[The Sussex Diamond Way
[The Wey-South Path
[The Essex Way
[Stour & Orwell
[Thanet Coast Path
[Grand Union
[Regents Canal
[Gipping Valley River Path
[Three Castles Path
[Capital Ring / Parkland Walk
[The Loop
[Fife Coastal Path
[Lea Valley Walk
[Greensand Way
[The Monarch's Way
[Sandlings Walk
[Solent Way
[Weavers Way
[Fynn Valley Way
[Scafell Pike
[Ben Nevis
[Pentland Hills
[Hangers Way
[Staunton Way
[Downs Link
[Airdrie Bathgate Cycle Path
[Thames Down
[Marriot's Way
[Bournemouth Coast Path
[Forest Way
[Icknield Way
[Suffolk Coast Path
[Angles Way
[River Parrett Trail
[New River Path
[Stour Valley Path
[St Edmund Way
[Centenary Walk
[John Muir Way
[Paston Way
[East Mendip Way
[Orford Ness
[Southern Upland Way
[Berwickshire Coastal
[Beverley Brook Walk
[Chess Valley Walk
[West Mendip Way
[Strawberry Line
[Colne Valley Trail
[Hillingdon Trail
[Huddersfield Canal Towpath Walk
[Trans Pennine Trail
[Pennine Way
[North Berwick Law
[Green Chain Walk
[Ridgeway London
[Waterlink Way
[Greenwich Meridian Trail
[Shuttle Riverway
[Kelvin Walkway
[Clyde Walkway
[Union Canal Walk
[New Lipchis Way
[Brent River Park Walk
[Dog Rose Ramble
[Pymme's Brook Trail
[Dollis Valley Greenwalk
[Wandle Trail
[Celandine Route
[Paths to Prosperity
[Paths to Prosperity Part Two] 


Chelmer And Blackwater Navigation

The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation is the canalisation of the Rivers Chelmer and Blackwater in Essex, in the east of England. The navigation runs for 13.75 miles (22.13 km) The navigation runs from Springfield Basin in Chelmsford to the sea lock at Heybridge Basin near Maldon. It has 13 locks, including a flood lock, six bridges and drops 23 metres (75.4 feet) from the basin to the sea (source Wikipedia)


Springfield Basin, Chelmsford to Heybridge Basin, Maldon

Saturday 1 December 2012 - 16.5 Miles (13.75 On Navigation)


Continuing on with the Canal theme, this one popped in me skull, as the weather has continued to be crap and in general towpaths have been a safe bet, but I didn't realise that this one, although obviously flat, was to be totally unimproved, and therefore I spent most of the distance 'slip slidin away', and was in a foul mood (scary!) at times and I wish I would have done what was really a very pleasant walk in all other regards in drier conditions, but that is the nature of walking...

From Chelmsford station I walked up to Greggs and they hooked me up with some welcome comestibles for my journey, on a rather cold day.  I then walked along Victoria Road, to pass 'Back Inn Time' - a gaff with a clock outside that runs backwards and has been there for many years.  Here I heard a shrill whistle and looked back to see steam from an old train passing over the rail bridge as it disappeared towards London, before carrying on to cross the River Chelmer and then join Springfield Road, turning right into Springfield and then left into Navigation Road then Wharf Road to reach the basin of the canal, surrounded by a mixture of new build trendyville and run down old industrial land.  From here I walked on down Wharf Road to reach a bridge by the Chelmer (not crossing), and walked along the path by the weir to reach the first lock (Springfield) and at the bridge here I looked back along the cut towards the basin, before following a slippery path on the North Side to soon pass the confluence of the River and the cut, to follow the flood plain under the concrete A138 Chelmer Bridge (The main A12 when I was a nipper) and passing by some non plussed Equines along the navigation, passing by Barnes Lock and at Sandford Lock the Chelmsford Centenary Circle joins the Navigation for 1 Mile.   I had a quick breather, and heard the cracking of ice (that cold) as a procession of four canoists pulled their boats out of the water.  After a bit of friendly banter, they headed off putting their boats back in on the East end of the lock and after passing under the imposing A12 Chelmsford Bypass they then headed back again obviously having had enough of the cold just before Cuton Lock.  I bravely carried on regardless, with the constant roar of the A12 to my West, and shortly left the Chelmsford Centenary Circle which mosseys on over westwards back towards the A12.  The walk was very quiet (most people not stupid enough to be out sliding on the mud) and the scenery became more rural.  Little Baddow Lock was rather delightful with a lovely view towards the village - here a few fishermen in waders wandered by, not before a pleasant salutation, which was the theme for today, everyone was so nice to me!  (ahh)

Anyway, another treat was at Paper Mill Lock, where you can hire a boat apparently, and there is a marina, also and most importantly is a tea room   where I stopped for a cream soda and Coffee and Walnut cake.  I resolutely decided to eat it outside as even though it was so bloomin cold I liked the atmosphere and activity going on here.  Then I was on passing Rushes Lock, passing a pretty Church on the other bank at Ulting and Hoe Mill Lock was another pleasant place for a quick breather as the mud was taking its toll.  Passing Ricketts Lock and then a complicated junction between the Chelmer, now heading off into Maldon, The River Blackwater and walking on along the Langford Cut, built to bypass Maldon, which is followed by a Golf Course on a good surface, then passing round the North Edge of Maldon under the A414 bypass (partly on the old Railway Formation) and along by Tescos to continue by factory units.  About half a mile before the end, I reached a working party of volunteers clearing brush from the towpath, and they had a wonderful big fire on the go - another exchange of pleasantries and then I soon reached Heybridge Basin and the Sea Lock.  The tide was in, and I sat on a bench soaking up the lovely atmosphere here, looking out over Northey Island and the River Blackwater.  After half hour I made my way back into Maldon, this time crossing the sea lock and following the River Embankment round and up between the lake and Blackwater with Maldon slowly looming closer and dusk started to encroach.  I somehow ended up walking into town via Station Road and then up Fullbridge, Market Hill then right into the High Street.  A pre Christmas shindig was in the offing by the Town Hall, with the good Citizens of the town and the Mayor in his finery in attendance, a charming end to a mostly pleasant day, and as I caught the bus back to Chelmsford Station I was feeling quite pleased with the day

Chelmsford Station, shortly before Steam Train shenanigans

Crossing the Chelmer on Victoria Road

Springfield Basin, a right mix of posh and tat

I messed up a bit getting from the basin to the first lock, but this is the Chelmer which was followed South for a brief period.  It seems that there is a path from the basin to the lock on the North Side of the Navigation, but I followed on the South side.  There are some rollers along here which must have been used in some way to bypass the weir in the past?

Springfield Lock looking back to the basin.  The River Chelmer is out of sight to the left of shot.  You cross this bridge then walk away from the flats to reach the old A12

Equine Shenanigans and the A138 Chelmer Bridge, looking back towards Chelmsford

Approaching Sandford Lock

Just about to go under the A12 Chelmsford Bypass

The Canoists who joined me at Sandford Lock

After the A12 bridge you follow in the shadow of the A12 briefly before turning Eastwards - The Centenary Circle Walk Leaves at this point

Little Baddow Lock

Near Paper Mill Lock a couple of Local walks are waymarked heading off into the waterlogged fields, one is the Admiral McHardy Way, celebrating Policing in Essex

Paper Mill Lock - Boat Hire and The Old Stables Tea Room - Kick Ass!  This is also the half way point on the Navigation

At Rushes Lock, the water was full of debris carried down by the floodwater and most of the locks were overflowing

Ulting Church

Looking back to Hoe Mill Lock

Pipe Bridge Walkway near Hoe Mill, obviously doesn't get much use

Overflowing Gates at Ricketts Lock

The Blackwater meets the Chelmer and the Langford Cut Commences, continuing the Navigation under the bridge in the background

The other side of the bridge, looking back to the rivers.  The Langford cut has a branch to the right leading up to Langford strangely enough...

Easy walking for a bit, with Golf Course on right

After passing under the bypass, you continue to skirt round the edge of Maldon on the Langford Cut

The last bridge you pass under, carrying the B1022, with Essex County Council Badge

Working Party of Volunteers clearing the towpath...Respect

Heybridge Basin Sea Lock - only available on a prebooked basis.  I sat here on a bench looking out over the Blackwater, with views over Northey Island and I could make out the shadows of (decommisioned) Bradwell Power Station in the far distance

Sea Lock with amazingly long Balance Beams

Now following the wall of the Blackwater around

Remains of boat with engine block still in situ!

Approaching Maldon

Approaching through an old industrial area, I walked up Station Road - this is the Combined Military Services Museum

Maldon East Station - I would have preferred to have had the option of leaving Maldon by train but due to an unfortunate mindset culminating in the Beeching Cuts the possibility was cruelly absent

Crossing the Chelmer on Fullbridge

The mayor of Maldon doing his funky thing at the pre Crimbo shindig.  Entertainment while waiting for my bus to Chelmsford

[Home][The Sussex Diamond Way][The Wey-South Path][The Essex Way][Links][Stour & Orwell][Thanet Coast Path][Grand Union][Wealdway][HWLT][SDW][Elham][Regents Canal][1066][SSW][PW NCP][Cotswold][SVW][DVP][SBP][Thames][SWCP][Gipping Valley River Path][Speyside][Three Castles Path][GGW][Eden][NDW][Capital Ring / Parkland Walk][MVW][The Loop][Ridgeway][TWC][RMCP][SMW][Fife Coastal Path][OVW][Vanguard][Lea Valley Walk][Resources][Greensand Way][The Monarch's Way][E2][Sandlings Walk][Solent Way][Weavers Way][Fynn Valley Way][Scafell Pike][Snowdon][Ben Nevis][Pentland Hills][Hangers Way][Staunton Way][Downs Link][Airdrie Bathgate Cycle Path][Thames Down][Marriot's Way][Bournemouth Coast Path][Forest Way][Icknield Way][Suffolk Coast Path][Angles Way][River Parrett Trail][New River Path][Stour Valley Path][St Edmund Way][Centenary Walk][John Muir Way][Paston Way][East Mendip Way][Orford Ness][Lindisfarne][Southern Upland Way][Berwickshire Coastal][Beverley Brook Walk][Chess Valley Walk][West Mendip Way][Strawberry Line][Colne Valley Trail][Hillingdon Trail][Huddersfield Canal Towpath Walk][Trans Pennine Trail][Pennine Way][North Berwick Law][Green Chain Walk][Ridgeway London][Waterlink Way][Greenwich Meridian Trail][Shuttle Riverway][Kelvin Walkway][Clyde Walkway][Union Canal Walk][New Lipchis Way][Brent River Park Walk][Dog Rose Ramble][Pymme's Brook Trail][Dollis Valley Greenwalk][Wandle Trail][Celandine Route][Paths to Prosperity]