Section 6 of the Climbing Moss Heart of London Walk saw us back at Debden Station for a long and harrowing walk, it was certainly one we won’t forget, here’s why.
Debden Station on a wet Tuesday was our starting point, just as the heavens opened and the rain started to fall, thankfully there was one Godsend! Fabio, dear Fabio! This Italian with his little kiosk at the station is not only great at making coffee but is also a climber, what more could we need?!
So with coffees in hand – oh review here! – we set off to the main road and across to the nature reserve and the River Roding. The river here is smaller than it is further on, as in more like a stream and is followed for about a mile through overgrown fields and trees, it was a little confusing to find the way, but now we have done it, if you want to follow along then don’t worry, the PDF with all the instructions will guide you safely and smoothly through, rather than falling down holes and getting stuck, as we did!
So after a long, meandering wander through fields and across a couple of bridges, we found ourselves at Charles Moules Bridge, this is notable for one thing, it is the ugliest bridge you will ever see, The Councillor petitioned for this bridge for years, then he finally got it and it is horrid, it’s very narrow, slippery with mud, steep and made of slabs of grey concrete, but we’ll let you experience its glory for yourselves as we didn’t take a photo!
After this is another field and then a foot bridge over the M11, you can hear the rush of cars from far away, but it’s the chill air that is shocking as you cross, the backdraft of all those vehicles, makes the experience chilly.
Leaving the noise and cold you find yourselves in a quaint country lane with stables and horses, then The Chigwell Meadow, a lovely orchard and land filled with animals and lovely places to sit and chill, or just wander around before carrying on your walk.
Across the road is the Chigwell Farm Shop and should you need it, toilets, but be warned these are the most confusing toilets ever, well most regimented with so many instructions about when and how to wash your hands, before going, after going, after opening the door and then once out to throw the paper towel in the bin inside?
Anyway, on we went, across a main road and up another country lane, past a cricket club and cottages until you reach the Farm and this is where we really suffered so you don’t have to! Bob has named this section HELL.
If you follow the footpath across the farm field, you’ll come to a signpost with about 20 direction arrows pointing in every direction, but for us it was south alongside the ploughed field, to a brook and then across another field to the Water treatment works. In hindsight we would say avoid this and continue past the farm and stay on the country lane, it is a longer route, but probably still quicker and more comfortable, or take a walk around the edge of the fields. DON’T. Walk directly across the toiled fields, even though that is the marked footpath. This took about 45 minutes to cross due to the mud and rocks.
E-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y we made it to the other side and the path alongside the treatment works, a little path through someone’s back garden, a lovely one at that and out to a road and then onto a park.
We needed a break at this point and sat and had coffee and a sandwich.
Then it was into the woods – a lovely woodland, all red wood trees and peaceful.
Out the other side across the Romford Road and into Hainault Forest Country Park, wander around the forest and down to the lake and take photos of swans.
Then leave via the car park and back across Romford Road and this is another we did it wrong parts. We walked along the Forest Road for nearly 2 miles to eventually get to Fairlop Station!
You instead take the 247 bus to Hainault Station to end the route and come back next time to start at Fairlop Station and take on Section 7. We will be back on the CMHoL in a couple of weeks with that part, so come back then and see what we found.