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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Saturday First Walk - Constable country

Book 1, Walk 39 - Manningtree Circular
Length: 17.3km (10.7 miles) or 13.3km (8.3 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

10.00 train from Liverpool Street to Manningtree, arriving 10.55

For walk directions click here.

Oh, I know there are some for whom "never do an Essex walk" is as firm a maxim as "never invade Russia", but this one is an exception. This is the Essex walk which doesn't feel like an Essex walk, and it is lovely at this time of year. Ideally you want a day when white fluffy clouds stack up into an otherwise blue sky, and then you actually feel you are walking in a Constable painting - which you are, because this is the exact scenery (and weather and time of year) that he painted.

If you are in a lazy summer frame of mind, the short cut version of this walk (13.3km/8.5 miles) also has a lot to recommend it. Unlike the main walk it takes you along lovely dreamy watermeadows along the River Stour. Three of us once swum in this and lived to tell the tale (don't drink the water, though: livestock graze on its banks). The main walk avoids this treat, but does take in more Constable painting sites.

Tea is at a National Trust tea room at Flatford Mill, site of Constable's most famous painting, the Haywain, and then there is a pleasant walk across the fields to the station which has (or had when we last looked) a licensed bar and buffet - a bit of a 1970s time warp.

There are lots of trains back to the smoke: at 02, 19 and 53 minutes past (though not at 18.19 for some reason, at least not according to the online timetable). The 02 trains are ten minutes slower: the other ones take one hour.

Arrive back at Liverpool Street and admire the lovely station architecture, a brilliant blend of traditional and modern. There, that wasn't too painful, was it?


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi it's going to be a hot day...just wondered if there is any shade on this walk please?

Marcus said...


Updated directions placed on website this afternoon.

Terry Wogan said...

I'll wear my favourite hat then!

Anonymous said...

a good walk and even managed a swim in the river Stour. There was quite a lot of tarmac walking after dedham on the main walk and being such a sunny day Dedham was very busy.The river was lovely to swim in.

Walker said...

Yay! Well done for swimming. It is indeed delightful, is it not?

Walker said...

How many on the walk, btw?

JohnL said...

N=20, Weather Sunny and hot. Most had lunch in the garden at the Red Lion, food and beer was reported as very good. After lunch five of us took the short cut along the river bank which was busy with picnickers. Three went in for a brief swim dodging the onslaught of rowers and canoeists. We waited at the NT Flatford Mill tea room for the main group but seems they got distracted so we went on without them. From memory the river bank is more natural going upstream from Dedham but it is probably easier to get into the water downstream. This is one Essex walk that is worth the travel effort.

Anonymous said...

N=24, I was in the main walk group, we got to Flatford Mill Café around 4pm, met up with 1 walker who did the short cut. Most surprisingly, 4 more walkers showed up at the station. They took the slow train at 10:02 by mistake in the morning but we were pleased to see them all the same. It was a perfect day to see the Constable country.