Great Dunmow - Flitch Way - Little Easton - Great Dunmow

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The name Dunmow meant "hill meadow" or "hill-fort" in Anglo-Saxon times. The oldest coin found here, made of tin, is now in the Ashmolean Museum and shows this was a trading area in very early times. The excellent wells which supplied water to these early peoples are still to be found behind almost every shop on the High Street. The Romans built a settlement here and you cross one of their former roads (Stane Street) on the walk. Queen Boudicca (Boadicea) burned down the Roman settlement and garrison station in 70AD.

At the time of the Doomsday Book, Dunmow had 7 manors and 70 families. At that time Chelmsford and nearby Braintree had fewer than six each! On the walk you will pass Doctor's Pond. This was named after a local doctor who used to keep his leeches in it. It was also used in 1784 to test the first unsinkable lifeboat. You also pass the Lock Up, later used by the Duchess of Warwick as a soup kitchen. It now has an old notice on its door which advertises a boot repairer's work "sewn work a speciality - prices moderate". The Starr Restaurant, an old coaching inn and the Saracen's Head Hotel, a large 16th Century posting inn formerly used by Cromwell, are also on your route.

Finally, it may be of interest to know a little more of the Dunmow Flitch Trials. This refers to a custom which originated at Little Dunmow Priory. It involves couples who have been happily married for at least a year and a day, coming to Dunmow to claim the Flitch of Bacon. Chaucer mentions this in The Wife of Bath's Tale. From 1701 a jury was introduced to hold the trial. Since the Second World War they have been held every four years. Queen Elizabeth II is the only reigning monarch to have been awarded the Flitch. This was after her golden wedding in 1997. It was returned to the town and shared between 17 local couples who were also celebrating their golden weddings.

England - East England - Essex - Countryside

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Great Views, Lake/Loch, Mostly Flat, Pub, Restaurant, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife
17/06/2012 - Janine Tregelles

We undertook this walk on the 17th June 2012. Beautiful day and beautiful walk. Just a few points that should be noted: 1. Starting road up from the memorial is no longer signed. 2. The land owner was cutting his grass around Brook End farm and was insistent that we followed the path with the hedge which is too close. We did so, but you can not walk along it so we went through the horse paddock. 3. As you arrive at GT Dunmow on the last leg, there is a new housing estate and the walk runs through but is not signposted well and sometimes at all. We just kept going and ended up back in the village.

30/08/2008 - Margaret Baldry

26.08.08 At point 12/13 lots of trees have grown up in the field so the route is not obvious, so at 13 pass through the gate and walk straight ahead, passing a clump of trees on your left and then one on your right. Continue ahead to a gap in the fence. Then 15.

30/08/2008 - Margaret Baldry

26.08.08 Walked this from point 12 to Dunmow the 1 to 8 , missing out the loop from 8 to 12 - lack of time. After crossing the new road between 21 and 22 we followed signs around the building site and found ourselves coming out to the B184 at about 625219 beside a pond which we assumed was Doctor's Pond, so missed the park. The route past the building site will presumably vary until building is complete. Also, signage for Flitch Way is poor to non-existent - the instructions were very re-assuring! Another enjoyable walk thank you.

19/10/2006 - Brian and Anne Sandland

Many thanks to Anne Swallow, Phil Lobley and Tania Caton for their helpful feedback on this walk. We have not had time to update it ourselves. However, it might be of interest to know that Doctor's Pond, near the end of the walk, is so named because a Dunmow doctor of former times used to use it for storing his leeches! Anne and Brian Sandland.

16/10/2006 - Tania Caton

Completed this walk on Sunday 15 October 2006. At point 21 - just after the stream, there is now a new road, you have to cross the road, go up the steep bank and continue walking straight ahead. There is then a new housing estate being built. You continue walking straight ahead until you reach the concrete track and then go down the path between the houses.

31/10/2003 - Anne Swallow

Did this one on Saturday. At point 21 after Ravens Farm the footpath is temporarily closed due to some development works. As no work was taking place on Saturday, we climbed through the fence but then had difficulties finding a way out and was nearly accosted by a security man. Apart from that it was a lovely walk.

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