The Essex Way is an 81 mile long distance path that winds its way from Epping up to the North Sea Coast. It is a well signposted trail and our group had no difficulty in following the map or the signs.
Recent rains have left most fields waterlogged and filthy. Yesterday's walk was not for the fainthearted lovers of cleanliness. Where the mud was too thick, we were forced onto the fields themselves: an introduction to Essex's 'London clay'. After trudging in the ruts for 30 seconds, you acquire moonboots; an extra layer of clay on your soles that increases your height and weighs down your feet. There was an element of trudgery about these parts.
The walk took three hours and followed the first part of the Essex Path from Epping to Ongar. Whilst cloudy, it did not begin raining until we finished. The landscape is a mixture of farmland and woodland across flat terrain. Not a walk for views: especially as those that one could detour to (such as the log church at Greensted) tend to be located away from the trail itself. Still, for an accessible path at the end of the Central Line and a reminder of Essex's greenery, the first section of the Essex Way is a timely reminder.
The place names include a number of eccentric charms: the odd Fiddlers Hamlet and the amusing Toot Hill. I wonder if cars do.
8.35 miles, 3hours, 241 feet ascent, 390 feet descent.