Book 1, Walk 39 - Manningtree Circular
Length: 17.3km (10.7 miles) or 13.3km (8.3 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10 10.00
train from Liverpool Street
to Manningtree, arriving 10.55
For walk directions
Oh, I know there are some for whom "never do an Essex walk" is as firm a maxim as "never invade Russia", but this one is an exception
. This is the Essex walk which doesn't feel like an Essex walk
, and it is lovely
at this time of year. Ideally you want a day when white fluffy clouds stack up into an otherwise blue sky, and then you actually feel you are walking in a Constable painting
- which you are, because this is the exact scenery (and weather and time of year) that he painted.
If you are in a lazy summer frame of mind, the short cut
version of this walk (13.3km/8.5 miles
) also has a lot to recommend it. Unlike the main walk it takes you along lovely dreamy watermeadows along the River Stour
. Three of us once swum in this and lived to tell the tale (don't drink the water, though: livestock graze on its banks). The main walk avoids this treat, but does take in more Constable painting sites.
Tea is at a National Trust tea room
at Flatford Mill,
site of Constable's most famous painting, the Haywain, and then there is a pleasant walk across the fields to the station which has (or had when we last looked) a licensed bar and buffet - a bit of a 1970s time warp.
There are lots of trains back
to the smoke: at 02
minutes past (though not at 18.19 for some reason, at least not according to the online timetable).
The 02 trains are ten minutes slower: the other ones take one hour.
Arrive back at Liverpool Street and admire the lovely station architecture, a brilliant blend of traditional and modern. There, that wasn't too painful, was it?