26 October 2019: Baddow Meads
Start point grid reference: TL 725 658GPX file
Ten of us did this walk, starting from the Fox and Raven on the outskirts of Chelmer Village. From there we made our way down Barnes Mill Road and past the mill to the canal towpath. I recalled how, when the first part of Chelmer Village was under construction in the 1970s, the developers put a picture of the mill on their brochure even though it formed no part of the development.
We then walked east along the towpath, which is part of the Saffron Trail, admiring the scenery along the way. The old power mill at Sandford Mill is now an industrial museum. It is only open a few days a year.
At the other end of Sandford Lock we turned left up the road briefly before turning right along another footpath back to the canal. The leader said he had added in that part in the hope that we would get a good view of the sewage works. We didn’t get a good view of the sewage works - and fortunately we did not smell it either.
When we got back to the towpath we turned towards Chelmsford and then crossed the bridge by the lock cottage, turning left again where the road reaches the road to Mill Cottages. That took us across a ford. At one time cars could drive through it but that is not possible now.
We turned right on to another footpath by the cottages and then made our way round the reservoir on to Baddow Meads. We thought that the going would be very wet and muddy because of all the recent rain but it was quite firm. We walked the length of the Meads and then back along its northern boundary until we reached Barnes Lock, where we climbed up to the lock and across the canal by the footbridge next to it. We noticed that the canal had been drained for maintenance upstream of the lock.
From there we retraced our steps up Barnes Mill Road back to the Fox and Raven. There one person had to leave for another appointment and two others joined us, so eleven of us enjoyed lunch in the pub before going our separate ways.