Ridge and River

A circular walk that circumnavigates the village of Little Baddow. Beginning in Lingwood Common, the route follows bridleways, footpaths, the river towpath and quiet country lanes. A good walk for any time of year, but not after spells of prolonged rain when the towpath, especially, can become something of a quagmire. Walking it in spring is highly recommended as Blake's Wood is nationally known for its display of bluebells.

Checked & updated: August 2021

Technical sheet
No. 2655050
A Little Baddow walk posted on 12/10/19 by Ralph's walker. Update : 16/08/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h00[?]
Distance Distance : 12.14km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 182m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 182m
Highest point Highest point : 137m
Lowest point Lowest point : 10m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Little Baddow
Starting point Starting point : N 51.721962° / E 0.580762°
Download : -


(D/A) From the parking area, take the bridleway beside the information signs, heading into the woodland of Lingwood Common. As the path begins to descend more steeply, ignore a waymarked path (August 2021 the post was propped against a tree) on the left, continuing ahead. Disregard any paths left and right to stay on this undulating wide bridleway. Where a bridleway joins from the left at a white-topped marker post and seat, continue ahead, going downhill. At a cleared area of woodland on the left, the path swings right; it can be rather muddy after rain as the path crosses a ditch line at the bottom of the descent. Shortly after this cross a culvert, after which the path begins to climb before dropping down again to another culvert; here it climbs slightly more steeply. Almost immediately after this second culvert, there is a waymarked public footpath to the right beside an oak tree, the trunk of which is split into two (if you reach another seat at the top of a rise you have missed the path).

(1) Take this clearly defined path on your right through trees for approximately ¼ mile, ignoring any other paths left and right climbing gently uphill until it emerges at a wider track beside the scout camp gate. Turn right to follow this wider track with a ditch on the right and fencing on the left, soon meeting and running alongside a tarmac track and eventually emerging at a road – The Ridge. Cross the road and continue almost directly opposite to walk down Fir Tree Lane. At the end of the lane, continue ahead to enter woodland past traffic barriers. Ignore a courtesy path beside a dog waste bin on the left and a path on the right beside two barred gates, going ahead between another pair of traffic barriers. At an information board for Danbury Ridge Nature Reserve, turn left on a reasonably wide track, soon passing the entrance to Pheasant House Wood on the right, keeping to the gently descending wide path. Almost at the bottom of the path, ignore the right hand footpath through a swing gate to carry on ahead, curving to the left and still gently downhill. Cross the footbridge and begin to climb slightly.160 yards after the footbridge, ignore a wide waymarked path on the left. A few yards after this, where the path swings right, ignore a waymarked path through a swing gate on the right. Continue going gradually downhill to meet a gravel track leading to properties. Follow this track uphill to meet Spring Elms Lane.

(2) Cross the road to the marked footpath almost directly opposite, with white-topped marker posts showing the route. At the fourth marker post (August 2021, this was propped against a tree trunk) do not take the left hand path between holly bushes and a fence, but continue straight ahead with fences left and right. Follow this meandering waymarked path between garden fences, eventually meeting a gravel track at a T junction. Turn left to follow another bridleway between wire fences to arrive at a junction of paths with a Heather Hills sign on the left. Turn right downhill with some excellent views of the Essex countryside ahead. When the path eventually meets a wooden fence ignore the (August 2021) recently reinstated and waymarked footpath on the left, turning right to walk alongside the fence on the bridleway. Ignore the footpath which leads towards a signed gap in the hedge and footbridge slightly to the right ahead and continue to follow the bridleway along a farm track and field edge path. On meeting a brick wall, follow the bridleway with the wall on the left until it joins an imprinted concrete track. Follow the concrete path. A few yards further on, where the (now gravel) track turns to the right, ignore all the marked footpaths, instead keeping to the track bearing right until it eventually meets Tofts Chase.

(3) Cross the lane and stile to take the signed footpath heading downhill with a ditch on the left, doglegging right and left on the left of a large ash tree with the ditch still on the left. At the bottom of the field, turn right to follow a grassy track. Where the trees on the left end, join the towpath (a line of cricket bat willow trees makes it obvious), turning left to follow it alongside the river for ½ mile to Paper Mill Bridge. Go through the gate and cross the road with care - it can be surprisingly busy for a quiet lane. Go through the gate opposite, passing Paper Mill Lock Tea Rooms, the lock and scores of moored pleasure craft. After 3/4 mile, ignore a footpath at a white-topped marker post. Just before a blue footbridge at Little Baddow bridge, turn left to take the multi-waymarked path (Little Baddow Millennium Walk & Admiral McHardy Way) heading straight across the field towards the church. At the other side of the field, continue straight ahead on the grass then bear very slightly left to steps leading south to Church Road.

(4) Turn left on the road. Opposite the church entrance, turn right along with a track passing Little Baddow Hall, a C14th-C15th Grade II listed building, following signs to the church car park and many way markers. At the final sign to the car park, with a left pointing arrow, ignore the path going ahead between paddocks but instead, turn right to follow the gravel track. Ignore a footpath waymarked on the right (Millennium Walk) and follow the track as it swings to the left. Where it turns sharp left, go straight ahead on a grassy track with a hedge on the left and paddocks on the right towards a line of tall poplar tress. At a corner of a paddock, just before some scrub land on the right, look for a large gap in the hedge on the left. Go through this and go ahead on the grassy track between paddock fences. Cross the stile and enter a tree-lined path that meets Chapel Lane over a footbridge.

(5) Turn right, heading towards the white-painted 'Rowan Cottage' ahead. Where the lane curves right, with 'Spring Cottages' on the right, look out for a fingerpost on the left at the rear of a lay-by. Cross the stile to take the rather narrow footpath. Ignore a waymarked footpath on the left over a footbridge. Go through a swing gate, where the buildings of Belle Vue Farm can now be seen ahead. The path narrows somewhat as it nears its end, joining a wooden slatted fence on the right. The path emerges at the entrance to the farmhouse.

(6) Immediately turn sharp right, passing in front of the farm gates and, ignoring a footpath off to the left, walk towards woodland with a sign for Blakes Wood and a very prominent "no riding" sign (August 2021 these signs were no longer there, but they may be reinstated). Enter the wood through the swing gate, going slightly downhill on a clear path that eventually drops down to a stream and footbridge. Turn left after crossing the bridge, the path going uphill and curving left then right beside fallen trees to reach a T-junction with a seat and National Trust Blakes Wood Trail 8 marker post. Following the NT marker direction of the turn right. Where the path splits left and right follow the National Trust waymark going half right, ignoring the sharp right track. The path descends gently and bears left then going more steeply downhill. At a T junction turn left (August 2021 the National Trust post 9 is no longer there, but looking ahead the next multi-waymarked post can be seen). At this post turn right, dropping down a little and curving left. The path soon starts to climb and the ancient woodlands on either side provide a fantastic display of bluebells in the spring, preceded by white wood anemones. The path continues uphill, passing a bench and finishing at Blakes Wood car park.

(7) Go through the car park to Riffhams Chase (ignore a footpath through a swing gate on the right hand side of the exit). Turn right, following the lane gently downhill. A few yards after 'The White House' gates on the left, as the road curves right (SLOW on the road), follow a fingerpost on the left into Lingwood Common. Disregarding all other paths, waymarked or not, follow this wide undulating bridleway ¾ mile back to the departure point.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 106m - Car park
1 : km 0.74 - alt. 90m - Path to scout camp
2 : km 2.96 - alt. 92m - Spring Elm Lane
3 : km 4.52 - alt. 35m - Tofts Chase
4 : km 8.05 - alt. 19m - Church Road & Little Baddow Hall
5 : km 8.74 - alt. 37m - Chapel Lane
6 : km 9.71 - alt. 76m - Blakes Wood entrance
7 : km 10.67 - alt. 80m - Blakes Wood car park & Riffhams Chase
D/A : km 12.13 - alt. 106m - Car park

Useful Information

The small parking space at the start is large enough for four or five cars.

Paper Mill Lock Tea Rooms at Paper Mill Lock is open seven days a week from 10am but, of course, this is weather permitting, as the river has been known to flood. Their menu changes seasonally but tea and cakes are always available. Details and their menu can be found at https://www.papermilllock.co.uk

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4.33/5
Number of opinions : 2
Clarity of route description : 4.5/5
Clarity of route map : 5/5
Walk interest : 3.5/5

on Mon 25 May 2020 09:12:10 CEST

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 24/05/20
Clarity of route description : Good
Clarity of route map : Very good
Walk interest : Average

An enjoyable walk, though ended up on a couple of detours where description was slightly unclear.

on Sat 15 Feb 2020 23:58:14 CET

Global average : 4.67 / 5

Date of walk : 15/02/20
Clarity of route description : Very good
Clarity of route map : Very good
Walk interest : Good

Probably the best walking directions we've come across

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.