Manningtree - Mistley - Bradfield - Great Bromley - Manningtree

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The walk starts along a short section of road to reach the south bank of the River Stour - the river which provided the inspiration for so many of John Constable's paintings. The walk along its bank will no doubt explain why!

Manningtree is a busy, but pretty little town, mentioned by Shakespeare in Henry IV. After a walk along its narrow main street you suddenly turn a corner to reach The Walls, a beautiful stretch which receives many visitors. You pass Mistley Place Park which has a variety of animals and is open to visitors. You also pass Mistley Towers - the unique remains of a church built in 1735 and subsequently remodelled by Robert Adam. You will find the twin towers reminiscent of the architecture of St Paul's Cathedral in London.

Moving on to Mistley, you pass an equally unique fountain in front of a craft centre and gallery which is well worth a visit. Just to the right of it is Edme's Maltings and the route down to the quay. This is a working quay, but warrants a brief detour for the views. While we were making notes for the walk an elderly resident told us of the history of the wreck which can be seen just out in the river. It seems it had quickly been unloaded of its timber cargo and the crew had retired to the pub for a swift drink before setting off back to sea. This was during WW2 and a plane arrived and dropped incendiaries on the ship in the absence of most of the crew. All that could be done was to cut her adrift and before long she sank.

This part of your walk is on the Essex Way long distance path and as you continue through delightful woodland, you pass close to what is emblazoned now on maps as a "Secret" Bunker. These days it is a tourist attraction, but during the Cold War years was an underground headquarters for the administration in case of nuclear attack. We are aware - and were at the time - that those fortunate (?) enough to have a place reserved for them in this bunker were issued with revolvers, presumably to shoot any unwelcome gatecrashers who tried to follow them in!

From here you cross a variety of farmland and pass close to the former TV transmitter for the area. Since the advent of UHF for television signals this mast has been used for other transmissions. When you pass close you wonder how such a structure was ever put in place. Even more interesting is how it could ever be demolished in any orderly way!

Once you arrive back in Lawford you pass a pretty little church and begin to descend back into Dedham Vale. The views on the way down are again superb. This is a long walk, but well worth the effort!

England - East England - Essex - Dedham Vale


Birds, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Museum, National Trust, Pub, River, Sea, Toilets
21/04/2019 - Sid Marks

Decided to re-walk this one after 8 years,still thoroughly enjoyed it. There are a couple of updates needed At waymark 6 the footpath leading down to the quay is no longer accessible.The new route which brings you to waymark 10 is as follows. Walk straight up the road crossing Mistley Station Railway bridge.Then turn 1st right into School lane.Follow this road until the end.You arrive at a green lane.Turn right,follow the green lane with the woods on your left until you arrive at the stile at waymark 10.Enter the woods and continue the walk. At waymark 21 the stiles have been replaced with kissing gates

14/04/2013 - Nick Glanvill

Nice walk - but a bit 'agricultural' for us. This is flat, featureless country that is mainly arable fields. Whilst some of the paths are very pleasant some cross ploughed fields which is hard going to say the least. We completed the walk in 3 hrs. Parking tip - walk on a Sunday and park as directed at Manningtree station for £1.10. Great value.

19/01/2011 - Sid Marks

Excellent walk, perfect instructions. Just a few pointers: If coming by car avoid parking at Manningtree Station because it costs £6.20 for the day. You can park in a large layby which holds about 10 cars opposite the signed footpath mentioned in waymark 1. At waymark 7, the 1st field was flooded. Took a slight detour on the right through a small wooded area and joined the field further along. At waymark 19 there was no obvious path acros the farmers field,just planted crops and plenty of mud. So I carried on along the field edge to the road, turned left, walked along the road and turned left at a track at Lawfordhouse Farm to resume the route. Highly recommended walk.

05/06/2010 - Ray Howlett

Hi, Lovely walk and very peaceful after leaving Manningtree. Easy to follow instructions. We have completed many walks by Brian and Anne. We have enjoyed every walk they have compiled. Ray

23/04/2006 - Peter Bell

Hi All, Nice long walk this one. Plenty of variety from the beautiful River Stour and up through the woods to Bradfield, and some nice country lanes. A very easy walk to follow with very clear and concise instructions from Brian & Anne, just what i have come to expect from this pair (not forgetting the dog) as you will see from the picture sheet. May i suggest if you come by car to park between waypoint 4 & 5, Grid Ref: 111319 as an ice cream van parks here - just what you need after a 10 mile walk - and a seat to sit on which overlooks the river. What could be better? Great walk. Best wishes Peter.