Manuden to Furneux Pelham

Description: A walk partly in Essex, partly in Hertfordshire across easy terrain. It takes in a Church with "mind your business" on the tower, an old converted brewery and a substantial power sub-station.

OS Ref: TL491266
Length: 11 Miles approx.
Approximate time: 4-4 hours.
Parking: Roadside parking in Manuden, near Church.
Refreshments: Pubs in Manuden and Furneux Pelham.

The walk

Start by the Church on a footpath (Harcamlow way) in a WSW direction. Follow to a graveyard some distance from the Church before crossing a path. Stay in the same direction the other side of the path to walk along the right edge of a field.

Cross a lane, still heading in the same direction. Carry on until just before some trees on the left. Turn left, then follow the field to a corner. Soon, at the corner of the field you will come across a track. Follow this to a road, cross the road and follow a signpost opposite to head in a SW direction.

Follow the right edge of a field for a short while to come to its boundary. Walk diagonally across the next field, past a barn on the right, to come to its corner. Turn half-right to follow the left edge of the field. Shortly afterward,  go left through a gap to continue along the right edge of an adjacent field.

For a while there are some good views especially to the north-west. Continue to walk along the left edge of the next field to its corner. Go through a gap to the next field, then shortly afterwards, turn left, cross a bridge to follow the left edge of a field to a road.

Turn right to walk along the road. After a while the road ends, but keep in the same direction to walk initially past a house on the left, then along the right edge of a field. Continue under two power lines (we're now in Hertfordshire.)

Follow the right edge of a field, with a wooded area to the right. At the end of this wooded area, follow the path first to the right, then shortly after to the left. Follow the right edge of the next three fields, then turn right at a crossing of paths. Follow this path for a short while, then cross a track by a house. Look out for a waymarker across a grassy area. Walk to it, then cross onto a path the other side of a fence. Turn left, then follow the path first gently downhill, then more steeply uphill.

Continue in this direction to cross a road. Keeping in the same direction, walk through Patmore Heath, paying heed to the areas on which it is permissible to go! Patmore Heath is a nature reserve. It's a designated site of special scientific interest, and leased by the Wildlife Trust, from Albury Parish Council.

The next part could be a bit confusing, so keep alert (sorry to sound patronizing!!) Follow a track at the end of Patmore Heath, firstly in the same direction we've been going. Bear left at a small junction, follow that branch to Holly Cottage at the end on the right. Pass through the gap to the left of Holly Cottage, then walk diagonally across the field behind, in a north-west direction. If the field is heavily cropped, you may prefer to walk around the edge. At the far corner of the field, go through a gap, turn left then follow a path to a road by a timbered house.

Turn right along the road then walk along the road for about 200 metres to come to a path on the left. Turn left here, then follow the path downhill, which lines up with the boundary directly ahead. Cross a brook at a footbridge, then continue in the same direction towards Furneux Pelham. Enjoy the improving views as you get higher.

At the end of the path, turn right onto a road for a short while. Turn left at the next junction by a thatched cottage, and follow this road to Furneux Pelham. There is a footpath running parallel to this which we could have used (I do normally advocate using footpaths over roads, but the views in this case are better from the road!) Carry on to a T junction, then turn right.

At this point, you may want to explore the splendid Church at Furneux Pelham, with its somewhat unusual comments on the tower!

Walking in an easterly direction, follow the road which bends first right, then left. Cross a junction to keep in the same direction. At this junction (where the Brewery Tap pub is,) there used to be a brewery on the left. This has now been converted into dwellings.

Carry on eastwards to an offset junction, then turn left in the direction sign-posted to Stocking Pelham. Follow this road for about 200 metres, then turn right at a footpath signpost. Go through an iron gate, then walk through a yard between two stables to come to another gate. There may be a caravan here too. This doesn't really look like a right of way, but it is! Anyway, go through the gate and follow the path, which has a brook to its right, towards a power sub-station. Follow this field to a corner, then turn right. The path now goes between two pylons (a bigger one to the left, whose two circuits split before the station.)

Continue to the perimeter of the sub-station, then turn left. Follow its edge until a gap on the right. Go through the gap by a signpost saying "Pelham Nature Reserve". Follow the path eastwards through a lightly wooded area. It's not easy at times to see the paths' definition, but there is no chance of getting lost if you stay in a vaguely easterly direction! Walk past a school to your right.

Carry on past the north end of the sub-station with its humming transformers now quite audible! At a point about half-way along its northern perimeter, we now re-enter Essex, as can be seen by the county markers.

Keep on in the same direction, following a public footpath signpost. The next 400 metres or so continues through this wooded area, and can be a bit treacherous as there can be an unevenness caused by horses. Carry on, eventually leaving the Pelham Nature Reserve. Turn half-left to follow the left edge of a field. Continue, after a while coming to a concrete path.

Follow the path, first to the right of a water tower, then under power lines to a house on the left. When you are level with the house, after a shed on the right, there is a footpath sign pointing right. This can be easy to miss, so look out! Take this footpath, and follow the left edge of a field.

At a wooden gate on the left, go through it to leave the field. Be careful here not to trespass, as this skirts a property. Follow a grassed area to the right of the property, going left at a waymarker. Follow this path to a drive, cross the drive, then slightly to the left on the other side, follow a waymarker pointing diagonally across a field.

At the far corner of this field, just to the left of a concrete shed, cross a stile then a footbridge. Turn right to follow the right edge of a field for about 50 metres. Cross another foot-bridge, then the path heads for a pylon in a SSE direction. Walk under this pylon and keep ahead to cross a boundary, continuing in the same direction.

At a track, turn left to walk in an easterly direction. Keep in the same direction at a T junction at the end of the track. Look out for a waymarker pointing in the same easterly direction. Follow the footpath from here, initially on the right edge of a field, but soon going right, then left to go through the left edge of a farm-yard.

Cross a stile at the corner of the yard, to walk along the left edge of a field. Care may be needed for a while here, as when I was here last time, there was a narrow path to follow, with an electric fence to the right!

On arriving at a road, turn left and follow it for about 150 metres. At Maggots End Farm, turn right at a public footpath sign to walk up some steps to a wooden gate, go through the gate, cross the drive which serves Saffron Cottage then continue to the left of an enclosure on the field the other side. After this field, keep in the same direction to follow some power cables.

At the next field cross a bridge (or rather a mound of earth) to continue in the same southerly direction. After a short while, the path goes slightly left to go round the edge of a house, eventually coming to a road (Butt Lane.)

Turn left down Butt Lane and follow its rather non-linear route, first with a double right-left (with increasing magnitude!) Continue to an offset cross-road. Turn first right, then left, still following Butt Lane. Follow to the end, then turn right. Follow this road back into Manuden to come to the end of a hopefully enjoyable ramble.

Click here to get an OS map with the route highlighted (rotated to print correctly.)
Click here for some photos taken along the route.
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