Sunday, May 19, 2024

"Exploring the Elizabeth Line" - Walk 20 Shenfield to Brentwood via Ingrave & Thorndon Country Park


Gill and I were lucky today to have a perfect warm, sunny spring Sunday to complete this 7.5 mile walk from Shenfield station to Brentwood Station. This was courtesy of this book "Exploring the Elizabeth Line", which has 23 walks starting (and mostly finishing) from the new London Crossrail line. 

Just around the corner from Shenfield station, we stopped of at petrol station with M&S food store, for picnic supplies (I had to eat, there and then, their hot sausage roll - super delicious). 

The first part of the walk is through the "Hutton Mount" estates, which I had assumed beforehand was a Council estate but turned out to be hundreds of mostly gated luxury homes with  private security security patrols. Incredible - I have never seen the like outside central London. None of whom had Labour Party posters up (see end of walk). I note that some homes cost more than £4 million. Which to me, to be honest, pretty sickening, that some have so much while so many others have so little.  

Wikipedia however, describes the wider village of Hutton, as being where the first Essex Policeman was murdered on duty in 1850 and were in 1905, the Chair of Poplar Board of Guardians (East London workhouses) George Lansbury (famous for going to prison over the Poplar rate rebellion and becoming the  leader of the Labour Party), built a training school for destitute children. I use to manage the social housing block called "George Lansbury House" in Tower Hamlets. 

Thorndon Hall was also an impressive building to view. A former stately home (top left) now converted into luxury private flats. I doubt "very much" it contains any social housing.

It was surprisingly quiet and even isolated in most part but there were a fair number of walkers, cyclists and runners enjoying the countryside. Due to recent rain it was very green and lush. The bird song was marvellous, lots of squirrels and occasional dragon flies. There was also lots of shade and lovely dappled sunshine paths. 

No stiles or obstructions to climb over (on the day). 

Instructions in book pretty clear but best to have a gps backup on your phone such as Detailed maps & routes to explore across the UK | OS Maps

Just before we finished in Brentwood, we came across a large "Vote Labour" placard (bottom left) on the balcony of a flat in a small tower block, which I am not sure if it was private or social housing but I am sure it did not cost £4 million. 

Afterwards stopped off at the Holly Tree in Forest Gate, where I enjoyed a pint of Spitfire in the crowded pub garden (but in plastic cup). 

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