Text and pics contributed by Christina
On Sunday, a few of us met at Braintree Station car park for a relaxing stroll in the Braintree area. The paths we took were all carefully selected by Glen, the IOG’s appointed Mastermind of Multiple Meanders. When sauntering briefly alongside the River Blackwater in a park setting, we spotted bluebells everywhere. The noisy hammering of a nearby woodpecker who remained well hidden was a welcome sound. Several paths offered interesting views onto vast and open fields and we passed some interesting features, like Bocking Mill, a Grade 1 listed restored windmill and the splendid Deanery Church of ST Mary at Bocking, a late Gothic or perpendicular building, dating mainly from the 15th and 16th centuries. There, we stopped for lunch and were comfortably seated on benches, admiring the pretty flower beds in this very well managed church yard. I would have liked to go inside this attractive church, but there was a service at the time.
The second part of this walk led us across the River Pant, then we passed close to the Grade 1 listed Panfield Hall in lovely countryside before a short section through an industrial estate, rejoining rural vistas en route to Rayne. There we skirted All Saints Church on entering the village. We then proceeded along the tree-lined Flitch Way path from near Rayne back to Braintree station where we all had a meal together in a nearby pub restaurant.
A great spring day out in rural Essex.