This blog will be sketchy as its been over 2 years since I did it and not fresh in my memory!
I set off on my very first walk with the friendly folk from the Facebook Page Walking For Pleasure.
I arrived first at PaperMill Lock near Little Baddow,Chelmsford,Essex. I parked up and used the toilets and cafe at the lock whilst waiting for the others to arrive.
The original water mill on the lower island at Little Baddow was built in Saxon times, and by 1573 a second mill, Huskards, had been built on the same island. Both mills were run by one John Hawes, who was fined 2 shillings because:
'by penning of his waters above his mark hath and doth damage to all the Queen's tenants and farmers of the honour of Bewleigh in drowning the meadows and low grounds and for not drawing up his gates upon rage of waters in the hay time and also hath marred a certain highway or lane leading from Baddow bridge unto the mill called Huskardes mill which the said miller is to repair and amend for the avoidance of further inconvenience'.At that time Huskards Mill operated as both a corn mill and as a mill for fulling cloth. In the 1750's it became the first paper mill in Essex, run by Thomas Hodges and employing 3 men with papermaking skills and an apprentice. In around 1800 the mill was taken over by Benjamin Livermore who continued to operate it as a paper mill for almost another twenty years until it was re-converted for grinding flour. Following the creation of the canal in 1797 a wharf was built here, together with an overnight bothy for the bargees, stables for the horses (now the tea house), and paddocks for livestock.
The great canal architect, John Rennie, was appointed Chief Engineer, and though he rarely visited the embryonic waterway, his hallmarks can be seen in the mellow redbrick bridges and locks. Richard Coates became Resident Engineer, and completed the Navigation’s construction within four years, though trade to Little Baddow had commenced within three. Coates settled on the waterway and became a major barge owner and merchant – his name being remembered at Coates Quay in Springfield Basin.
Soon after the last barge “Julie” took semi-retirement, the traditional passenger barge “Victoria” opened up the navigation’s tranquil waters to the public, and since the 1970s the Company has looked to leisure for its future, with moorings for private cruisers and narrowboats, canoeing, fishing and walking. The Canal Centre at Paper Mill, with its Old Stables Tea Rooms, river trips and hire boats, opened in 2002.
After a while we were all present. We set off along the road and took a footpath through farmland,through fields of wheat.
Geocaching on this walk, and I have had a go at this a few times since!
|Crossing a Ford|
|A Mercedes crossing a Ford|
We pass some lovely houses complete with their own Peacocks.
Opposite some houses we took another footpath past some horses.
Back out onto some more road walking.
We leave the footpath and head up towards Ulting.
sugar beet factory in England, although its useful life was cut short by cheap imports of cane sugar.
church, has been standing since 1150, with a major restoration taking place in the 1870s. The church was once a place of pilgrimage ranking with Walsingham and other famous shrines.The River Chelmer runs next to the church and through Ulting.
We stopped here for lunch behind the church beside The Chelmer.
We now reach the Chelmer once again and follow this again.
We reach Hoe Mill Lock.Where we crossed the river to walk along the other bank.
They decided to build a sugar beet mill on the banks of the canal, believing that locally produced beet sugar would undermine the importation of cane sugar largely produced in the Caribbean using slave labour. Their aim was "a desire to obtain the best information and to promote the abolition of slavery, by producing an article of free labour." The mill was sited half a mile downstream from Hoe Mill, near where this walk first joins the towpath. The mill employed 30 men, women and children. The process of converting beet into sugar consisted of first rasping the sugar beet roots and then crushing the beet to a pulp which was pressed. The resulting liquor was reduced by boiling and then clarified, then finally any remaining liquid was evaporated off and the residue crystallised. The left-over pulp was used as cattle feed. Sadly the mill failed after just 2 years partly, it is believed, through the resistance of various influential businessmen who wished to continue to import from the West Indies.
|A Comma Butterfly|