Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Essex Woodlands Tour Was a Big Hit

The recent "Essex Woodlands Tour" which I ran as part of my year round programme of Coach Trips was a great success.

It was this year`s Autumn Colours Tour. Every year we visit an area where it is hoped that the leaves will be at their Autumnal best, with those lovely hues of gold and russet.

We left St. Margarets Bus Station in Leicester as usual, and proceeded past Huntingdon, leaving the M11 at Duxford.

Eventually we crossed the border into the beautiful county of Essex, and drove through lots of lovely villages such as Great Yeldham and Sible Hedingham and down the steep High Street of the fascinating market town of Halstead, before arriving at our coffee stop.

This was at the recently opened Gosfield Shopping Village. Not only is there a collection of interesting craft shops, there is a very nice tea shop where Jacquie Surman made us welcome. Recommended when you are in the area!

From there we drove up Bradford Street in Bocking, one of the finest streets in England, and through several of the Roding villages, before arriving at the first of our three main stops.

This stop was at Chipping Ongar. Most of the group visited the unassuming but atmospheric St. Martins Church. I seized the opportunity to get a coffee at Scott`s, a pleasant tea shop in the High Street.

For many, the next stop, short though it was, turned out to be the highlight of the day. It was at Greenstead-juxta-Ongar, where in a woodland glade is the amazing St. Andrews Church. Dating back to before the Norman Conquest, it is the oldest timber building in England and the oldest timber church in the world.

On we went to Epping. I had a good meal at Sweet Temptations. So did most of the other passengers, on my recommendation. I don`t think the restaurant had ever been so busy!

Then after a drive through part of Epping Forest and near to the River Lea, which will feature heavily in the London Olympics, we arrived at the last of the three scheduled stops, at Waltham Abbey. Most of the party went into the abbey church itself, where the verger gave an impromptu talk about its history.

Before going home, we made a very brief stop at Waltham Cross, to view the Eleanor Cross, one of only three that still remain in place.

On the way back to Leicester, we made a stop for coffee at Northampton Services, the one that used to be called Rothersthorpe.

My Vistors` Book received some very nice comments, including "a really enjoyable and interesting day", "it has made me want to see more of Essex","great day" and "three good stops in a part of England I had never been to".

Next year`s Autumn Colours Tour is "Wyre Forest Tour". Why not book now?