Flitch Way, Essex Part Two / Little Dunmow to Hatfield Forest / 4K Virtual Bike Ride
Adventure / History / Nature / Beauty / Flitch Way Nature Reserve has it all. Join Stephen and Yhana as they travel from Braintree Train Station, Essex, England too Little Dunmow Priory – the final resting place of the legendary Maid Marian. This is a 4K Cycle Ride along the first half of Flitch Way – A journey filled with history, adventure, nature and beauty. The Flitch way is an old railway line that ran between Braintree and Bishop’s Stortford, it opened in 1869 – and served Essex for nearly 100 years before closing in 1972. Although the last passenger train was in 1952. It took another twenty years before the line was closed completely. In 1980 the old line was purchased by Essex County Council and 14 years later in 1994 Flitch Way Country Park opened. It is now an area of natural beauty and well worth visiting with its rail museum and tea rooms at Rayne’s old Railway Station. The Flitch Way runs for fifteen miles from Braintree station to Start Hill near Bishops Stortford and is an important greenway and wildlife corridor. For most of the way it provides a safe traffic free environment for walkers, cyclists and horse riders and forms part of National Cycle Network Route 16. The name “Flitch Way” originated from the Flitch ceremony in Little Dunmow whereby couples who could prove that they had not argued in marriage after a year and a day would be awarded a flitch (side) of bacon. Whether you come to walk, bike, run or ride your horse, there is lot to see and enjoy along the Flitch Way including wildlife, countryside views and traces of Britain’s industrial heritage. I intend to complete this journey at the Priory Church in Little Dunmow – Where legend has it, is the final resting place of Robin Hood’s true love – Maid Marian. So stick around and enjoy the video.
- Published: 16 July 2021
- Location: Essex, England
- Duration: 56:15
- Photography – Stephen Robert Kuta / Yhana Kuta
- Written by – Stephen Robert Kuta
Welcome to part two of a 15 mile virtual bike ride from Braintree Train Station to Hatfield Forest near Bishops Stortford.
Part one and two of these videos showcase a virtual journey along the FLITCH WAY, Essex – now designated a nature reserve.
The journey is beautiful, but the path cuts in two when you reach Great Dunmow, and unless you know the area or have a really good map its difficult to navigate. this needs improving by Essex County Council or the Friends of Flitch Way.
Little Dunmow to Hatfield Forest
Hatfield Forest was designated a Forest by King Henry I in about 1100.
This was mostly in regard to hunting deer and very little to do with trees. Fallow deer were introduced to improve the hunting.
Fallow Deer originally come from the Island of Sicily. Fallow deer were introduced to help supplement the native red deer. Sicily was at this time a Norman province, so the family link may have helped.
There is little evidence to suggest that the Henry and his successors spent much time hunting in the Forest. It did however provide venison for the Royal table. In addition, the King would allow his favourites to hunt in the Forest, as a reward for loyal service.
The King surrendered ownership of the land in 1238, but retained hunting rights for a further 200 years, until 1446.
Confusingly to modern minds, the designation of the area as a Forest (with a capital “F”) had very little to do with trees. It meant the area was reserved for hunting and within this area, a special law, Forest Law, applied.
Whilst popular folklore such as the Tales of Robin Hood might suggest harsh punishments being handed out for poaching royal game, there is little evidence in the local court records to suggest that this was so in Hatfield Forest.
Hatfield Forrest truly is an ancient woodland – more then 1000 years old – It has a long history and once owned by Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland – hunting however, still belonged to the King of England
As well as the trees, Hatfield Forest is home to over 3,500 species of wildlife , some of which are uncommon and threatened. The wild deer off cause are the descendants of the original medieval deer herd brought here to England from Sicily.
Not only were fallow deers brought here to England, but Rabbits were too,
There is an artificial rabbit warren in Hatfield Forest which is a scheduled monument in its own right. Rabbits didn’t adapt very easily to the British climate and in medieval times, they were housed in artificial burrows where they were nurtured by a Warrener. It wasn’t until the 17th century that they became naturalised.
Hatfield forest contains over 400 plant species, and 600 different fungi.
With some Oak trees more than 1000 years old.
The book is available to buy through Amazon and via all good bookshops.
LINK BELOW –
RECEIVE A FREE SIGNED COPY BY SIGNING UP AND SUPPORTING OUR JOURNEY ON PATREON.