The fine weather continued on Tuesday as we again went out walking. As I’ve only recently moved to the area, all the open countryside around where we live (between Chelmsford and Colchester) is hitherto unconquered. We settled on a walk that saw us make strides along the banks of the River Chelmer, this in turn saw us venture further on up the Chelmer Valley. Parking in the car park opposite the magnificent St John the Evangelist church, we got our supplies together while admiring this wonderful building. This lovely church was built in 1870 on an osier bed (a place where willow trees are grown). Designed by Frederic Chancellor, it has a super-confident cat slide roof over the south aisle. The simple interior has wonderfully precise brickwork and a lovely arcade to the south aisle and windows of cathedral glass. The unstable ground led to the demolition of the east end of the church in 1985, and for many years the tower it was believed was unsafe for bell-ringing, but now (since 2005) the 6 bells (the lightest of its type in Essex) ring out again. Statues of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John guard the corners of the tower.
Moving on by the church we passed through a farm yard, before connecting to the footpath which brought us through a wood, before giving us the first glimpse of the Chelmer. The River Chelmer is a river that flows entirely through the county of Essex, the source of the river is near Debden Green, a village near Thaxted. The source of the River Can is also nearby. The River Chelmer flows past Thaxted, south through the district of Uttlesford around the northeast of Great Dunmow. It then continues flowing south-southeast into the City of Chelmsford where the River Can flows into it. It then flows east through the city and into the district of Maldon until it meets the River Blackwater near Maldon. It then discharges into the North Sea via the Blackwater Estuary.
In the past the river was also part of an industrial canal system called “The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation”. The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Company was found by act of parliament in 1793. Work started soon afterwards, and although John Rennie was officially Chief Engineer, the project was managed by Richard Coates, who had also assisted Rennie on the Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation. Work commenced on constructing the navigation canal from Chelmsford to Colliers Reach in the tidal estuary of the River Blackwater. The work was completed in 1797. The navigation mainly followed the course of the River Chelmer from Chelmsford to Beeleigh near Maldon. From there it continued through a short cut and then followed the course of the River Blackwater to Heybridge.
The sun shone brightly as we made our way through the fields along the river to a spot where we decided to have our picnic. Out came the rug, the food and the camera. Unfortunately at the same time along came the clouds. It didn’t make much difference though it just got a bit chilly when the sun went in, but after all it was still April. We noticed on our walk a lot of funny looking things which Ginny said looked like “big flower pots with hats on” not sure what they were though ? After our picnic we went and had a look at the old brewery.
The Ridley’s Brewery at Hartford End was built by Thomas Ridley in 1842, and closed by Greene King who took over the brewery in 2005, such a shame that this local brewery doesn’t produce anything now and looks a little derelict. Established in 1842 it had a proud tradition of independence. It was one of the last breweries to stop using wooden casks. It was a tragedy for beer lovers that in 2005 the business was sold to Greene King. Greene King seemed to be determined to rid as much of the country of their traditional local brews as they could, this started by aping Whitbread and Watney’s in the 1960’s and 1970’s.So now any remaining local brew are not local and brewed at one central source. Chelmsford’s other brewery Grays was also axed by Greene King in the 1950’s.
We decided to return to the car and have a lunch time pint and after driving through Felsted, we ended up at the Dukes Head at Hatfield Broad Oak. After just one pint each, we then decided to finish our picnic in the Roding Valley.After parking the car near Beauchamp Roding we stripped off and headed into the countryside. After such a soggy start to 2013 the crops are only now starting to grow,but it wasn’t unpleasant as we walked unhindered through the fields.
Naturism is after all a pleasurable activity and what better way to enjoy it, by walking through the fields on a pleasant sunny spring day. After about half an hour we encountered a wooded area where we took some photos and also a short video. For a first video it’s not bad, shame though the only thing I wasn’t wearing was a smile. In the wooded area we also spotted a rusty old Ford Anglia with trees growing around it.
It had been there sometime,as the trees we almost fully grown, so we reckoned that it must have been there since around the mid-seventies. We walked further on through the footpath which engaged with 3 others in the middle of the woods. As the clouds rolled over it cooled, so we decided that it was time to go home, we got dressed and went back to the car. Hopefully the weather will stay fine a little longer,at least till Sunday so that we can continue our naturist adventures.
and finally the video…..don’t laugh…its not a classic !