Sunday, August 06, 2017

Essex Walks: Matching - Sunday 6 August 2017

Off message but Gill and I did a lovely circular 5.3 mile walk today around Matching in Essex (near Harlow). You start at the ancient village church and walk down the road to the most glorious english duck pond ever. You then cross lush meadows surrounded by woods spoilt only slightly by the occasional jet taking off in the distance from Stansted airport and the faint hum of the M11.

You walk away from this into quiet country lanes and across overgrown bridleways. If you don't like getting your legs a little scratched from thorns and nettles then don't wear shorts.

We passed huge fields planted with a crop of peas or beans that appear to have been left to go black and rot for unknown reasons. Then massive field after field of golden wheat just waiting to be harvested.

There were also countless massive dragonflies and fluttering butterflies with the occasional bird of prey up high on patrol for its next meal. Apart from that we saw hardly anyone for the entire walk.

Halfway through the walk, you could leave the route for the Fox pub in Matching Tye for a meal or drink but instead we enjoyed a picnic on the edge of a wood overlooking yet another expansion of wheat.

You finish off along farm tracks and end up again at the start point, the Church of St.Mary the Virgin which is well worth a visit. The guide book that you can buy inside for £2 suggests it was built on the site of a old Saxon Church and has been altered and rebuilt a number of times during the past 1000 years.

I note that the distinguished Welsh scholar and poet, John Morgan, was a vicar here 1728-1732.

30m to the west of the church is the "unique" two story "Wedding Feast Room" built in the late 15th century "for the entertainment of poor people on their wedding day". Amazing.

In the church there is also a memorial to the 197 American airman from 391st Bomb Group who were killed, wounded or missing while based at the Matching airfield from January to October 1944 in support of the D Day Landing.

This was a great walk only 40 minutes drive from East London in a particularly lovely part of Essex.

Hat tip Essex Walks

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