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​Bridge Street to Maldon Road

This part runs from Bridge Street to Maldon Road and is laid mainly to open recreational grassland. Along this section is a Backchannel and an area to be designated a Local Nature Reserve.

The Backwater Channel brings the old river back to life. A project carried out in 2012 by Essex Wildlife Trust has accessed the old original silted river bed and opened it up so that the river no longer flows solely through the artificially straightened 'Mill Race'. The rejuvenated old channel winds its way across the site through several bends, called meanders. This natural channel shape helps to slow the flow of water and reduces the likelihood of flooding downstream by holding water back. This area is already recognised for its importance to wildlife and is designated a Local Wildlife Site.

The path from Bridge Street has open grass to one side and looks over the river to Moorfield Court on the other. The path then passes by an opening to Luard Way to one side, opposite where the Backwater Channel leaves the main river bed. The path continues on to a wide grassed area next to Pattisson Close and the Howbridge Estate, built in the early 1950s by the then Witham Urban District Council architect  Stanley Bragg. Just before the walk opens out lies Howbridge Hall, a 16th Century farmhouse. This manor and farm is mentioned in the Domesday Survey and has extensive gardens and ponds.  As the walk opens out into this wide area, a path from Laurence Avenue crosses the main path and continues on to the Town Park passing Helen Court and the Hockey and Cricket Club grounds. The main path then continues to Maldon Road, just past Sauls Bridge. Here there is a connection just north of the bridge to Whetmead Nature Reserve and The Blackwater Rail Trail. Taking the path to the park, on the left is the Local Nature Reserve area and to the right an open grassed area for recreational use.

Sources: Witham Town Council; Witham & Countryside Society; Ruth and Ron Fosker; Janet Gyford.

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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