To Newport or through Rowney Wood
Wild flowers and butterflies along the rides in Rowney Wood and along green lanes; perhaps a glimpse of a few deer.
Some paths cross arable fields that may be ploughed or obstructed by crops; muddy paths in wet weather.
Roadside parking in Debden or train from Liverpool Street or Stratford to Newport
Debden–Newport circuit (ABCDEFGBA or FGBCDEF from Newport stn) 3½–4 hours; Debden–Rowney Woods circuit (AHIJA) 3–3½ hours.
Undulating terrain, mostly on unsurfaced footpaths and green lanes, with some short sections on quiet roads.
Click on a marker on the map for route details
Stage AB: Debden to Debden Water
Leave Debden High Street via a narrow lane that turns off opposite the pond, next to Yuva restaurant, leading to the 13th century church of St Mary the Virgin. From the church gate the path runs to the right around the churchyard, past some huge sycamores in the horse pasture on the right. The path then runs down through the edge of Cottage Wood, then joins another footpath coming in from the right before crossing a bridge over Debden Water, a narrow lake formed by damming the stream, which is a small tributary of the River Cam. Go forward about 50m then turn right on to a grassy path that runs across the arable field.
Stage AH: Debden to Rowney Wood
From the Debden village sign follow Deynes Road, which leaves the main road at an acute angle. Continue past the 'Private Road' sign and, where the road turns left, go straight on on the grass track. Follow the path with a hedgerow on your left, then into Rowney Wood. Follow the footpath more or less straight through the wood, first crossing an access track then an intersection of paths and rides, then joining and leaving another access track. At the end of the wood you emerge on to an arable field.
Stage BC: Meadows above Debden Water
Continue across the arable field then on a broader grass track with meadows either side, up a gentle slope then through a kissing gate on to the road. Turn right and follow the road down into the valley of Debden Water and up the other side. Unfortunately there is not a continuous walkable verge on one side so, to avoid walking on the road, you will have to switch verges. Halfway up the slope the other side cross to a footpath on the left at the farm entrance.
Stage CD: On beside Debden Water
From the farm entrance take the lower footpath, passing over a stile and above a house, then over a second stile and through a meadow. Go through a gate and round the right-hand edge of the next meadow, then over a stile into a third. Where the path splits, the righthand branch is the Harcamlow Way, which we want to follow, but I found this blocked by a blackthorn thicket and took the lefthand path that skirts a wood, then turned right where a footpath crosses about halfway across the meadow, and left beyond the hedge to rejoin the Harcamlow Way. Follow the tall hedgerow on your left to a stile at the end of a long narrow meadow.
Stage DE: By Debden Water into Newport
Go straight on through a small wood, emerging into an arable field with a belt of woodland on the right, at the end of which continue straight on on a farm track which, after a gate, acquires a tarmac surface. Passing a sewage works you come into the northern fringes of Newport, then under the railway on to Water Lane, which brings you out on to the B1083 opposite the toll house for what was once the Newport toll bridge.
Stage EF: Through Newport to the station
Turn right and follow the B1083 for about 50m, crossing to take Bury Water Lane on the left (signposted Newport Free Grammar School). Having passed the school, ignore the first footpath on the left and take a second that turns off at an angle a short way up School Lane, with a stream on its right. This follows the righthand edge of two arable fields, with woodland and then a hedgerow on the right. Towards its end you hear and see traffic on the M11 and steps lead down then left up to a road. Cross straight over to take the footpath opposite, which climbs up between two broad hedgerows – a modern Green Lane? – and brings you back into Newport's southern fringe. The signposted footpath runs more or less straight on between gardens but I found it impassable. To avoid it turn right on the road then left down Frambury Lane and cross the main road into Station Lane, heading for Newport station.
Stage FG: Green Lane from Newport station
A loose-surfaced Green Lane – a by-road, i.e. vehicles can use it – leads half right from the exit from platform 1 (so cross the footbridge if coming from Station Lane or arriving at platform 2). It starts with dense vegetation both sides. After passing a chalk pit it climbs gently and the hedge on the right ends to reveal arable fields. Continue beside a gappy hedge on the left until you join a tarmac road.
Stage GB: Via Cabbage Wood back to Debden
Follow the tarmac road for a short way, with a riding school on the right, then continue on the bridleway past Waldegraves Farm and through open arable fields to the corner of Cabbage Wood. About 50m further take the footpath that leads half-left into the wood via a kissing gate. Before long you emerge from the shady wood into an arable field and see the spire of Debden's ancient church down in the valley ahead. The path joins the outgoing route from Debden part way across the field. Go straight ahead across the bridge over Debden Water then bear right to follow the footpath back to the church and from there on up to Debden itself.
Stage HI: Rowney Corner and Pepples Lane
Turn right on leaving the wood, following the path beside the wood for 100m, then turning left across an arable field. Go straight on where a footpath crosses, then over a footbridge on to a grass track with a gappy hedge on your left. The path turns right for 50m at the corner of the field, then left with a hedge on your right. Turn right when you come out on to the road at Rowney Corner, then almost immediately right again into Pepples Lane. About 300m down the surfaced lane, bear right off it into a narrow Green Lane between tall hedges. You emerge briefly from the Green Lane into a field corner, then it resumes and shortly after you enter Rowney Wood.
Stage IJ: Return through Rowney Wood
Follow the footpath into the wood, navigating around several ponds. Soon the path joins a loose-surfaced track for 500m or so. Where the track goes right, continue straight on on a grassy track that before long brings you out of the wood again via a footbridge.
Stage JA: Rowney Wood to Debden
On leaving the wood follow the footpath straight on with the wood on your right. Follow it to the right around the corner of the wood and after 50m turn left on to a footpath that follows a hedgerow on the right along the edge of an arable field. A footbridge takes you to the other side of the hedge, and continue beside it along the edge of another arable field. After turning right at a hedge corner the path heads straight across the field to the opposite side, turning left when it meets the hedgerow to follow it to the corner. From here the path heads half-right across the field to a waymaker in the hedgerow opposite, from where it climbs up through the next field heading for Deynes Farm. Turn left on the track in front of the farm and follow Deynes Road back to Debden.