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Essex Walks: Wormingford


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

Description & Map

Title: Wormingford
Distance: 5+ miles
Time taken: 2 hours
Location: Between Bures and Great Horkesley, N.E.Essex
OS Explorer Map: 196 Sudbury, Hadleigh & Dedham Vale
Grid Ref.: TL 934 316
Parking: Church Road, Wormingford, CO6 3AD.
Bus:bus Chambers 753 Sudbury - Colchester
Train: No service
Refreshment: The Crown, Wormingford. Tel: 01787 227405
PEAR Rating: PEAR Rating Parking: 2/3 Easiness: 1/3 Amenity: 3/3 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 Wormingford Map PDF
View online on 3 different interactive maps: Link to full screen os map Wormingford Map (Ordnance Survey)
Link to full screen Google map Wormingford Map (Google)
Bing map Wormingford Map (Bing OS 1:25k)
Additional information: gpx GPX track
Elevation View Elevation Profile
Display local weather Wormingford Weather
Stour Valley The Lodge Airfield boundary Stumps River Stour Wisteria

Walk Description

The sleepy village of Wormingford sits on the southern bank of the River Stour with views across to Suffolk. The walk starts towards the south and skirts the boundary of the Essex and Suffolk Gliding Club, where you can see gliders landing on the wide open spaces of the airfield. The strange "Aeolian harp" sound produced by the rapid winch launch of the gliders is something that can be heard throughout the walk on a calm warm day. The route then descends towards the Stour Valley and passes through the grounds of Wormingford Hall, after which it passes over the rolling hills intersecting the Stour Valley Path. At the Stour itself there are picturesque views of the weir and river from Mill House and from the bridge that joins Suffolk and Essex. The return path meanders back over a varied route through the ancient part of Wormingford village with the Norman St Andrews Church, before returning to the main village. This walk is memorable because there is such a lot of open cross field walking involved, affording a sense of space and freedom as your senses drink in the vast expanses of countryside around you.

Directions

pdf Download Description & Directions PDF here

A. Park on Church Road, off the Main Road (B1058) (P)Walk back to the main road, turn left, and walk down the road for 500 yards until the houses on the left end with Wood Hall. Just past Wood Hall, take the track (Packards Lane) heading south (1) for nearly half a mile.
B. At a staggered junction with a bridleway, turn right onto the bridleway heading west, with the ditch to your left (2).
C. In a third of a mile you will reach Fordham Road. The entrance to the Gliding Club is on your left, but turn right and take the footpath via a footbridge opposite (3).
D. Follow the footpath with the hedge between you and the airfield for a quarter of a mile, until you reach the airfield's concrete perimeter footpath. Turn right here (4).
E. If you've come on the right day, you will see an impressive display of gliders being winched launched and landing. At a small raised reservoir, you will see a footpath to the right - ignore this and carry on round the perimeter track for another quarter of a mile. and take the footpath on the right heading across the field to a small clump of trees 100 yards away (5).
F. Going through the trees into the next field, turn right along the field edge and head down the hill for a third of a mile (6).
G. When you reach a junction of footpaths at the edge of a copse, carry on to the end of the copse where there is another FP crossroads signpost and turn right with a dog-leg back along the field edge in the direction of Wellhouse Farm. (7).
H. Emerging onto the farm track by the farm house, turn left passing Mill Bungalow (8). At the junction of Peartree Hill and Bell Hill, there is a footpath up the bank on the right (9). Take this and walk east across the field for 320 yards to a footbridge (10).
I. The footbridge leads into a meadow (11) which after another footbridge takes you up to Wormingford Hall. Turn right on the access road,(12) and look for a stile on the left behind the Hall.
J. Head roughly north east over the meadow land towards the stile crossing Sandy Hill (B1508) (13). Carry on over the undulating hills in a straight line (14), finally passing through a field edge gate on the hillside and carry on in a north easterly direction to the crest of Lodge Hills where you cross the Stour Valley Path.
K. With 'The Firs' to your left and behind you, pass through a metal kissing gate down the hill for 80 yards to the start of a fenced-off stream. (15) Turn left, again heading north east, so that the stream is on your right, and carry on downhill.
L. At the bottom of the field, there is a gate and a stile - climb over this and immediately turn right to cross the stream, and walk up to the gate into the grounds of Mill House (16). Follow the signs through to Mill Bridge.
M. Staying in Essex, walk up Mill Hill and turn right into Church Road until you see the turning on your left to Little Ashfield (17). Turn here and just after the cottage, turn right and follow the footpath through a wooded area and straight on down a gravel track heading south west from the Old Vicarage (18)
N. With a large barn in front of you, turn left onto Church Road for 90 yards and then take the track on the left towards the primary school. Just after the school entrance, you leave the Stour Valley Path and turn right (19).
O. Leaving the tree-covered area, south of the school, cross the field (about 300 yards), ignore the footpath branching off to the east and carry on through a gate to an enclosed footpath south back to Wormingford Main Road (20) where you turn right to return to your car in Church Road.

pdf Download Description & Directions PDF here

Photos

Download PDF photo-set here pdf
P Parking: Church Road 1 Packards Lane 2 Turn right onto bridleway
3 Fordham Road 4 Airfield footpath 5 Leaving Gliding Club perimeter
6 Downhill view with rapeseed 7 Near farm at Wormingford 8 Peartree Hill
9 Wormingford 10Wormingford 11Wormingford
12Wormingford Hall 13Wormingford 14Wormingford Fir Trees
15Kissing gate 16Mill House, Wormingford 17Little Ashfield
18Wormingford 19Wormingford 20Wormingford

History

Essex & Suffolk Gliding Club

Glider in sky RAF Wormingford began life in WW1. During WW2, it was originally designated as a base for heavy bombers, but instead, in 1943 became home to the USAF 362d Fighter Group flying P-47 Thunderbolt fighters as escorts to B-52 bombing missions. In 1944 the 55th Fighter Group moved in, flying P-51 Mustangs. After the war, the airfield was used for civil aviation and then returned to agricultural use.

In 1990 the airfield became the home of the Essex & Suffolk Gliding Club. The club uses a powerful winch to launch the gliders, and the sound of the wind whistling through the towrope as the gliders accelerates upwards at 45 degrees is something that can be heard throughout the walk on a calm day. Normal flying days are Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

 

St Andrews Church and the Worm

Stained Glass Window

After the Siege of Acre, and the end of the Jerusalem Crusades, Richard the Lionheart embarked for the Adriatic, taking with him a 'cokadrille' which was given to the King with other gifts in return for the support given to the claim of Lusignan to the throne of Jerusalem. The gift of this serpent or 'worm' with "great nails and talons" was at the time thought to be a dragon The King brought the beast to England in 1194 and lodged it in a strong cage at the Tower of London.

Over the years the beast had grown enormously and smashed its cage and escaped into the Thames. Eventually it found its way to that small settlement on the banks of the Stour called Withermundford devouring livestock and villagers along the way. The villagers were terrified at the new arrival and a rumour spread among them that it could only be pacified with human sacrifice and so long as the supply lasted they fed the creature with virgins to keep it happy. However, even in those days, Essex virgins were an extremely rare find and so the supply of food gave out. The villagers, in desperation, pleaded with Sir George Marney (of Layer de la Haye) telling the gallant knight that a fierce dragon had settled with them and which they had tried, in vain to slay with arrows which bounce from its hide and then had pacified it with virgins but, alas, there were no more virgins in the hundred.

The brave knight attacked the dragon with his lance and slew it, and from then to this day, the Parish has been called Wormiton, Wormington and Wormingford in memory of the 'Worm' or early word for Dragon. The battle is commemorated in the stained glass window of St Andrews Church in Wormingford.