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Essex Walks: Roxwell


  1. Description
  2. Directions
  3. Photos
  4. History

Description & Map

Title: Roxwell
Distance: 4 miles
Time taken: 1½ hours
Location: 4 miles north-west of Chelmsford
OS Explorer Map: 183
Grid Ref.: TL 645 086
Parking: [Limited] The Street, Roxwell, CM1 4PA (one car only)
Bus:bus No.46 - 4 times a day (Chelmsford - Ongar)
Train: No train service
Refreshment: The Chequers, CM1 4PD, 01245 248240
The Village Store, CM1 4PD
PEAR Rating: PEAR Rating Parking: 2/3 Easiness: 3/3 Amenity: 2/3 Refreshments: 2/3

 
[Click image to enlarge]

OS map extract 
[Click image to enlarge]

Download and print all 3 for your walk: 1. pdf Download Directions PDF
2. pdf Download PDF photo-set
3. pdf Download Roxwell Map PDF
View online on 3 different interactive maps: Link to full screen os map Roxwell Map (Ordnance Survey)
Link to full screen Google map Roxwell Map (Google)
Bing map Roxwell Map (Bing OS 1:25k)
Additional information: gpx GPX track
Elevation View Elevation Profile
Display local weather (toggle) Roxwell Weather
Trees on route Boating Lake Horse paddocks Skreens Park Wood

Walk Description  

On this walk you can enjoy the relatively unspoilt character of the village, remarkable in view of its proximity to Chelmsford. The walk takes you along Roxwell Brook, a tributary of the River Can, on nice wide grassy field edges and through paddocks full of friendly horses. (Dogs on tight leads please). After passing a scenic boating lake, the route curves around Skreens Park, the scouting centre, then returns through open fields and more horse paddocks back to the site of the former Roxwell Mill. This is an easy little walk through open flat farmland with a short section in the wood at Skreens Park. There are 10 stiles to navigate. The route taken follows the signage on the ground - which doesn't always follow the exact path marked on the latest OS maps.

Directions

pdf Download Description & Directions PDF here

A. From the parking (P) in Roxwell, find the footpath to the right of the Parish Church on The Street (1).
B. Head south on the footpath past the church for 150 yards and emerge onto the corner of a residential road 'Church Green' (2).
C. Turn right to the end of the road, and take the footpath on the left between hedge and shed. In 40 yards this leads to a stile over-looking an arable crop (3).
D. Across the crop, about 150 yards away, you should see the eastern corner of the hedge which borders the playing fields. Head for this, and then carry on in the same south-westerly direction, with the hedge to your right for about another 100 yards. Look out for the gap in the fenced hedge leading into the football and cricket grounds (4).
E. Enter the playing fields through the gap, keeping to the right edge, heading towards the right side of the cricket pavilion. Go behind the pavilion, through the parking area, and down a short track to the road (Stonehill Road) (5).
F. Turn left, away from the village, and walk down this quiet road for about one fifth of a mile when you should reach Tye Cottage on your left. Just opposite is a footpath heading north west along a low wooden fence (6).
G. This footpath will take you to a line of trees running alongside Roxwell Brook. Cross over the footbridge, and the stile, (7) and turn left into the open horse pasture.
H. Head south south east for another 250 yards where you will have another stile to climb into the next pasture (8).
I. Carry on following the line of the brook for about half a mile, until you reach the corner of the crop field, just before Patience Bridge. Staying on this side of the fence/hedge in front of you, turn right uphill, along the field edge (9).
J. Follow the field edge north west until you come to the brow of the hill where footpaths cross. A waywarker points you straight ahead north west across the crop towards a line of trees bordering Skreens Park and the Boating Lake (10).
K. You are looking for a stile hidden in the hedge and trees to the left of the boating lake (11).
L. Once over the stile, bear left to cross the field diagonally. You will see the Skreens Park huts ahead and to your right, but the easiest way to navigate this part of the walk is to keep fairly close to the hedge on your left and follow it in a general north-westerly direction. You are looking for a tall white-topped wooden post in the top corner of the field, directly west of the building complex. This post leads you to an exit from the field via a stile (12).
M. Once over the stile, immediately turn right towards a concrete track 130 yards to the north. When you reach the concrete track, turn right towards the wooded area, where the concrete gives way to a wide woodland footpath (13), skirting the northern perimeter of the Skreens Activity Centre.
N. As you emerge from the enclosed path, you will see an isolated cottage in front of you. This is Hawthorn Cottage (14). Turn left in front of the cottage, go over (or squeeze past) the stile and turn right along the back of the house.
O. After 60 yards, the fenceline stops. Carry on in the same direction towards a wooden electricity supply pole about 200 yards away. Exit the field onto the track, and enter the neighbouring field by the waymarker post to the right of the oak tree (15).
P. From this side of the field, you will see the red brick buildings of the Grade II listed Tye Hall. To the left of these are large barns where you are heading. Cross the field in a straight line towards a post and opening in the hedge in front of the barns (16). After crossing the footbridge, keep straight ahead passing to the left of the large open barn, with a short hedgeline on your left.
Q. Carry on west, around the pond, and back into the open field, which after 260 yards funnels into a pair of stiles to traverse (17).
R. In the next pasture, ignore the misleading direction of the fingerpost, and instead keep left. The stile you are looking for is to the left of a line of trees in the north west (top-left) corner of the field (18).
S. Carry on through the paddocks in a north east direction. Ahead of you about 300 yards you will see the red brick and tile of the residential property now occupying the site of the original mill, demolished in 2003. Climb over the stile in the middle of the fencing and and turn right in front of the house via the footbridge (19).
T. Carry on up the grassy path a few steps and look for a waymarked turning to the left. Follow this along the black-fenced perimeter of the house for about 50 yards and emerge into, once again, horse paddocks. This continues north east to a gate at the corner of Stonehill Road and The Street (20). From here your start point is 200 yards away, with the Chequers pub and Village Store another 100 yards after that.

pdf Download Description & Directions PDF here

Photos

Download PDF photo-set here pdf
P Roxwell Hall 1 Roxwell 2 Roxwell
3 Roxwell 4 Roxwell 5 Roxwell
6 Roxwell 7 Roxwell 8 Roxwell
9 Roxwell 10Roxwell 11Roxwell
12Roxwell 13Roxwell 14Roxwell
15Electricity wires 16Tye Hall 17
18Roxwell 19Bridge 20The Street

History

 
 
Mill Mill Sluice Gate

Roxwell Mill

Mills were a fundamental part of life from the earliest times because they were used to produce food and clothes. Water mills could be built on the smallest of stream and brooks to serve the local needs of the village community without having to rely on the primitive road network for supplies. All that remains of many mills are the names of nearby lanes, fields and houses. Roxwell mill itself has gone but the narrow drop through the sluice gate to form the millrace is still visible where the water wheel would have been.

The earliest known miller working at Roxwell Mill was Joseph Cooch. His father, of Hill Farm, bought the mill in 1780 and left it to him on his death in 1786. The Mill and Roxwell Windmill stayed in the Cooch family for at least another 150 years.

The invention of the steam engine in the early 1800's changed the character of the traditional water mill. In an effort to compete with the new technology, steam engines were added to assist the water wheel rather than replace it. As a result tall chimneys with brick built boiler houses were attached to many Essex mills. The steam era lasted from 1840 to 1880 when it was superseded by new horizontal grinding rollers electrically driven by turbines. Roxwell Mill continued to use steam until 1901 when its boiler blew up in dramatic fashion. A postcard of the mill in the 1920s shows all traces of chimney and boiler had been removed.

With the current quest for renewable energy, people are again looking at traditional hydro-power technology. Perhaps the millrace at Roxwell has the potential for supplying, once again, some cheap clean power for the locality, and thereby re-continue a rural tradition that has spanned centuries of Essex life?

 
 
St Michael and All Angels St Michael and All Angels Church organ pipes

St Michael's and All Angels

A small chapel linked to Writtle Church was originally on the site of St Michael's, built at some time before 1270. In the 14th century, the jurisdiction of the chapel passed from the Bishop of Winchester to New College, Oxford which he founded. The link with Writtle existed until Roxwell was designated a separate vicarage in 1851, but a payment of £20 in 1597 had released Roxwell parishioners from any liability for the maintenance of Writtle Church.

The church's bell turret, with shingled spire, was added in the 15th or 16th century. During the Victorian era, the church underwent considerable expansion and refurbishment with the north aisle, porch and vestry added in 1854. The chancel was heavily restored by F Chancellor in 1872, with the usual Victorian gusto.

 
 
Skreens Skreens Skreens Park
B&W photos from Lost Heritage - England's Demolished Country Houses

Skreens

The manor of Skreens, about a mile west of Roxwell, was held by the Skreene family in the 15th century. It passed to the Bramston family in 1635 when it was sold for a small fortune - £8000. William Bramston of Skreens was a prominent member of parliament representing Essex. He had remained neutral during the Civil War, and after being commended by King for reports on dangerous Quaker meetings in Essex, he was appointed to the committees for extending habeas corpus, preventing the growth of Popery, and abolishing the punishment of burning for heresy. An electoral reform bill of 1675 included a clause to reduce the excessive drinking which was so common during election campaigns - to which Bramston strongly objected:
'Essex is a great county, and the freeholders there come a great way to the election. Would have that considered in the bill, that they may not be debarred reasonable refreshment.'

His son, Thomas Bramston built a large mansion at Skreens in 1710, which remained in family ownership until its sale in 1906 to William Otho Nicholson Shaw. He died in 1910, and the mansion was subsequently demolished in 1920. The 55 acre site is now a Scout Association campsite and activity centre.