A Walk Around Colchester, Essex
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Colchester prides itself on being Britain's oldest recorded town. The record was in the Histories of Pliny the Elder in 77AD, when Colchester was known as Camulodunum. Going back to 5AD, Cunobelin (whom Shakespeare called Cymbeline) ruled Colchester. In 43AD the Emperor Claudius was there to accept the submission of the local Britons and eleven years later a temple was constructed in his honour on the site where the present castle stands.
In 60AD Boudicca (better known as Boadicea) destroyed this temple, then between 65 and 80AD the town wall was built, the oldest in Britain. You visit an impressive section of it, with a triumphal arch, at the Balkerne Gate, near the Mercury Theatre.
The Dutch Quarter was first inhabited by refugees in 1565. They brought industry in the form of weaving and clock-making to the town. (You visit a museum full of clocks of all kinds and watches made in the town). The Siege House reminds us of the Siege of Colchester during the Civil War in 1648, when serious damage was also inflicted on the Roman Wall.
In 1883 a well-known landmark was constructed in the form of a water tower. It was named Jumbo after the elephant which London Zoo had just controversially sold to Barnum's Circus in America. When you see it you will understand how it got its name. It must have been of sound construction because the following year it suffered a devastating earthquake and caused it no ill effect.
Modern Colchester is a beautiful town with superb shopping and leisure facilities. It is also still a garrison town and the Army maintains a major presence. It is the venue for an Oyster Feast each year, when vast quantities of the locally reared shellfish are devoured in style. It has an annual Tattoo and Essex Cricket Team play in Castle Park in a festival of cricket held each summer. There is much more to discover and this walk will aid the process. It has an ideal balance of the old and new, of town and natural landscape. (You could extend the latter by visiting High Woods Country Park, not far from the station where the recommended walk begins and ends). Give yourself time to enjoy this walk to the full.
England - East England - Essex - Town or city