Walkers Comments

It's wonderful to hear from people who have walked the walks featured on this site. On this page you can now read about the experiences of readers of this site who have thrown themselves to my mercy and stumbled off into the Wild Colne Valley Countryside armed only with my written instuctions to guide them. Read on.....

Hi Shaun,

I have just done the chalkney wood walk in glorious sunshine!. What a perfect way for some exercise and some great views of the village.I regularly take my 3/7 year old on these walks and they also enjoy them too. An excellent site keep up the good work.

Chris Callaghan

Hi Shaun,

Having a few hours to spare near Earls Colne on Saturday 4th March I walked the Chalkney Wood walk - and what a treat it was! Despite having no maps (I'm not local and this was a one-off visit) I found the directions from your text virtually foolproof. Thanks for your efforts in publicising this walk.

Derek Hill

Hi Shaun,

My girlfriend and I found the Fair Maid Walk on your Colne Valley website on Saturday morning and decided to follow it.

We couldn't find our ordnance survey map so we just took the print out of the webpage, hoping that this would be enough to guide us around.

It was !! We had a marvelous time. The route is well described, even to us almost novice walkers. The whole walk (including your recommended extra bit around old hall farm) took us three and a quarter hours. We had expected to spend around two hours for the six and a half miles walked, but either due to the slowness of our pace or the number of times we just stood and took in the views the time just slipped by.

Thank you for the time and effort that you have obviosly put in to create the site and the detailing of the walks therein.

Stuart Hamilton and Catherine Wass

Hello Shaun,

Today we tried the walk through Hillhouse Wood. Despite the horrific mud on the track up to the farm yard and getting attacked by stinging nettles when I tried to avoid the mud (dock leaves really do work!) it was all worth it. The bluebells in the wood were absolutely amazing, I've never seen anything like it. Not only that but the variety of bird song was enthralling too. I can honestly say that is the best wood walk I've ever done (and I come originally from Epping Forest).I would encourage anyone to brave the mud and go and see the bluebells. Unfortunately if you wait for the ground to dry out the bluebells will be gone by then. You have to suffer for beauty!
This was the first time I've done any of the Essex Way (which I hope to walk in it's entirety sometime this year) and I must ask - is there any nettle control in the summer? The grassy path we followed for this walk had some vigorous nettles which I should hate to contend with on those hot summer days when I'm wearing my shorts!
Thanks again for the great walk, it was over too soon, I could have stayed for hours in Hillhouse Wood, you're so lucky to live nearby to such a place.
I'll try to make it for the North Essex Circular.



Completed the walk this Sunday - filthy day but still a wonderful day out. I can't wait to do it again in better weather.

Your directions were first class - some of the clearest I have come across and this added to the pleasure. Only one suggestion; because you haven't put a map for this combination of walks on the site (and I didn't have an OS map with me - not your fault I appreciate) it would have helped to know at what point on the individual maps, the walks linked with each other. I found the second link (with the Margery Allingham walk) was partcicularly difficult to trace.

Small problem - thanks for your hard work.

Best regards,
Peter Warne

Peter walked the Margery Millers Maid Walk

Hello Shaun,

Thank you for your e-mail. It was certainly a nice surprise to see my letter on your opening page!
The Colne Engaine walk I did was the one by Mr R.J. Thomas. It was very enjoyable and the remarkable thing was that we managed the entire 4.5 miles without getting wet but the rain started the moment we drove away from Colne Engaine! I never go anywhere without my camera and it's certainly very picturesque in your part of the world so I'm really looking forward to the other walks.
I found the walk the easiest to follow yet (I do the walks in Essex Countryside magazine and always get lost!). Perhaps I should learn orienteering!
Yours, Alison.

Dear Shaun,

Happy Easter! I'm glad my comments made your father happy, his walk made me happy! Since then I've done Over Hall walk. We chose this one because my friend had just hurt his back and this was the shortest walk. I'm pleased to say he managed it alright and he said his back felt a bit better for the walk.
I think the walkers comments is a good idea, especially if they state what time of year they did the walk. On your father's walk, the only bit of mud was right at the beginning where you go between the houses, but I overcame this by walking as high up as I could and clinging onto the fence!
After this it was all plain sailing, so this walk really could be attempted in all weathers. There was a steep hill in the middle which made me glad I wasn't cycling but it's nothing anyone who can put one foot infront of the other can't manage. As for Over Hall walk, I'd say wear waterproof shoes at this time of year as the tracks were muddy and I found it easier to walk in the long grass. My shoes leaked! Even so, I still enjoyed the walk despite the almost constant rain, it's just nice to get out into the countryside and breathe some fresh air.
I wondered about the disused railway line. Can it be used as a cycle track? Is it long enough for that? Where does it go to and come from? More information for off-road cyclists like me would be greatly appreciated. I can't join a club (as suggested on your site) as I live so far away but I like to get out on the bike off-road when I can.
Thanks again for your e-mail and the lovely Colne Valley site.

Hi Shaun,

Thank you very much for your last walk. we did it and it was really wonderful! we had a marvelous weekend, of course also thanks to the lovely weather. on Saturday we walked the route you advised last Thursday and on Sunday we did part of the Essex way, from Langham to great Horksley and found our way back with the map. we didn't expect Essex to be so beautiful! it must be warmer than in the Netherlands because we saw so many flowers already in bloom, much more than with us. we really had an exciting touch of summer!
thanks again,

Marianne Buitenhuis
The Netherlands

Shaun, I checked out your Web site at the weekend, and very good it is too. The few walks listed seemed somehow more accessible than those listed in the 'Essex Walks' books I'd got from the library.

My wife and I did the Millers Drift and Margery Allingham combination yesterday - a very pleasant walk, and we will no doubt try the rest in due course.

I found your maps to be excellent, and I rarely need to refer to OS168. The directions might have benefited from the inclusion of a few compass points

We did have problems with several of the stiles ... at least, our dog did. (I had to pick her up lift her over most of them.)

Thanks again for the Web site.

Trevor Dennis


My wife and I live at Colne Engaine and we thought we would just drop you a note to say what a wonderful site you are creating. We have been following the site for some time now,and it's obviously a labour of love for you. We particularly like the editorial on Colne Engaine Also, on Sunday we walked the 5 mile Chalkney Wood walk after printing it off from your site. We didn't need a map, the directions were so accurate. Anyway, keep up the good work.

Tony & Viv Sheridan

Please send me your comments about the walks featured on this site, all comments are appreciated particuarly if you find that part of the route has changed.