Essex’s best walks: A circular stroll from Wicken Bonhunt
PUBLISHED: 11:29 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:29 11 September 2019
This simple stroll from the little village of Wickhen Bonhunt to the hamlet of Rickling and back again, is a simple yet scenic walk ideal for late summer | Words and photos: Laurie Page Public Rights of Way Team at Essex County Council
1) From where you parked your vehicle, turn right past a pretty thatched cottage called Clarks Cottage to the Coach and Horses at the road junction where you turn right along a bridleway. Proceed uphill on a shady path, then alongside a large crop field.
The path bends sharp right with a field to your left and then bends left and back right. Continue for some distance admiring the views around. Eventually you will reach the little lane at Rickling.
2) Turn left along a byway. After it bends right you reach a junction where you go straight ahead, remaining on the byway. You soon start to descend on a shady path. Continue for almost half a mile. At the fork where the path divides, keep left on the double track. Cross a bridge and go immediately left.
To your right is a building of flint and pebble, which is the ancient Chapel of St Helen's. First built in the 11th century, it is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the East of England.
3) Follow the grass footpath alongside a large field to your right. This swings left into the next field and then runs for nearly half a mile, close to the stream called Wicken Water.
Eventually you reach the road (B1038) where you turn left along the pavement and this will return you to the Coach and Horses and the little parking spot further on the left.
One of the features of this walk is that it incorporates four different types of Rights of Way. Below are the four different types of way and their description.
- A footpath is for foot walkers only.
- A bridleway can be used by foot walkers, equestrians and cyclists.
- A byway can be used by all of the above and also motorised vehicles.
- A restricted byway can be used by all the above and non-motorised vehicles such as carts and carriages.
Ordnance Survey maps are available from all good booksellers and outdoor stores or visit the online shop www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk
Distance: 3.6 miles (5.8k).
Starting point: Small parking bay on the B1038 just west of the Three Horseshoes and opposite Rainbow Cottage.
How to get there: Wicken Bonhunt lies on the B1038 between Newport and the village of Clavering. Sat Nav CB11 3UG
Map: OS Explorer 195 Braintree & Saffron Walden.
Refreshments: In the village at the start of the walk, what was the Coach and Horses pub is now a Thai Restaurant called Ananta. There are two other very good pubs nearby; the Cricketers in the village of Clavering a mile to the west and the Axe and Compasses in the pretty village of Arkesden to the north-west.
Tourist Information Centre: Saffron Walden TIC, 1 Market Street, Saffron Walden CB10 1HR. Call 01799 524002.
Places of interest nearby: About 4 miles north is the magnificent Jacobean stately home of Audley End, now an English Heritage property. Robert Adam was responsible for the design of some of the rooms in the house and the bridge over the River Cam, while Capability Brown re-designed the gardens. There is also a tea room, children's play area and shop to enjoy.