We were 15 sweat-soaked and tired walkers when we returned to the Swan at Little Totham. Long cold drinks were essential and the pre-ordered food was needed to revive us – and it soon did. With high humidity after overnight rain combined with a high temperature, it was possibly the hottest walk we have done and, although an undemanding walk, was sometimes a struggle especially across one field of rape. Over the previous weekend a farmer had thankfully mown the edge of one field where the footpath ran, clearing it of stinging nettles and long grass. Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, the road and field patterns in this area remain much as they were at the Domesday survey of 1085.
Quiet country roads, distant views of the River Blackwater and of the church standing alone at Beckingham Hall, and large expanses of farmland (we counted 5 different crops), dominated the walk. We passed through the tranquil village of Tolleshunt Major, through three gardens (one, Little Totham Hall dates back to the 12th century which we could only glimpse but saw and heard two peacocks in the grounds). We found some horses to pat (always an attraction!).
We admired period houses with decorative chimneys and paused at All Saints Church, Little Totham. The church is a Grade 1 listed building, has a 12th-century nave and 14th-century chancel and the north door dates from the 11th century and is said to be the oldest recorded church door in the United Kingdom and is nationally important in terms of its ironwork. We had time for a brief look at the interior.
Passing reservoirs, walking along what seemed to be an ancient ‘green lane’ joining Little Totham Hall to the moated Moors Farm, we meandered back to the Swan.
4.6 miles/7.3 kms