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A stroll in border country
  In an extract from her new book on Essex walks, Angie Jones heads from Lamarsh to Alphamstone and back. She has outlined the route in stages
1Drive past the round tower of Lamarsh church on your left and look for a place to park by the road side. You are entering the tiny village. This is just what I
did on a beautiful blue-sky morning in early spring. I left my car near the telephone box, by Weast Brook bungalows and turned right towards the houses.
2. At Brook House, the home of a brewer and beer seller in the 17th century, turn right towards Alphamstone where you will see a lovely old thatched house, Reynolds, on the corner. This is Lamarsh road and you will find that it is lined with a pleasing mix of old and new properties.
I came to Holly Cottage where daffodils peeped over a low brick wall and everywhere white narcissi seemed to overflow from gardens. I saw April Cottage has a thick thatch then Orchard House appeared on my left, a fine medieval hall with an elaborate brick chimney stack. It was once called Street Farm.
3. Keep on the road until you see a footpath sign pointing left, by a new bungalow. It follows the course of the stream with its soothing gurgle of flowing water. The path leads to open
pasture land. Keep the hedge to your left. From the trees on my left came the
whining roar of a chainsaw and the smell of petrol. Hazel catkins hung from thin branches where great tits called – their repetitive notes reminding me of someone pumping up a bicycle tyre.
4. You will see newly planted woodland with young saplings then take the right path up the hillside where brambles arch over rough grassland and brash yellow splashes of dandelions flower in spring and summer. As you ascend, faraway views of Suffolk will become visible between the trees, and look out for the tiny train chugging across the Stour valley. The railway was built in 1848, when mammoth tusks were found during its construction. It once connected Colchester and Cambridge, but now carries passengers from Sudbury to Marks Tey passing through lovely countryside and over Chappel viaduct.
5. With Parkhill Wood and its bluebells and yellow stars of celandine in spring on your left, continue straight along the path which falls down to another stream where a concrete pipe serves as a bridge. Look for an information board just after you’ve crossed the stream.
A sign told me there is permissive access to a wild flower meadow and to the right - the site of a Roman villa. As I tramped up the slope where last year’s knapweed created a brown haze of seed-heads, I noticed young green leaves of cow mumble and buttercups giving hints of the beauty to come.
6. Across the field you will soon see the red-tiled roof and wooden tower of St ‘
 Walk details
Just a stone’s throw from Suffolk, overlooking the River Stour, amidst lovely countryside sits the little village of Lamarsh. This is a circular walk that rises and falls with the gently rolling landscape. Follow country lanes, pass through wild flower meadows and skirt woodland and fields.
Distance. 2.4 miles or Time. One and a half hours.
Map. OS Explorer. 196. Sudbury, Hadleigh and Dedham Vale.
Start. Roadside parking near centre of the village.
Refreshments. The Henny Swan is two miles from Sudbury. It serves food every day from 12.00 noon until 8 pm. From April to September you can eat in the riverside garden.
Toilets. No public toilets in Lamarsh.
Getting there. From Sudbury take the A131 to Halstead and turn left towards Bures at the bottom of Ballingdon Hill. Follow this narrow lane as it twists and turns past Middleton and Henny Street with the River Stour on your left and gentle hills rising on your right.

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