Our walk this month coincided with the first day of autumn. Had it not been for the abundance of berries on the bushes, the lack of birdsong and a landscape of bare arable land it could have easily been mistaken for the first day of spring.
A small but enthusiastic group of us met on The Green at Tillingham from where we briefly followed the St Peter’s Way east before turning south across farmland. A slight mist hung over the fields and with barely a breath of wind the vanes from the two visible wind farms turned lethargically. We were fortunate to have had a dry spell recently as farmers had been busy ploughing their land and only a few days before the fields had been topped with sticky mud but today we hardly got our boots dirty – thank goodness, as someone was wearing their brand new boots! It is not until you walk on the Dengie that you realise how big some of the fields are and what delightful little pockets of countryside you come across; a hidden green lane, a field of ripened sunflowers and country houses with a multitude of chimneys and fallen down barns (one amongst us wanted more of interest but I could only rustle up a few sheep in a field and a flock of guinea fowl – I must try harder). On the walk we crossed a few footbridges all sturdy and well maintained.
Nearing the end of the rectangular walk we passed Tillingham’s organic farm where the fields flourished with crops, notably purple-leaved curly kale, which stood out boldly amongst the greens. The farmer passed us with a trailer full of small vegetable plants for planting – spring cabbage perhaps. Back in Tillingham we ordered lunch in the Fox and Hounds and sat in the sunshine until a person wielding a noisy strimmer came along and we retreated inside where the noise of a sports game on the television was marginally less obtrusive. After an ample lunch just four walkers took advantage of the glorious day and walked west via the nearby gravel pits. Here stands a concrete marker, which at first glance looks like a Trig Point but in fact bears a commemorative plaque awarded by SAGA (the Sand and Gravel Pit Association) and marks a Restored Gravel Pit Award – they should be proud of this award; it is a pleasant and peaceful area.
The morning walk was 7kms/4.4miles and the day’s total 10kms/6.25miles
Forthcoming meetings (4th Tuesday monthly)
Meet 10.00 at The Star, Steeple 7kms/4.4miles (pm walk available)
Meet 10.00 outside Blackwater Bistro, Maylandsea, 6.5 km/4 miles (p.m. walk available)