Friday, 19 April 2013

Battlesbridge to Burnham on Crouch - 17 November 2012 - 14 miles by bike


This part of my journey around the coast has annoyed for some time.  My ideal route would have been to take the Lady Essex Ferry between Burnham on Crouch and Wallasea.  Although it is clearly marked on the OS map, it is never running when I have made inquiries in the past.  After some deliberation, I decided to close this gap in my itinerary by cycling the 14 miles from Battlesbridge to Burnham on Crouch.

Battlesbridge Station
An 6 am start on the Virgin Voyager out of Birmingham International brought me to Euston at 7:16 and, after a short journey on the Circle Line, I was seated on my train at Liverpool Street in good time for its departure at 8:02.  Changing at Wickford, I was ready to leave Monsieur Bataille's bridge at 9:10.
Hawk Inn - Battlesbridge

The weather was dull and threatening as I cycled past The Hawk Inn and the white clapperboard houses of Battlesbridge.  The rolling countryside would have been so much more attractive with a little sun, so I pushed on to South Woodham Ferrers (0935 - 3.3 miles).  Possibly an interesting village at some time in the past, South Woodham Ferrers has seen great expansion to become a town containing a few old buildings, some excellent modern ones and some large, boring housing estates.
South Woodham Ferrers

I moved on quickly along the Crouch Valley and, since I had plenty of time, took a detour into North Fambridge (1010 - 6.9 miles).  This is an attractive place with many well maintained white clapperboard houses and some larger, more substantial properties.  I admired and photographed the Victorian Church, peered at North Fambridge Hall through the fairly dense vegetation and cycled back to the B1012.
North Fambridge

Althorne (1055 - 10.1 miles) seems to go on for ever along the B1010, but contains a fine stone built church with a tower and a number of imposing, large houses.

By now, the sky was becoming more and more overcast, so I hurried on to Burnham on Crouch (1130 - 14.3 miles) which I reached as the heavens opened.  I quickly made my way to the White Hart on the waterfront where I enjoyed a well earned pint and an excellent plate of steak and mushroom pie.
White Hart - Burnham on Crouch

Thus refreshed and with the weather improved, I then had the opportunity of exploring the largely unspoiled town with solid Victorian brick buildings interspersed with white clapperboard.  My curiosity satisfied, I made my to the railway station and a retrace of the morning's journey, arriving back at Birmingham International by 1813.