Lingwood Common to Blake's Wood walk, Chelmsford, Essex
Walk with the National Trust from Lingwood Common to Blake's Wood, through a mix of environments. The woodland of Lingwood is mainly oak, with birches to the west; and aspen and willow down the stream valleys. This is one of three walks linking Danbury Common; Lingwood Common, and Blakes Wood. Ideal for families.
Danbury and Lingwood Commons were given to the National Trust in 1953 by the Lord of the Manor, Mr F.B. Plumtree. The Commons at that time were an overgrown mosaic of habitats of different heights and ages: grass, heath, scrub, scrub-woodland coppice and a wetland area with ponds. See links below for our other walks in this series. Each walk can be undertaken separately or joined together for one long walk. Links below.
National Trust Armoury car park, grid ref: TL781044
Starting in front of the site office Armoury car park facing the main road, turn right and head down Bicknacre Road to the road junctions. Cross over and turn left into Sporehams Lane. After approximately 15 metres, turn right at the footpath sign on the right (FP17).
Keeping on this footpath, continue until you reach an unmade lane (Fitzwalter Lane). Ensuring you do not exit on to Sporeham's Lane, turn sharp right. The lane now continues to Woodhill Road.
Cross Woodhill Road and follow the path. This section of the path runs between houses. When a junction in the path (with FP16) is reached, take the right hand fork and walk down, with the Parish Church of St John the Baptist on the left.
St John the Baptist
St John the Baptist is built on a hilltop; its spire visible for miles around. Long before the church was here, this vantage point was utilised for a hill fort; parts of these early fortifications can still be traced. Historical accounts of the area refer to the 'Danbury Camp', and archaeology has revealed that Danbury was occupied at least as early as 500BC. The tower, spire and nave and vestry date from the 15th-century.
After going past the church, you reach a junction with FP20. Turn sharp left and follow the path down to Main Road (A414). With extreme care (this road is very busy) cross over and after a few yards reach Moorbridge Lane on the left. This is also a public footpath (FP59) but is unsigned as such. This lane is very steep at this point. Now head down for about 200 to 300m and after entering a wooded area (Bellhill Wood) look out for a footpath 'crossroads' and turn right up (FP15) (with close-boarded fence on nearside).
After a few metres you will have arrived in Lingwood Common (look out for the National Trust sign). The management of Lingwood Common is virtually identical to that of Danbury, although presents more of the forest with open glades and stands of mature oak and birch. After crossing two footbridges, continue on until reaching the junction with bridle path 13 and turn left downhill (note this bridle path is not signed as such). If you miss this junction you will arrive at 'The Ridge' in which case you have gone too far, so turn around and make your way back downhill along bridle path no.13.
The Silver Birch polypore
Some fungi have known medicinal and other properties. The Birch polypore can be seen shortly after the start of the Lingwood path. It looks like an omelette which has been well cooked on one side and then stuck on the side of a birch tree. It was used in tinder boxes and to stem the flow of blood from wounds.
Continue along bridle path 13, passing a seat at the top of the hill. Continue along for about 30m to a bridle path junction and turn left onto bridle path 14, known as Coleman's Lane.
Typical Lingwood view
A view typical of Lingwood heading towards a downhill section.
Head down Coleman's Lane and just before reaching the ditchline and culvert look for a small path on the right (unsigned). If you reach the houses then you have gone too far.
Follow this path along the Lingwood boundary until reaching a marker post. This marker post is not marked in any way, but turn right at this point.
Head along this path until reaching a National Trust sign.
If you are continuing to Blake's Wood, then turn left at this point, exit the gate onto Riffham's Chase, turn right and walk up to the Blake's Wood car park (150m on left) and continue with the Blake's Wood walk. After Blake's Wood return to this point to continue with Lingwood. If you are not going to Blake's Wood then turn right on to bridle path 13. There are two seats on this stretch to rest your limbs, and just after the second seat look out for the second path junction on your right (FP12).
Turn right down FP12, exiting Lingwood and re-tracing your route along Mooresbridge Lane until reaching a footpath 'crossroads' (FP15). Turn right and follow the path until reaching Main Road (A414). You will come on to this road near to 'The Griffin' on your left. If time permits you could stop here for some refreshment (if open); described as a rustic-chic pub serving unpretentious seasonal food.
Now carefully cross the road and continue left up to the Church. Go through the gate by the side of the Church and follow the footpath directly down hill past the Water Tower on the left, until reaching Penny Royal Road at the bottom.
Turn right for the Cricketer's Arms or head to the the car park which is just across the road.
Stop here for some refreshment or toilets.
National Trust Armoury car park, grid ref: TL781044
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