Essex walks: The Sampfords
- Credit: Archant
This charming, circular winter walk takes you on a tour from the village of Great Sampford to its neighbour, Little Sampford, and back again
1. From the pub entrance, go left along the road, past houses, the Victorian primary school and the old village hall. At the road junction follow the road around to the right onto the Finchingfield Road. A little way up on the left, take the footpath going through a metal gate and onto a path between the hedge and a fence, then out into a corn field. Continue along the field boundary with the hedge to the left. At the end of the second field go right still following around the field edge and going gently uphill until you reach the lane.
2. Take the footpath on the opposite side of the lane, across a crop field and under pylons. There are good distant views of the Essex countryside to the right. At the end of the field, at the path T-junction, turn right. The path follows a ditch, soon swinging left across a footbridge and then across the edge of another corn field. Continue into the next field and at the corner, to the left, is a lane. Turn right along the lane which immediately bends sharp left. Continue along the lane which bends right at Sampford Lodge and goes downhill to a road T-junction by the thatched cottage.
3. Turn left then almost immediately turn right into Hall Lane, soon going uphill. At the top by the Little Sampford village sign, you may wish to visit the parish church of St Mary the Virgin to the left. There are some seats in the churchyard for a rest. Otherwise, proceed to the T-junction at the end of the lane. Turn right and soon after turn right again onto a footpath which runs through the farm buildings of Little Sampford Hall. At the end of the buildings, after a metal gate bear right over a stile, taking you across a crop field. Go down to the end of the field where you cross a stile into a pretty meadow. Go straight ahead heading for the gate and stile by the stream.
4. Cross the stream (the River Pant) and go up across a crop field. Bear slightly right at the old ash tree going into another meadow. Cross to the trees (Millfield Plantation) and then go left following around the trees and then veering right into a long meadow. You should see a distinct path line across the field leading to a stile. After crossing go left alongside the stream for a short distance then veer right along the edge of the field and soon after go through the gap in the hedge on the left.
5. Pass by a footbridge on the left and continue on to a bridge and stile going into the next meadow. Follow the path first by the river and then winding around the field edge. After passing under the pylons, turn left through the hedge over a planked bridge. Then follow the telegraph wires across the field to a little alley on the other side between the houses, which takes you into the housing cul-de-sac Homebridge and back to the Red Lion pub ahead of you.
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Distance: 3.4 miles (5.5 km)
Starting point: The Red Lion pub in Great Sampford (Sat Nav CB10 2LR). Park along the road by the pub or opposite the pub in the cul-de-sac called Homebridge.
How to get there: Great Sampford lies on the junction of the B1053 from Finchingfield and the B1051 from Thaxted
Map: OS Explorer 195 Braintree and Saffron Walden
Refreshments: The Red Lion pub in Great Sampford
Places of interest nearby: A few miles south west is the ancient town of Thaxted, which has a windmill to visit and the impressive Guildhall which houses a little museum. To the east is the very pretty village of Finchingfield with its thatched cottages, windmill, duck pond and antique shops. Saffron Walden, a much larger market town several miles west, has a magnificent church, an interesting museum in the grounds of the ruined castle and Audley End stately home in the hands of English Heritage.
Ordnance Survey maps are available from all good booksellers and outdoor stores, or visit the online shop at ordnancesurvey.co.uk