This was almost a ‘normal’ walk – the only missing factor was the pub lunch. A group of 12 of us met in the Daisy Meadow car park, Heybridge Basin and with much chatter and a lot to catch up on, we set off for our jaunt together. Some group members had decided not to come due to the poor weather forecast; however, it was fine and anyway everyone had come prepared which was just as well because nearing the end of the walk, when we were congratulating ourselves on our luck at avoiding the showers, the heavens opened.
This was a new walk for the group. Instead of our usual southerly direction we headed north out of the village passing through the sailing club where a lake provided members with the ideal location for sailing their model radio-controlled yachts; it was most likely a competition or race of some kind as the radio operators faces were fixed in concentration. Following the seawall for a while we reached the now derelict Millbeach Pub. When David and I had reconnoitred this walk some months before, we were able to walk through the grounds but now it is fenced and we had to make a wide circuit of it to reach the Goldhanger Road, which we crossed. A local told us there were to be lodges built on the land there and when they were built, we would have to find a different route around it altogether.
Our footpath led us through a caravan park filled with static vans in varying states of dilapidation. Reaching farmland, it was a straight path heading east. This wide track gave us plenty of room to walk and chat and everyone made good use of that.
Going north again on a quiet lane we reached another wide track. Myriads of swallows flew low backwards and forwards across the fields feeding as they went, such a joy to see them all.
Preferring a shorter walk four of the group left us before we entered the Essex Wildlife Trust’s managed reserve, Chigborough Lakes. As the name implies the reserve has lakes and the remainder of us looped around two of them passing through bushes and trees and glimpses of the lakes. Not much wildlife on the water.
There is no avoiding a stretch of road from this point as the only footpath that would have done so leads to a large lake, goes through it and emerges out the other side – none of us felt like swimming! Unlike the locals we saw who were bravely swimming in the waters of the now risen tide.
We followed the meandering seawall back to the Basin where refreshments in the tearoom were well-earned.
8.72 kms / 5.45 miles