Story and pics contributed by Jim Grundy.
A group of eleven IOGers met at Colchester Railway Station on Sunday for a nine-mile linear walk on mainly good footpaths giving pleasant views along the River Colne. The weather was changeable, fairly cold and overcast but occasional bursts of warm sunshine and we were spared rain – so fine hiking weather.
From the station it was a short walk through the town centre before entering Cymbeline Meadow, where we found an unexpected display of bluebells between Spring and Baker’s Lanes.
From there we walked across the second large part of Colchester Golf course, marked by public footpath signs on the course and also on the OS Map. Most golfers are fairly OK with this, but they always just look so surprised to see walkers on “their” green. This time we only received one sarcastic comment; I think he thought he was being hilariously funny – but wasn’t.
From the golf course we followed a path that joins a lane that took us around the outskirts of the village of West Bergholt, following it to Cooks Hall farm and then joining the Essex Way.
Our lunch spot was around the six-mile mark, behind the Mill Race Garden Centre in Aldham; it is a nice spot by the River Colne where you can hire row boats.
The walk finished at the impressive, brick-built Chappel Viaduct and we had a well-earned drink at the Swan Inn before walking a few hundred yards up the road to catch a train back to Colchester.