What a beautiful spring day we had for our March walk. Leaving the car park of the Izumi restaurant in Maldon we soon gained the seawall where the early morning mist hung over the River Blackwater. It was low tide and on the exposed mud many waders fed, whilst overhead chattering geese flew by in small groups.
Maldon’s quayside was at its best with many Thames barges moored and quite a lot of activity on them. With few visitors on the quayside, the bargees could lay out their red sails for treatment. The formula for this treatment was, and maybe still is, a mixture of cod oil, clean salt water, red ochre and horse fat.
Passing the Maldon salt works we then crossed Market Hill and, still following the south side of the river, went west through grassland to a footpath leading down to Beeleigh Abbey.
We thought a magnolia tree we had seen earlier was outstanding but the size and blossoms of the one at Beeleigh Abbey far outshone that one.
Further on we crossed the falls The layout is complicated here with the River Chelmer flowing south, the River Blackwater coming into the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation (the canal linking Heybridge Basin and Chelmsford) from the north, crossing it and falling into the Chelmer, while the Navigation calmly continues from west to east with Beeleigh Lock checking its fall. It is a fascinating sight.
At this point we turned back and followed the Langford Cut and so regained the footpaths back to the Promenade Park. The park looked splendid with the flowering spring plants. On the, by now, well-risen tide a Thames barge made its way slowly down river – a wonderful backdrop to the fountain in the lake.
It was one of our longer walks, and we felt we had earned our buffet lunch.
Tuesday 25th April – meet 10.00 at The Cricketers, Danbury 8kms/5 miles (undulating, hopefully we shall see bluebells, wood anemones and possibly hear nightingales)
Tuesday 23rd May – meet 10.00 at The Blackwater Bistro, Maylandsea 8kms/5 miles
Tuesday 28th June – by request from group members we shall take a picnic – route to be confirmed.