The old parish of Ramsden Crays and the ancient Church of St. Mary, Crays Hill, are among the highlights of the relaxing walk through the Essex Countryside.
Using Public Rights of Way
Some Circular Countryside Walks and Nature Trails incorporate Public Rights of Way in their routes. Public Rights of Way most often follow ancient footpaths and should be clearly marked. Where a Public Right of Way crosses privately owned land, walkers are expected to stick to the path and exercise due care and consideration.
See Public rights of way enforcement for further information and to report any problems encountered when using a Public Right of Way.
Planning your walk
Going by car, from the A129 - Southend Road, turn off at Coxes Farm Road. - Please consider farm traffic, other road users and residents, when parking. There are no designated parking areas.
- Walk from Coxes Farm Road round the corner into Outwood Farm Road, then turn right up the Tarmac path past Hummerstones Farm.
- Notice the hedgerow on your right - it could be over 500 years old. Hedgerows like this are valuable for wildlife, their variety of shrubs supporting insects, birds and wildflowers.
- Bearing left, you should spot the white flowers of the Jack-By-The-Hedge in Spring.
- Cross the stile and keep to the path along the field's edge.
- Now you pass an uncultivated field with young oaks. Small corners like this are havens for wildlife, wood mice and small mammals.
- The path bends to the left by a large English oak. Notice the amount of dead branches. There's a saying that an oak tree takes 200 years to grow and 200 years to die.
- The path continues over the River Crouch bridge. On the banks spot patches of Lesser Celandine in Spring.
- Cross a stile and enter Barrenleys Wood, with ash, oak, elm, wild cherry and wild service.
- Turn right, leaving the wood, and walk along a bridleway where horses and pedestrians pass. The path between fields widens here with groups of trees either side.
- You now pass a hedge and ditch on the left and open fields on the right.
- Turn right where the path divides by the churchyard. Here you can detour to see St. Mary's Church of Ramsden Crays.
- Returning to the route there is a small pond on your left surrounded by willows.
- Continuing, you pass field gates. Don't open them if closed - cattle are being moved.
- Turn sharp right and then left where the path may be wet and boggy.
- The path turns sharp right up a hill bringing you to drier soils on the Bagshot sands and gravels, laid down by the early River Thames 10 million years ago.
- Follow the path sharp left and keep an eye open for nests of solitary bees on bare patches of ground in summer.
- Pause at the hilltop and follow the path sloping downwards. Turn right when you reach the track at the bottom, then follow the road right back to the start.