Explore England’s past, as well as the picturesque North Essex countryside, on this cycle route between two historic villages.
If your idea of England involves medieval villages, stately homes and Morris dancers, then make for this part of North Essex.
Start your journey in Saffron Walden, a town of Tudor, timber-framed houses and two mazes: one of yew in Bridge End Garden and another of turf on the Common. Leaving the town, you’ll pass Audley End House, a Jacobean mansion set within Capability Brown-designed gardens. Have a go on its miniature steam railway, although don’t expect to go much faster than you would by peddle.
Head on out into the open countryside, via Peverel’s Wood and you’ll come to the 17th century barn which houses Debden Antiques. You might not be able to transport home the vintage furniture by saddle but one of the all-day brekkies at their café is a great way to restore the legs. From here it’s straight along to the architectural gem that is Thaxted. Composer Gustav Holst called this town home for a short while and music is still a big influence. Its annual festival attracts international performers and the Spring Bank holiday sees 300 Morris dancers descend in full regalia to create the famous Morris Ring. You have been warned!
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