23 June 2020: Danbury to Springfield
Start point grid reference: TL 771 053GPX file
My wife and I started this walk at the Danbury end of Riffhams Lane. This goes past some very nice houses before reaching a wood. Vehicles frequently use this road. We could have taken the footpath opposite Elms Green Lane, which leads through Great Graces Farm, but opted to continue along Riffhams Lane, which is part of the Saffron Trail.
On reaching the end of Riffhams Lane we turned left into Graces Lane. There are often sheep grazing in the field opposite but there were none there this morning. We did notice that at a cedar in the field had died.
It is possible to move on to a footpath that at one point runs parallel to Graces Lane on the left but we again continued straight on. There were sheep here in the field to the left.
A little way further along we did take the footpath up to the right and then immediately the left fork on the path, which leads between orchards. This comes out at Graces Farm at the top of Grace’s Walk.
Grace’s Walk must have been an important route at one time. Now it is just a bridle path but it is very wide and goes between hedges and trees. We passed a field of young maize on our left and a field of nearly-ripe barley on our right. We sat in some shade by the edge of the barley field to drink the water and eat the biscuits we had brought with us.
Grace’s Walk leads down to Hammonds Road. A footpath on the opposite side of the road crosses two fields to reach a footbridge over the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation.
When we got over the footbridge I made my mistake. I turned left to take the towpath to Sandford Mill Lock. The more pleasant route is to turn right and then take the follow the towpath and take the path on the left beyond Cuton Lock. This skirts the northern boundary of Chelmer Village and goes past Cuton Hall to meet Cuton Hall Lane.
However, as I said, I made a mistake and turned left. At Sandford Mill Lock we took the road on the right, which goes past the sewage works and becomes Brook End Road (South). Once past Brook End this is a fairly pleasant country road leading past allotments and fields before reaching Chancellor Park School and the outskirts of Chelmer Village. Brook End Road (South) leads to Brook End Road (North), which comes out at Chelmer Village Way.
At Chelmer Village Way we turned right and followed the main road round to the roundabout at Chelmer Road, where we walked under the bridge to Springfield Road. We walked a short distance down Springfield Road to cross at the pedestrian crossing.
When we were safely across the road, we turned right and walked to the corner with Pump Lane. Just by the railway bridge one can access one of Springfield’s hidden gems, a footpath that leads beside the railway line to reach Springfield Green.