North West Essex hills and pretty villages
23.7 km (14.7 mi)
OS Landranger 154; Explorer 194, 195
5 out of 10.
This is a relaxing walk in the quiet chalky uplands of north-west Essex, on the borders of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, very much off the beaten track, and with gently rolling hills, plenty of woods and copses as well as some pretty villages. Right from the start the walk takes you past picturesque thatched cottages with ample examples of pargeting, a decorative medieval plastering technique, and on through some farmland to the early lunch stop in Arkesden, one of the prettiest villages in Essex with one of the best pubs and loveliest churches.
The route then gently ascends to Chrishall, the dedicated lunch stop on the full walk, along field boundaries and green lanes. Chrishall village is close to Essex’ highest point and the approach offers fine views into a corner of the Cambridgeshire plain and back down the wide ‘winding valley’ that gives Wendens Ambo its name. After lunch you follow the Icknield Way to Elmdon, with more views north out across the Cambridgeshire plain to Cambridge, then later alongside a high hedge with views off to your right into the winding valley back to Wendens Ambo.
It is possible to shorten the walk by 6.2 km (3.9 mi), this cuts out most of the higher ground including the outlying villages of Chrishall and Elmdon and is rated 3/10.
Audley End station is on the West Anglia Main Line from Liverpool Street to Cambridge (two trains per hour), with a journey time of between 53 to 63 minutes. Trains usually stop at Tottenham Hale for connections with Stratford services and the Victoria Line.
|Saturday Walkers Club||Take the train closest to 10.30 hours if intending to eat in Arkesden, or the train closest to 9.30 hours if intending to eat in Chrishall, and if walking the extended walk.|
|Lunch and Tea||
The Axe & Compasses, Arkesden, CB11 4EX (01799 550 272). The Axe & Compasses is located 4.9 km (3.0 mi) into the walk and a fine example of a family-run 17th century traditional thatched country pub and restaurant.
The Bell Inn, Royston Road, Wendens Ambo, CB11 4JY (01799 540 382). The Bell is located 830m from the station.
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Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk