Braintree: six rivers for either owl watching, canoe launches or walking
RIVER CHELMER – SMUGGLERS BARN, WORLD'S END COTTAGE
Small wooded overhang on the N bank of the River Chelmer.
≈ Find Baddow Road, Little Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3. Limited parking on the road, so arrive early or late. Paper Mill Lock is a good place to launch a kayak onto the Chelmer (day ticket payable). Paddle E, away from Paper Mill tea rooms, 1/3 mile to the small wooded section close to the cottage (no access onto the N bank as it private, so stay in the boat). For walkers, there's a FP from Paper Mill Lock, Baddow Road, along the S bank from where you can look across the river for birdlife, voles and feeding fish.
RIVER TER – RIDLEY HALL
Lovely river walk and footbridge for watching owls and bats or swallows and swifts in summer.
≈ Find the The Square and Compasses pub, Fuller Street, Fairstead, Chelmsford, CM3 2BB. Facing the pub turn right (S) and walk 1/4 mile round the bend left until you see the Essex Way sign on the right down the side of the last cottage. After about 700ft take the FP L (E) and follow the FP over the River Ter footbridge and along the river.
RIVER STOUR – BAYTHORNE END
River walk out of Stoke College on the Essex side of the River Stour.
≈ Find Church Park, Sudbury, CO10 8JA. Walk SE along Ashen Lane 1/4 mile over the River Stour bridge and then turn right on the riverpath footpath along the S bank of the Stour to Baythorne End.