Beating the Bounds 3: Coastal Path at Battlesbridge

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From the cafe on the upper storey of the Antiques Centre in the old mill at Battlesbridge a view of the River Crouch. Battlesbridge is the head of the River Crouch navigation, the upper reach of the tidal zone and site of the most easterly bridge over the river. Geographically Battlesbridge sits at the south west corner of the Dengie peninsula.

On the north bank a rough track along the riverside (not a registered PROW) shortly connects with a riverside footpath (PROW 229_41) where a creek inlet meets Maltings Road by the Riverside Industrial Park. This rough track should form part of the Coastal Path.

Heading west along the riverside footpath walkers are soon diverted in a north-westerly direction(PROW 229_27) towards the busy Burnham Road (A132) where a perilous crossing is required to continue on the footpath  to Woodham Road. This diversion forms one of the two major obstacles to be overcome by the Coastal Path in forming a riverside route along the Crouch. A track (not a registered PROW) does continue east along the banks of the Crouch past Hayes Farm Caravan Park, Hayes Farm itself and around Fenn Creek past Tabrum’s Farm where it might meet the public footpath (PROW 229_28) that connects with the riverside route around South Woodham Ferrers beginning with another footpath (PROW 298_35) – if a solution could be found to crossing the intervening railway track of the Couch Valley Line. The easiest solution is probably, instead, a footbridge shortly before the railway embankment directly connecting to PROW 298_35 and Woodham Fenn. An alternative would be a larger footbridge at the mouth of the creek connecting to PROW 298_35, but this would have to be high enough to allow leisure craft to sail underneath as the creek is used by the local boat club. This might make a fine feature but would be significantly more expensive than the previously mentioned footbridge to Woodham Fenn.

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Battlesbridge area from Chapman and André’s 1777 map of Essex

Footpaths used:
Rettendon Parish, Path #41 (PROW 229_41)
Rettendon Parish, Path #27 (PROW 229_27)
Rettendon Parish, Path #28 (PROW 229_28
South Woodham Ferrers Parish, Path #35 (PROW 298_35)

Maps used:
OS Explorer #175 (Southend-on-Sea & Basildon)
Chapman and André’s 1777 map of Essex

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