We met at the White Horse, Mundon, ordered our lunch, crossed the road and waited, (and waited, and waited) for the bus to Maldon.
Just when we were discussing walking in the reverse direction, the bus came. It was crowded but we had a jolly ride and alighted at the Promenade Park. It was a beautiful day and the lake, river and park looked wonderful in the sunshine. None of us had thought it would be so warm and before long we were shedding our outer clothing. Passing the Pétanque terrain, cafés and Splash Park we turned right and for a short way followed the Second World War Memorial Avenue; it’s a delightful, peaceful, section of the park with trees and a water area for wildlife.
Leaving the park we reached the seawall and could see the Blackwater meandering east and on the landward side a stretch of water with reeds – the bird watchers amongst us would have liked to spend more time on this stretch as there was much to see. At a junction where the track to our left led to the causeway to Northey Island we paused to read an information board about the Battle of Maldon, 991 AD, as close by is the site where the battle took place. We left Northey Island for another day and turned west.
I couldn’t manage to find donkeys for the group to pat, as happened last month, but the cows and calves in the farm we passed attracted them and a lot of nostril blowing took place!! – I think we shall have to make an outing to a zoo or perhaps Marsh Farm!! Heading south over farmland there was one huge field to cross – boring (except for the sound of skylarks singing), so I’ll skip that bit.
The sections with hedges and bushes were far more interesting and also the Mundon Wash, a drainage ditch with reeds at the sides. The Wash is in two parts a section of 1.71 kms extending west to Purleigh Wash Farm and another to the east for 2.23 kms and enters the River Blackwater near Northey Island; on the Ordnance Survey map it marks the Wash to the east as ‘Canal disused’.
The sighting of the ‘petrified’ oaks at Mundon was a first for some. These majestic trees, not petrified at all but just dead, stand eerily in a field; we counted seventeen in total. It has been claimed that the oak forest is first mentioned in the Domesday Book. Later, the oaks narrowly missed being cut down for shipbuilding when a fleet was needed to sail against the Spanish Armada. I have read that salt water poisoning caused their demise but it is not certain whether that was due to flooding or seepage. The second point of interest came shortly after. St Mary’s church has been restored by the Friends of Friendless Churches and has some fine architectural features. It is mainly known for its weather boarded timber-framed tower and its outstanding 16th century north porch with carved wooden spandrels. It also retains a complete set of 18th century box pews. On the east wall is a nave mural. There is plenty of printed information to digest and if we had had the time it would have been nice to take advantage of the seats provided outside to read more, but we pressed on back to the White Horse for lunch.
Next Walk – Tuesday 26th April meet 9.45am Cricketers PH, Danbury (CM3 4ED) 8kms/5miles (approx)