Most of the routes on Essex Days Out so far have been put on following my solo cycling activities, which tend to be about going reasonably fast on reasonably quiet roads. This one is very much aimed at a more leisurely ride, keeping to the quiet country lanes, with plenty of options for refreshment breaks! It’s also the second one based on using the train to enable a route from A to B rather than a circular route from A back to A.
This morning we cycled 5 minutes from home to Colchester Town station on St. Botolphs Circus, for the 10:35 to London, stopping at lots of stations, including Kelvedon.
Here’s a picture of today’s route on the Gmaps Pedometer site. Click on the picture to load the full map in another window.
We got off at Kelvedon BR, heading down from the station and turning right to get onto the High Street. It’s a long street (imagine when it was once the main road to London from north Essex and Suffolk!) Keep an eye open for some lovely buildings of various architectural styles along each side of the road. There’s a cafe on the left if you need to get supplies for the ride!
At the end of the High Street turn left past a pub and head down the narrower lane straight ahead rather than keeping to the main road. Look out for the old Mill on the left just before you get to the bridge. Follow the signs for Inworth and Braxted, and in a moment you’ll have crossed over the A12.
At this point turn left for Inworth, and follow the quiet and narrow Highfields Lane. Turn right at the first t-junction, and head up the hill, and when you hit Grange Road, turn left at that t-junction. Follow that until you get to Kelvedon Road, where you will turn right to get into Tiptree.
This is a busy-ish road to navigate, but it’s not too bad, and it’s only for a short stretch. Keep an eye open for the windmill in the distance straight ahead! At the double mini-roundabout take a right and then a left to head into Tiptree. Admire the village as you cycle through.
Keep any eye open for the Exchange Cafe on the left, as you want to turn left at the junction it is on. Our recommendation is that you stop there for refreshment – they serve an excellent scone and tea, which we tried today. The also serve a huge full English breakfast – we didn’t have this as we didn’t think just 4 miles on the bike justified it, especially as we got chatting to a couple of Dutch women, some years older than us, who had just started a 2-day 200km ride from Harwich to SW London!
Another alternative for refereshments is the Wilkin & Son jam factory, about half a mile further down the road. Worth popping down to see if you’re not likely to be back for a while (they have a small museum and a shop as well as their tea shop).
Having turned left off the main road where The Exchange is, follow the Cycle Route 1 signs down Grove Road until you come out on Newbridge Road, where you turn left. Follow that road down, and then up, which is a bit of a climb, and at the crossroads which has the Mutley’s House dog kennels, turn right.
Follow that narrow road, bearing left (and keep an eye open to your right for Layer Marney Tower peeping over the trees). After you’ve climbed a bit, at a t-junction you can turn right to cycle down and look at Layer Marney Tower. Otherwise turn left to go to the crossroads at which you’ll turn right.
After a couple of hundred yards keep an eye open for the lovely house on the left, and then you’ll bear right and drop down Winters Road, and at the bottom you will turn left and climb up Shatters Road, which again is a bit of a climb. At the top of the road at the t-junction turn left, admiring the church on your right.
The route turns right at The Hare and Hounds pub. If you want a non-alcoholic refreshment, don’t turn right straight away, but carry on for a little while until you get to the Birch Gallery & Tea Room (link) (and then double back). Otherwise the pub is a good place for real ale and food.
Keeping the pub to your left, follow the lane which takes you down past some farm buildings (and up!) and bears right to Layer Cross. At the crossroads you go straight on, passing The Flying Fox, and then a general stores on the right. Or not, as the case may be.
This road bears left, becoming Abberton Road as you go past Malting Green on your right, a nice location for a picnic if you’ve brought one! If you really like your real ale, head down The Folley to your left to The Donkey & Buskins before doubling back.
On Abberton Road, keep an eye open for the left turn down a hill as the road turns right. Be warned, it is a steep hill! At the bottom is a sharp left over a stream, and then it’s to the right and up the hill, which is equally steep. And by the top of this hill, it’s going to hurt!
You’ll finally come to another junction. Straight ahead, and you’re on Berechurch Road, on tarmac which at the time of writing (and for several years) has been a disgrace. You could take the wide cycle track on the right behind the hedges, skirting the new army barracks.
At the bottom of Berechurch Road, you will drop down to come to some traffic lights. The quickest option here is to keep to the road and bear up the hill to the right until you come to a t-junction at Mersea Road. Turn left and the road drops you down to St. Botolph’s Roundabout. Keep to the left lane on the roundabout to get into the Colchester Town railway station.
If you want a slightly quieter route, after the lights bear left up the hill with Abbey Field to the left, and at the crossroads go straight ahead, and down through St. John’s Green. Push the bike through the underpass and when you get to St. John’s Street turn right and cycle down to Osborne Street where you hit the one-way, and push your bike the final bit along there to get to to Colchester Town railway station.
If you want to get to Colchester North mainline station, when you get to St. John’s Street, turn left and cycle up the hill past the Wetherspoon’s pub to your left. Turn right at the junction and go along Head Street with the Odeon to your left. At the lights keep to the left land and drop down North Hill, and go straight ahead up and over the bridge, and along North Station Road to the big roundabout. Straight across that, and at the next roundabout you’ll see the main station.
So, a lovely short-ish ride through some beautiful Essex countryside. Enjoy!