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bei Boxted, England (United Kingdom)
Leave Colchester heading past the new football stadium along Boxted Road and under the A12 to reach Boxted Straight Road. This is followed until just after Mill Road (on the left). Watch for the houses to disappear on the left and some trees to appear instead. On the left a footpath sign indicates the beginning of the walk. There is just enough room on this side of the road to leave a car tucked in beside the sign. I have done this several times without any problems. Otherwise, there is parking immediately opposite alongside the pavement fronting the houses.
Pass through an old kissing gate and continue ahead with a fence on the right. Here there is a large field. Shortly the field edge is left behind and the walk now passes alongside an old walnut plantation. It is a lovely area. Peaceful and secluded. Keep to the right hand edge of the walnut trees and the path soon drops to eventually arrive beside a large lake, which is very popular with fishermen.
Turn left with the lake and river on your right.
On reaching a bridge, cross it and continue on a narrow path between a hedge and fence. This path climbs and emerges in a small car park - mostly used by fishermen.
Turn right and then immediately left on a narrow grassy path between fields. A road is reached where it is necessary to turn right and follow this quiet asphalt lane until another small road appears on the left. This reaches the church. Pass through the graveyard and if time allows do have a quick look inside this interesting and very well preserved church.
Leave by the far gate and proceed ahead along Church Street. This is now the route of the Essex Way long distance path. We leave this for a while shortly and then re-join it later in the walk. For now our route is the same.
It is a road so caution should be exercised, however, it is very quiet and I have rarely encountered any traffic. The properties are mostly on the left hand side of the road and each has a very individual appearance. This is really rural Essex not very far from the Suffolk border. The properties benefit from plenty of space and excellent views out across open countryside.
The lane twists to the left near a beautiful thatched cottage and our way continues - now being Lower Farm Road. Keep alert for a gate on the left and pause here to admire a beautiful open view across the river valley. As the immediate ground drops away, the view is long and wide and well worth a photo.
The lane soon begins to drop and twist again. At the first road junction on the right turn right beside a wide weir and bridge. It is another spot worthy of a pause.
A footpath sign is encountered on the right. Follow this over a stile. Depending on the time of year this can become a little overgrown but persevere. It is a only a short stretch. Another stile gives access to a large field.
We followed the field edge to the left and then right to reach a cottage situated in an idyllic setting - Wood Cottage. Note, however, that the actual footpath crosses directly over the field - in the same direction. It shortens the way as well.
Wood Cottage has seen a considerable number of improvements in recent years. Every time I seem to pass more progress has been made on renovating the property and the gardens are always so beautifully kept.
It is also common to meet sucks and geese in the around the property and horses are kept in the field immediately beyond. It should also be noted that the footpath passes across the lawn here. Two gates give entry and exit for our route.
The lane ahead is followed to a T junction, where turn left. This is again the Essex Way.
Follow this asphalt lane again passing another lovely cottage. Shortly afterwards, be aware of an Essex Way sign. This shows the correct way which passes around the perimeter of the farm and farm buildings.
On reaching another field, turn left and then right - around the field edge. The way then continues on a narrow strip of land heading towards a thin line of trees. Follow the trees on the left hand side to reach a road with more numerous properties.
Turn left and then right at a larger road - Dedham Road. Bear right at the next junction following Boxted Straight Road which then bends to the left. It is a short stroll ahead to reach the original footpath where the walk began. There are many delightful properties on both sides of this road so the journey continues to be very pleasant right to the end.