The Arkesden Loop
Distance 3 miles approx, Time 1 ¼ hrs
This walk takes you across country from Wicken Bonhunt into one of the prettiest villages in Essex – Arkesden with it acclaimed public house, the Axe and Compasses, and its church and village hall.
The starting point is the bridle way between the Coach and Horses public house on your left and Wicken House on your right. This is a well marked track laid mainly of shingle and you simply follow the track up hill, initially under a canopy of trees then negotiate the gates to emerge into open countryside Note: This track is used by agricultural vehicles throughout the year as well as horse riders so care should be taken especially at harvest time. The track climbs steadily up hill offering fine views initially of Newport and Widdington on your right then as you near the crest the M11, Saffron Walden and Debden.
After approximately 1 mile, and at the crest of the rise, a public footpath sign will direct you to the left. This is the Harcamlow way. Follow this path keeping the hedgerow on your right, and pass though the short (sometimes muddy) canopy and continue to follow the path still with the hedgerow on your right.
Another public footpath sign will guide straight on and you now start to walk down hill towards Arkesden keeping the fence on your left hand side simply follow the path down into the village and emerge onto the road known as Poore Street.
To complete the “Arkesden Loop” simple turn left and walk back along Poore Street into Wicken Bonhunt. This road has no footpath so care must be taken when making your way back. You emerge at a “T-Junction” in Wicken Bonhunt and simple turn left and walk back to your starting point at the Coach and Horses.
For a variation on the return leg you can skirt the outskirts of Clavering, or take time explore this historical village with its two public houses, church, village hall and castle.
About half down Poore Street, you will see a public footpath sign on the right hand side heading uphill and through a tree line path. Follow this path all the way to the top and you will emerge into Clatterbury Lane. Turn left and head towards Clavering (turn right and you head back to Arkesden), and you will join the B1038 on a bend. Immediately on your left will be The Cricketers public house, and to your right the majority of the village including the Church, the remains of the castle and the Fox and Hounds public house. To return to Wicken Bonhunt turn left at the Cricketers and follow the road down hill (approx 1.2 miles) back into the village.
Wendens Ambo and back
Distance 5 miles approx, Time 2 hrs
This walk follows the same initial route as the Arkesden Loop but instead of turning left at the Harcamlow way you simply continue walking straight on along the bridle path and heading downhill and following the path to the right and under the M11 motorway.
You enter Wendens Ambo on Duck Street and you continue down this road until you meet a T-junction. To the right hand side is the village hall and playing fields and the majority of the village (including Audley End train station) and to the left is the Bell public house.
To return to Wicken Bonhunt simply retrace your steps.
For a variation and a longer walk on the return leg, you can turn right at the Harcamlow way point and return to Wicken Bonhunt via Arkesden. This adds around 1.2 miles to the journey home.
The Daffodils at Rickling Church.
Distance 1 mile approx, Time 30 minutes (1hr return)
This is a lovely walk in early Spring when the daffodils are in bloom and takes you in the opposite direction to Arkesden and Wendens Ambo. Starting at the bridle path opposite the Coach and Horses in Wicken Bonhunt head uphill following the well define bridle path and taking the dog leg right then left hand bends before heading down hill towards Rickling Church. At this point you have far reaching views of Debden and Widdington to your left and Clavering and Langley to your right. As you near the end of the path you will see a tall conifer hedge with farm buildings on your left and a thatched cottage on your right. Join the tarmac road and turn right and the church is a short distance on your right.
To return simply retrace your steps along the bridleway or walk back along the road, making sure to turn right (Rickling Road) at the junction just after the church. There is no footpath on this route back, but there is a wide verge on the edge of the field on the right hand side for most of the route back. As you enter Wicken Bonhunt turn right at the T-junction and head back to the Coach and Horses.
Distance approx 3.3 miles, Time 1 ¼ hrs.
The initial part of this walk follows the same route as Rickling Church above, but when reaching the conifer hedge turn left along the public byway. Note: This is used by quad and motor bikers as well as horse riders. This is lose gravel track which you follow for about 300 yards before turning left and heading downhill through a tree lined path (London Lane).
You emerge at Bonhunt Springs and St Helens Chapel; a flint walled and thatched building dating back to Saxon times.
Join the public footpath at St Helens Chapel and walk back along the edge of Wicken Water.
As you near the end of this path you pass two garden cottages on your right and you emerge back in Wicken Bonhunt opposite the site of the Old Bakery and the Mill House.
Simply walk back along the road to your starting point at the Coach and Horses.