Margery Allingham Walk
Chappel, Nr Colchester Essex os 895285
This is a circular walk
On arriving in Chappel take the turn off signposted for Knights farm, go over the bridge and past the Swan pub (ideal place for a beer when you return, foods good as well!) continue past the school and park on the graveled area on your left.
There is a bus service to Chappel from Halstead and Colchester for information about the bus service phone the Essex Busline 0345 000333 Colchester tourist information phone 01206 282828
Margery Allingham was a distinguished author who lived in Viaduct farm, Chappel, in the early 1930's before moving to Tolleshunt D'arcy. Her principal genre was detective fiction and Agatha Christie regarded Margery's books as superior to her own. However it was the publication in 1941 of the "The Oaken Heart"which detailed life in the Village of Pontisbright (the old name for Chappel) in the late thirties, which shows her deep affection for the village and it's people. The book focuses particularly on the village cricket club and the annual cricket parties, instigated by her husband, Pip Carter. This walk was named by Chappel Parish Council.
Chalkney wood may be a remanent of the vast forests which once covered most of the country. It has been managed almost continuously for hundreds of years, producing timber, firewood and coppice products, such as poles and rods for hurdle making and thatching. The coppice rotation is still in operation in part of the woodland adding to its overall diversity. Chalkney wood hold a wide variety of wildlife including deer, badgers and over 30 species of breeding birds. The plant and and insect communities include a number of rare species such as Violet Helliborine and five different types of Hawk Moth. Tree species include small leaved lime and wild service, both indicators of ancient woodland. More on Chalkney Wood
The Mill was built in the early 18th century as a fulling mill, fulling being a process in the treatment of wool. In the 19th century it was converted for corn milling. It was last used as a mill in the 1930's and was converted into a house in the 1980's.
The Swan Pub, Chappel
Landranger no 168
The start of the walk differs depending on which mode of transport you use.
If you use public transport to get to Chappel
At the Bus stop head towards the viaduct, turn right at footpath sign
just before viaduct, soon crossing a bridge then turn left at footpath
sign under viaduct arch.
Now continue with the main description of the walk.
If you drive to Chappel
On leaving your car do not return to the road, continue across the green to the play area near the viaduct, passing under the viaduct arch, arriving at the entrance to the Chappel Millennium Green.
Turning right immediately, walking with viaduct on your right, cross stile (wm) as it enters a wooded area and continue ahead, soon bear left over bridge(wm) to enter field. From here you need to make for the white bungalow in the opposite corner of field, follow the footpath as it cuts diagonally across the field on a well defined path to bungalow and footpath sign. Emerging on a small road turn left and keep, straight ahead to the footpath sign at the corner of the white bungalow, turn right and follow path with the bungalow and pond on your right. At end of field cross ditch and turn left for 20 yards, then turn right on well defined path across centre of field, then continue along edge of field on a grassy path, at corner of field go over stile(w/m) and continue in a forward direction with hedge on left making for an old pillbox. Cross stile beside pillbox and turn right, heading slightly uphill with the hedge on your right.
As you approach Bacon Farm at the top of the hill, Do not miss the opportunity to see the wonderful view of the Colne Valley behind you as you turn round and look out over the valley, you will see to the north is the Viaduct, proudly crossing the valley and if you look down river with the fields stretching away before you, Ford Street can be seen in the distance and the village of Fordham over in the North East.
On reaching the farm buildings of Bacon Farm (w/m) enter the farm yard
and turn first right and then immediately left following the track ahead.
Follow this track as it meets Bacons Lane and bears right. Stay on Bacon
Lane, soon entering the hamlet of Swan Street, ignore the first footpath
on your left but continue to the end of Bacons Lane. At the junction
turn first right and then immediately left (w/m) onto a footpath climb
the stile and entering a field and continuing straight ahead along the
right hand edge of the field. This is another wonderful viewpoint look
to your left for a view of Wakes Colne and the All Saints church.
Beware of marauding sheep in this field! When I walked across this field I was followed by about 40 of them all baaing as loud as they could! don't worry though they're all a bunch of scaredy-cats when I turned round to face them they all skidded to a halt and tried to look innocent!
On reaching the corner of the field, cross the footbridge and head straight
ahead uphill towards a waymark, maintain your direction right across
the field, on reaching the other side is is a bit difficult to spot the
way down to the road but it is just below the fork in the road ahead.
When you emerge on the road turn left and then right were the road forks, follow this track until you reach the house at the end "Priory House" (w/m). Follow the track to the left of the house heading gradually downhill, the track soon merging with a tree lined path (w/m) with a fruit plantation on your left.
Before you reach the bottom of the hill you will reach a crossroads
in the footpath, Take the path on the left heading out across the fruit
plantation, (w/m) soon passing a lake on your left and a woodland on
your right and arriving at a stile.
Cross the stile and head downhill to the stile opposite, crossing the stile and the footbridge beyond and heading along a tree lined path until you emerge on a country road.
Turn right and then an immediate left at the footpath sign following
the path up to Chalkney wood. Upon entering the wood keep ahead on this
broad forest ride ignoring all turn offs, on reaching a junction of five
paths (including the one you are on) take the second turning on your
right which heads slightly downhill and soon arriving at Chalkney mill.
On reaching the first of the buildings near the mill go past the boarding kennels and turn right before actually reaching the mill, soon leaving the mill behind and following a riverside path along the River Colne on your left. On reaching a gate, go through and go straight ahead passing through another gate and following a path soon arriving at Swanscombe Farm.
Upon arriving at Swanscombe Farm follow the entrance road leaving the
farm behind and take the footpath (w/m) at the end of the hedgerow on
Head straight across to the opposite boundary (w/m), maintaining your direction across the field beyond and heading for the gap between the trees in the centre of the field and the field boundary.
On reaching the gap ignore the stile on your right and Keep ahead with the hedgerow on your right, towards the lake beyond and heading for a stile in the right hand corner of the field.
Cross the stile and continue ahead with the lake on your left and crossing over another stile. Bear left, keeping the lake on your left and head for the stile in the opposite right hand corner of the field.
Cross the stile and the footbridge beyond and follow the waymarks into
the next field continuing along the left hand edge of the field with
the hedge on your left.
Here you can get your first view of the distinctive white spire of the St.Barnabas Church at Chappel. Cross the next stile in the corner of the field (w/m) and maintain your direction, crossing the next stile (w/m) and keeping the hedge on your right.
Cross the FINAL STILE and keep ahead to the St.Barnabas church and the car park beyond.