short distance take the footpath on the right (to Whiteways). Go to the end of the track and at the white gate, bear left and then soon after turn left at the footpath junction going alongside a wooden fence.
The footpath dog-legs left then right around the field boundary and continues towards the village. When you reach the little lane take the footpath opposite and cross the next road onto a path running alongside the primary school.
You come to the parish church of White Notley and emerge onto the road. Turn right along the road and back to the village centre, and the Cross Keys pub if you fancy a well-deserved drink!
Distance: 4.9 miles
Starting point: Vicarage Avenue, White Notley CM8 1SB
How to get there: From the A12 at Witham, the village of White Notley can be reached via the B1018 between Witham and Braintree. Take the turning to White Notley Station just north of Cressing Temple Barns. Vicarage Avenue is a turning off Station Road in the village centre.
Map: OS Explorer 183 Chelmsford and the Rodings
Refreshments: The Cross Keys pub in White Notley. There is also a very nice tea room at the Cressing Temple Barns
Tourist Information: Town Hall Centre, Market Square, Braintree, Essex CM7 3YG. Call 01376 550066
Place of interest nearby: A mile to the north east of White Notley are the Cressing Temple Barns. Owned by Essex County Council, these are medieval barns including the huge wheat barn little changed since it was built in the 13th century. It has lifelike waxworks which tell the story of the wealthy Knights Templar, (the warrior monks) and the Knights Hospitallers who lived there. There is also a pleasant walled garden. Call 0333 013 8156