A Walk for All Seasons

Woods, Fields & History

The Walk Downham Stock Ingatestone Postscript Attribution Read Me


This Essex walk of about 12 miles takes us through Downham, and on to Stock and Buttsbury, before we reach Ingatestone Hall. It can be done in all seasons and most weathers. However, do expect some muddy conditions in inclement weather. Good boots and hiking gear are always strongly recommended.

Stock windmill - there used to be three windmills close together in Stock.
This one has outlived its erstwhile companions.

The pictures are a selection of ones I have taken at many times of the year, over a succession of years, from the height of summer to the depths of winter, not forgetting the months in between. This emphasises that this is a walk for all seasons! In addition, Ingatestone Hall is open in summer.

The pictures provide a small preview of what you will see and experience on the walk. After the walk you can come back to them to see how many of the scenes you recognise as ones you have enjoyed - albeit perhaps at a time of year different from that in which I originally took the pictures!

Before we look at our actual walk, here is a "rough and ready" diagram of our route.

Our Route from Wickford to Ingatestone.

Wickford to Downham

From Wickford we almost immediately come into gently rolling countryside, rising up towards the pretty village of Downham. From Downham church we can then take in views towards the south, as far as Kent.

Winter view across to Downham Church from the Grange

Downham Church

Crowsheath Woods


Onwards we go, through fields and woods, admiring the vast expanse of Hanningfield reservoir, which is probably the largest man-made lake in Essex. We then reach the affluent village of Stock, with its windmill and two aspects spiritual: the mature church and the well established watering holes.

Thatched cottage south east of Stock

Stock's village sign

Stock: The Bear stands guard over the Inn named after him.

Stock windmill - there used to be three windmills close together in Stock.
This one has outlived its erstwhile companions.

A wooded approach to Stock Church.

Stock Church

Roses clamber around an ancient window of Stock Church

Buttsbury and Ingatestone

We continue onwards via the ancient church of Buttsbury to reach Ingatestone Hall, a 16th century manor house built by Sir William Petre (pronounced "Peter"), Secretary of State to four Tudor monarchs. Ingatestone Hall is still the home of the Petre family. The famous entrance with its "Sans dieu rien" clock greets us as we come in for tea and/or admire the house and gardens.

Buttsbury Church. Was there a settlement here in mediaeval times?

View from Buttsbury churchyard.

Ingatestone Hall. The long avenue leading to the entrance with its famous "San Dieu Rien" clock.

Ingatestone Hall from the gardens

Ingatestone Hall: Roses clamber over an ancient wall.

Ingatestone Hall from the gardens


Essex has a lot of rural secrets just waiting to be discovered - gentle countryside sprinkled liberally with a nice dose of history. So, whatever the season, put on those walking boots and pack your camera, and enjoy what Essex has to offer! Add your day to your treasure trove of pleasant life experiences.


Please Note. The Essex crest in the header is created by me, using as reference, my photograph of the crest on the Runwell Village sign.