Hey, what’s new? We’ve shared so many hidden gems with you over the last few months. Have you any to share with us too? Please head over to Facebook and share your gems with us! I’ve you haven’t seen already, we’ve shared gems from West Sussex, Cheshire, Derbyshire and Norfolk. And today we cover Essex – a county that I have very little knowledge on! Luckily Amy at Living the Harmon Life is helping me out. Take it away Amy!
Hidden Gems in Braintree, Essex – The Flitch Way
The Flitch Way is a 15 mile stretch of pathway that would have originally been train tracks connecting Bishops Stortford to Braintree. Since closing in 1952 the tracks have been removed and is now a beautiful walkway linking the two – if you fancy a little 15 mile walk!
I have lived in Braintree all my life and although I had heard of the Flitch Way, its not a place I had actually visited until recently.
We decided to park at Rayne Station, the original train station in Rayne which is now set up as ‘The Booking Hall’ cafe. There is a small car park which is all free and the cafe sells lovely sandwiches and coffees! The station has all the original features with seating inside as well as along the platform. We sat outside on the platform to eat our lunch and then set off to have a look around.
Train Fun for Little Ones
Outside the train station is an original carriage of a train that would have been used on the Bishops Stortford to Braintree route. Stanley and I went inside and it’s set out like a little museum and shows all the history of the rail line and the station itself. Amazingly admission is free (donations welcome) and run by volunteers which guide you through and give little speeches about the history. The volunteer reeled Stanley in with the model railway which was set up exactly like the original railway and station would have been when in use.
When I finally managed to get Stanley off the train we decided to take a walk and headed in the direction of Braintree. With two children in tow we were never going to walk miles but it was lovely for the children to be able to walk and explore. The pathway is shaded by trees and only used by walkers/cyclists and horses so there was no fear of the children running off into the road.
Plenty of Space to Play
After walking for about 15 minutes we came across a large playing field. There was one of those outside gyms, a skate park, playground and a village hall with free public toilets (which is very important when out with children.) Its always nice to go to a park that isn’t your local one and we spent a really long time here. Delilah demands to go on the swings and never lets you stop pushing her. I was amazed by Stanley’s lack of fear as climbed to the top of the ropes. This park would also be lovely to come to with a picnic and just spend the day here as a free day out over the Summer holidays.
Obviously if you didn’t have two children that refuse to walk, there is 15 miles worth of countryside to explore.
When my arms were aching and the children worn out, we walked back to the cafe and sat in the sun with a cup of tea and ice lollies. The cafe stays open until 5pm in the Summer so it’s lovely to relax on the platform late afternoon and watch the world go by.
We had a lovely day out along the Flitch Way and would thoroughly recommend to everyone and will definitely be returning again soon.