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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, 4 August 2018

Saturday walk - Manningtree Circular - Constable's paintings come to life

Length: 17.3km (10.7 miles) - or 13.3km (8.25 miles) via the shortcut
Toughness: 4 out of 10

10.00 train from Liverpool Street to Manningtree, arriving 10.55.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

If you only do one Essex walk in your life, this is the one to do. It deserves to be done on a fine summer's day, with a scattering of fluffy white cloud, when the landscape looks just like the John Constable paintings that made it famous.

Bringing your pocket book of Constable's greatest hits is not a bad idea, because then you can compare the present day views with his representations of them. Otherwise, this is a gentle pretty outing, passing through the the lovely village of Dedham with its various lunch options and the terminally-quaint (though heavily touristed) Flatford Mill, with its National Trust tea room.

This is a walk where laziness is rewarded because the short cut between Dedham and Flatford Mill (the 8.25 mile version of the walk) is along a very pretty section of the River Stour. Walkers have in the past been known to have a swim in the Stour, though whether this is a good idea from a Health and Safety standpoint I have no idea. (For the record, I did not get any communicable diseases.)

At the end of the walk spare a glance for the Manningtree station buffet, which (at least last time I looked) was like something out of the 1970s.

Trains back are at 02, 19 and 53 past, though mysteriously the online timetable does not show an 18.19. Any of our train experts who would like to comment on this, please do. T=1.39


Walker said...

If you looked at this post on Monday morning, please note I have changed the train time since my first draft of the post

Anonymous said...

I did this walk yesterday; there are signs along the route highlighting the closure of footpaths for maintenance; this only seemed to be a problem in the final stretch towards Manningtree station, but in actual fact the route is still accessible.Hilary

Mike A said...

10 walkers assembled on Manningtree platform and set of on this delightful walk. The powers that be had been busy installing new clearly marked finger posts throughout the walk.
Plenty of succulent blackberries were picked on the initial leg up to St. Mary's Church and a couple of sheep allowed walkers to scratch their backs - must have been the heat.
As Hilary pointed out there were some minor diversions but not at all onerous and very well detailed.
2 Ramblers were met doing a walk-over for the Hampstead group, one whom I'd not seen for many a year and I found she has still hadn't forgiven me for defecting to the SWC :-(
The paddocks just after the railway crossing were an absolute delight to pass with two recently arrived foals. Their minder/stableperson gave us a fascinating talk on the breed of the horses and their new offspring before we continued on to Dedham.
Two further walker's joined us just before we arrived there explaining they had caught a train 2 minutes later than the one posted so n=12 on the walk.
Most took lunch in the back garden of The Sun which sported it's new Michelin award plaque for 2018.
Some of us took a quick peek in the Parish Church after lunch where a wedding was about to take place - we'd failed to bring fascinators and dickie-bows etc. and so we slipped quietly off, heading for Dedham Mill.
A splinter group took a wrong turning to Dedham Hall, but quickly corrected themselves and no yellow cards were issued.
At the Mill, many of the locals had taken to boats or thrown themselves in the Stour to cool down and here our group split into two with half electing to do the shorter walk and the other half a modified version of the longer route.
The short-circuiteers visited another St. Mary's at East Bergholt for a respite, briefly spotting Miriam as she headed towards Flatford Mill.
We too headed for the Mill and took tea in the NT Cafe. Our Arts Connoisseur gave us all a commentary on Constable and where he had painted the Hay Wain and so on as we walked.
On the final leg back to Manningtree, there had been some work done on the path (which could be an absolute quagmire after rain). The path had been widened, flattened and straightened and will hopefully be a lot easier to walk in the rainy season.
A final drink was had at that so unusual cafe/bar at Manningtree Station where some of the long routers caught up and we all took the 5:19 back the Great Wen.
A varied and informative day out in a w=hot_day_made_bearable_by_much_woodland_and_a_few_cumulus_clouds