Mount Bures is a very small village in the North Essex countryside.
The village takes its name from the mound or mount which is at the centre of the village. The mound was the site of an early defensive castle, which gives extensive views of the surrounding countryside. It was probably built during The Anarchy, a 12th century civil war from 1135 to 1153 over the Royal succession after the death of the only legitimate son of Henry 1st. Nowadays you can climb to the top of the mound via a set of steps that have been set in to the side. It’s a strange feeling to stand on top of the mound, which surely wasn’t meant to survive 900 years, thinking about a long forgotten period in our history.
The Bures in the name comes from the Anglo Saxon word bur which meant building or settlement.
To the north of the village is Wakes Colne, and to the south is the River Stour, which is often described as one of the most beautiful rivers in England.
Each spring, the village holds a Flower Festival and Open Gardens weekend. The flower festival takes place in the village church of St John the Baptist. It’s a Grade 1 listed building, and there has been a church on the same site since the 12th century, so it would have been known to the villagers during the Anarchy. It’s only a small church, but is clearly loved by its parishioners and the community, and was beautifully decorated for the flower festival.
After visiting the mound and the church we walked in to the village to visit the gardens. There were large formal gardens, and small cottage gardens to see. They were all very different, but the one thing they have in common is that their owners love them and spent many hours caring for them. Along with the open gardens there were also scarecrows in many front gardens. Our favourite was the BT workman in his hi-viz jacket working down a hole in the road. We certainly did a double-take to make sure he wasn’t real.
We’d had a burger from the local farm shop who had set up a little stall in the churchyard at the beginning of our visit, and we finished off with tea and home-made cake in the village hall at the end of the afternoon. A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Of course, the flower festival and open garden event only happens over one weekend of the year, but the countryside around the village is very good for walking at any time of the year. There’s some useful information on walking in the area on the Ordnance Surveys GetOutside website . And here’ an article we wrote about a winter walk we went on around Mount Bures and Bures.