Yesterday, we drove though a few more villages in Sussex and Essex (to the north and east of Colchester). Ajll were very quaint and we enjoyed pottering around them.
It was raining during the morning and our visit to Cavendish was wet but the houses that looked on to the village green were very attractive.
At Clare, we managed to snag a parking spot right in the market square and that gave me some time to explore the village on foot. There was an auction house right across the road and I could hear the auctioneer taking bids on objects just like the BBC show ‘Bargain Hunt’.
Clare has a fascinating history and an appearance that hes evolved over many centuries. The Country Park contains the ruins of a castle, with a long closed railway line. The station building is. now a cafe. It is the home of a 16th century hostelry and a number of pubs, some of great antiquity, all serving excellent food.
There are a selection of antique shops and art galleries to visit, as well as a comprehensive range of excellently stocked shops. I couldn’t help but walk into the Ironmongers and talk tom the owner about his business.. I haven’t seen a shop like this one for many years.
Outside the village of Castle Hedingham is the preserved Colne Valley Railway. It has a very picturesque station but the track is only a mile long.
We had lunch in Castle Hedingham in an old coaching pub – The Bell Inn. It was full of little rooms with low beamed ceilings. It was originally erected as a wattle-and-daub “hall house” (with a high ceiling up to the gables) around 1440, with a floor installed to make an “upstairs” around 1500. The Shepherds Pie as very nice along with a pint of cider.
This little medieval village has many interesting houses. One especially, reminded me of the old nursery rhyme ‘There was a crooked man in a crooked little house. . . . . .’
After lunch, we drove on to our fourth village for the day at Finchingfield. The quaint village there has a large village green on both sides of a stream and duck pond. It is another ‘chocolate box’ village. The army had erected a tent on the green with a small display to commemorate D-Day. The soldiers were from a Regiment that parachutes in and clears mines and bombs. The Corporal and Private had seen service overseas and were happy to have a chat.
This surrounding area is planted with fields of grain and some antique windmills remain in some fo the villages. We found this one that was built in 1806 in Thaxted.
Thaxted is a small country town with a recorded history which dates back to before the Domesday Book. Yet although the town is full of considerable architectural interest, its attraction as a place to visit arises just as much from the special character of the town as a community. Thaxted has no artificial tourist attractions; it remains today what is has been for the last ten centuries – a thriving town which moves with the times, but also treats its heritage from the past with great respect. The past and the present seem to come together in Thaxted.