Stile in Hedge Gap

SWC Walk 159 South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge

05-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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The Old Churchyard, East Hanningfield (III)

SWC Walk 159 South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge

05-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Fieldscape (III)

SWC Walk 159 South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge

05-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Charity Lane (Track)

SWC Walk 159 South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge

05-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Hawe's Wood

SWC Walk 159 South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge

05-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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A wheat field

South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge

06-Jul-13 • moontiger on Flickr

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Big tree

South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge

06-Jul-13 • moontiger on Flickr

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South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge walk

Long and varied walk in the Crouch valley across hilly parts of Essex, with some challenging field crossings and a serene riverside finish.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date # Post
Sun, 15-Jul-18 4

Sunday Walk: South Woodham Ferrers Circular - or to North Fambridge

SWC walk 159
The circular version of this walk is 11.9 miles 19.2 km Difficulty 4/10
The full walk to North Fambridge is either 14.1 or 15.9 miles (22.7 or 25.5 km) depending on how full you want it. Difficulty 5/10.
You could even extend it to 17.8 miles 28.6km if you really wanted (just saying).
This varied and (for Essex) fairly hilly walk offers splendid views of the Crouch Valley.
The circular's length seems more amenable for a Sunday. However, if you push on to North Fambridge you pass the CAMRA award winning Prince of Wales and end with a serene finish along the River Crouch and through a salt-marsh Nature Reserve.
Trains Get the 10:14 Southend train from Liverpool St (Stratford 10:21) changing at Wickford (arr 11:03, dep 11:06 from platform 1), arriving South Woodham Ferrers at 11:14. (As the connection at Wickford is tight, and the onward train is hourly, you might prefer to play safe and get the earlier 9:44 as far as Wickford).
Trains return from North Fambridge at xx:21 and South Woodham Ferrers at xx:26, changing at Wickford. Again, you have 3 min to change to the xx:40 (Platform 3) but at least it's onto a half hourly service.
Get a return to South Woodham Ferrers for the circular. A return to North Fambridge (the further station) is only slightly more and would cover both endings.
Lunch: The Folly Bistro, in East Hanningfield 01245 400 315. More of a pub than it sounds.
Tea places in South Woodham Ferrers:
Shaw Farm Old Wickford Road, South Woodham Ferrers, 01245 320916, Ex farm building with front rose gardens, huge back garden and lake.
The Whalebone Inn/Scrimshaw’s Restaurant Old Wickford Road, 01245 320231,
The Railway, Hullbridge Road, South Woodham Ferrers, 01245 320262
Tea places for N Fambridge
The Prince of Wales, Stow Maries, 01621 828 971 An early stop, renowned for its beer.
The Ferry Boat Inn, Ferry Road, North Fambridge, 01621 740208, A 500 year old riverside pub.
Directions here
T=swc.159
4 in weather hot with a refreshing breeze.
The start was ominous, as the first arable fields were of the rape oilseed without a path variety, meaning a frantic search for the least annoying route through the growth. Not anyone's idea of fun, especially in blazing sunshine...
It's all about the farmer though: this one clearly didn't care one bit for walker's rights and needs, having made no attempt to plough/flatten/torch the rights of way, or at least keep the field boundary walkable. For the rest of the day though, all other fields had a wide and well cleared path (courtesy of Roundup mainly, rather than the plough) where there was a right of way across, or a well mown wide grassy margin.
We got to The Folly Bistro around 1.30, just as a large indoor table was vacated. Food was tasty (as was the ice cream) and on we went. All 4 walked the full walk to North Fambridge, but the heat (and the hope of catching some World Cup final action) prompted us to pay an afternoon visit to The Prince of Wales in Stow Maries en route.
In Fambridge, one then took the shortcut to the station. All were reunited though on the 19.21 train, as the others' plans to dine at The Ferry Inn before the final stretch along the river came to nothing as they don't do food on Sunday evenings. There is new ownership at this pub and Planning Permission for a grand refurb and partial rebuild, so the pub will soon close down for a few months...
A fab day out.
Sun, 03-Dec-17 6

Sunday Walk: Hills in Essex, a Man in the Moon – let's see on South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge

SWC 159: A varied walk in the Crouch Valley across hilly parts of Essex with some undulating hills, woods and a serene finish along the River Crouch t=swc.159

Train: Take the 9:14 AM Southend Victoria train from London Liverpool Street (Stratford 9:21 AM) to South Woodham Ferrers, arriving at 10:14 AM with a change at Wickford (arriving 10:03 AM and departing 10:06 AM). Return trains from North Fambridge are at 21 minutes past the hour until 22:21 Buy a day return North Fambridge. Please note the tight connection time in the morning and move swiftly at Wickford....

Distance: 11.9; 14.1 or 15.9 miles (19.2; 22.6 or 25.5 in new money)

Difficulty: 4, 5 or 6 out of 10 (depending on distance chosen)

This walk explores the hilly section of Essex with splendid views of the Crouch Valley and some undulating landscape. After some initial fields it crosses rolling hills past an RHS Garden. The afternoon features some woods before finishing along the tidal River Crouch. The main walk may be a bit long for some at this time of year; but there are two shorter routes also available for which there should be ample time to complete in daylight. A decision does not need to be made as to what option you take until fairly late in the walk, well after lunch. The shortest option circles back to South Woodham Ferrers and the medium option has a more direct route to the station (skipping the tea stop and missing out on the river). As Sunday is the full moon, if conditions are clear, it could be very atmospheric to finsh the walk (and possibly extend it) in the moon light along the River Crouch and the grassy salt marshes of the Blue House Farm Nature Reserve. More information and the directions can be found here.

Lunch will be at the Folly Bistro in East Hanningfield (01245 400 315), a newly refurbished bistro pub about 5.5 miles/9.0 km from the start of the walk.

The recommended tea stop is the Ferry Boat Inn in North Fambridge located 1.3 mile/2.1 km from the end of the walk on the standard ending. The area around North Fambridge itself seems a bit sparse in terms of amenities. For those ending in South Woodham Ferrers, there are a couple of options not too far from the station: The Railway; Shaw Farm and the Whalebone Inn.

Enjoy the walk!
6 set off under heavy clouds for an exploration of the Essex hills we had been promised....Indeed, in addition to a number of fields, this part of Essex also contains a number of undulating hills affording some good views across the Crouch Valley particular highlights on the route included passing through an atmospheric abandoned churchyard and along side the remnants of a WW I airstrip. The lunch pub is more of a restaurant with some mixed reviews but service fast enough that the three diners and the three sandwich eaters were able to set off together for the afternoon leg under somewhat clearer skies (giving hope to one (at least) that the full moon might break through the cloud cover). Two opted for the shorter circular route back to South Woodham Ferrers and 4 carried on along the main route to North Fambridge, reaching the charming Ferry Inn just as it got dark at 4:30 PM. We had time for one quick drink before making our way to the station for the 5:21, sadly with no moon insight....maybe next month....
Sun, 31-Jul-16 1

Sunday walk 2 South Woodham Ferrers Circular/ SWF to North Fambridge

South Woodham Ferrers Circular / SWF to North Fambridge
SWC walk 159

The circular version of this walk is 11.9 miles 19.2 km Difficulty 4/10
The full walk to North Fambridge is either 14.1 or 15.9 miles (22.7 or 25.5 km) depending on how full you want to make it. Difficulty 5/10.
Real hardnuts (and by that, I mean the macadamia - hardest of all the nuts) could even extend it to 17.8 miles 28.6km.
This varied and (for Essex) fairly hilly walk offers splendid views of the Crouch Valley. It winds its way out of South Woodham Ferrers through fields, over rolling hills, past an RHS Garden, an overgrown cemetery and more fields to lunch. On return, near SWF you can choose whether to end there or go further.
The circular option seems more more appropriate for Sunday, lengthwise. However there are compelling reasons for pushing on to North Fambridge. One is the CAMRA-award-winning Prince of Wales en route. Another is the serene finish, along the tidal River Crouch and through the salt marshes of a Nature Reserve.

Trains Get the 10:14 Southend train from Liverpool St (Stratford 10:21) changing at Wickford to a Southminster train (arr 11:03 dep 11:06), arriving South Woodham Ferrers at 11:14. The connection at Wickford is tight and hourly so, if you're early enough, you might prefer to get the 9:44 as far as Wickford.
Trains return from South Woodham Ferrers at xx:26, changing at Wickford. Again, you have only 3 mins to get the xx:40 on Platform 3 so don’t hang about (connections are half-hourly this direction).
Trains return from North Fambridge at xx:21, also changing at Wickford.
Get a return to South Woodham Ferrers for the circular or North Fambridge for the longer. A return to North Fambridge (the further station) is only slightly more and would cover both endings.

Lunch: The Folly Bistro in East Hanningfield 01245 400 315 Formerly the "Windmill Tavern". (More pub than bistro last time we visited)

Tea places in South Woodham Ferrers:
Shaw Farm Old Wickford Road, South Woodham Ferrers, 01245 320916, Ex farm building with rose gardens, huge back garden and lake. Has recently changed hands.
The Whalebone Inn/Scrimshaw’s Restaurant Old Wickford Road, 01245 320231,
The Railway, Hullbridge Road, South Woodham Ferrers, 01245 320262
Tea Places for N Fambridge
The Prince of Wales, Stow Maries, 01621 828 971 An early stop, renowned for its beer.
The Ferry Boat Inn, Ferry Road, North Fambridge, 01621 740208, A 500 year old riverside pub.

Directions here
T=swc.159
Just me so 1 on this walk! Weather fine and dry and fairly warm. Bitter experience has taught me what sort of state Essex paths can be in when its high summer. (Basically when you see a right of way bisecting fields there is a good chance it will be overgrown.) I therefore decided to improvise my own walk to North Fambridge cutting out much of the endless fields to the west and having a sandwich lunch on a bench in a lovely churchyard with fine views and then a drink at a nearby pub in Woodham Ferrers. (I don't think it did food.)
I then crossed fields on ahem public rights of way although the last time any member of the public did them was probably in the late Jurassic period!) before picking up the walk route to North Fambridge and a cuppa at the Ferry Boat. All in all I did just over 16km and the highlight was coming across a beautiful peacock butterfly on a path. I tried to take a photo but it closed its wings and then flew off......

Sun, 04-Oct-15 12

Sunday First Walk - Essex hills & fields

Extra Walk 159a, South Woodham Ferrers Circular
Length: 19.2km (11.4 miles) Toughness: 4/10

10:14 Southend-on-Sea train from Liverpool Street, changing at Wickford (arr 11:03, dep 11:06) and arriving at South Woodham Ferrers at 11:14.

Return trains are at xx:27 (journey time 62 minutes). The trains leave North Fambridge 5 minutes earlier.

This varied and hilly walk, with fine views of the Crouch valley, is an alternative ending to the South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge walk. Those with sufficient stamina should find they have enough daylight to complete the full walk (15.9 miles), which continues along a disused railway line and down to the banks of the River Crouch after taking tea in North Fambridge.

If you’re undecided whether to do the full walk or the circular option, buy a Super Off-Peak Day Return to North Fambridge, which costs only 40 pence more than a return to South Woodham Ferrers.

In the walk directions the recommended lunch pub is The Windmill in East Hanningfield, but this has now been relaunched as a bistro pub, The Folly (01245 400315). If you'd like to eat there, please call them as you set off on the walk.

If you prefer a more traditional pub, take a look at The Bell (01245 320443) in Woodham Ferrers, which you'll pass about 40 minutes from the start. That's probably too early for lunch, but you'll pass near it again about a couple of hours later (assuming you don't stop at The Folly) so if you can hold out till then for your lunch, tell The Bell that you'll be coming back for food. They stop serving food about 2:00pm so you can't afford to dawdle if you plan to eat there. To reach the pub as you return through Woodham Ferrers, just keep straight on down the main road instead of turning left after passing the Congregational Church. Retrace your steps to that point afterwards.

You will need to download the Walk Directions.
12 warm and sunny

12 off the train at South Woodham Ferrers. One dropped off before lunch to visit the RHS Garden Hyde Hall. 7 had some lunch at The Folly and found it very good. 4 walked the long version, stopping for some supper and drinks at The Ferry Boat Inn in North Fambridge. Despite the fact that night had already fallen, said 4 took the extension route along the sea wall to the station. It didn't go quite as planned, but spirits remained high and everyone made it back to London in one piece.

The walk has a lot of field crossings and at this time of year, with freshly ploughed fields, would be hard going after rain. Lots of great views over the course of the day.

Directions being updated based on notes taken during the walk.
I was slightly behind and got a bit confused at the Hawes Wood junction in fact, I didn’t recognise it as a T junction because it’s more of a cross paths. Going straight on eventually brings you down to the Stowe Marie Road which answered my question “do I detour to the Prince of Wales?”. This road, though, has fast traffic and narrow overgrown verges. Anyone considering detouring to Stowe Marie on their way back to SWF should be prepared to retrace the proper walk back up to the Hawes Wood junction rather than attempt the shorter route along the road. That would be dodgy in a less than sober state. Not that I was in such a state, mind you. But, yes, I did retrace the path back up the hill.
Sat, 06-Jul-13 4 South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge
Sat, 07-Jul-12 South Woodham Ferrers to North Fambridge