16th June 16:00-17:30
Meeting Point: 16:00, Reception at Sheepen Place
Finish Point 17:30, Car Park at Sheepen Place
There will be two walks available – 1. Cymberline Meadows Farm Trail and 2. Cymberline Meadows Farm Trial incorporating a walk through Hilly Fields.
1. Cymbeline Meadows is a 74 hector area of working farm land comprising a rich variety of habitats including pastures, arable fields, meadows, woodland and the meandering river Colne. The Farm Trail is approx. 2.6km mostly on unsurfaced grass paths. The site is a quiet, peaceful place to enjoy a walk, its formerly part of Lexden Lodge Farm managed as a commercial arable farm and the Council acquired the land in 1988. Previously the riverside meadows were cultivated with cereal crops, in the 1990s they were sown with a mixture of wildflowers and grasses to provide pasture. Cattle now graze these meadows in the spring and summer. The main area of woodland on the site is called Charter Wood in the North East corner. It is an area of about 10 hectors of mixed deciduous woodland. The wood was planted in 1992 to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the granting of the Charter to the Borough by Richard I (The Lionheart). Along the entrance drive look out for one of Colchester’s most interesting archaeological features, the Lexden Dyke, a bank and ditch system built to defend Iron Age Camulodunum around 2,000 years ago. The site is rich in wildlife; otter and kingfisher are found on the river, with Snipe in the wet meadows. Nightingale can be heard in the spring on the edge of Charter Wood and Noctule bats over the arable fields in the evenings.
2. If you fancy a longer walk of up to 7.25km then continue the Cymberline Meadows Farm Trail to Hilly Fields.The path starts at a height of approx. 46 metres and from this high ground there are excellent views across the valley of the River Colne to the railway line and High Woods Country Park. The valley of the river Colne has always been a major communications artery. Two thousand years ago river boats on the Colne brought goods to prehistoric and Roman Colchester from many different parts of the Mediterranean world. Although this area is now scrubland 2,000 years ago this was a thriving industrial suburb of a Roman city and the site of pottery kilns. Before that it was the site of an Iron Age mint. The slopes now have hawthorn and bramble scrub cover, as well nettles and some more open grassy areas. The area is rich in insect and bird life, with an abundance of rabbits. From Autumn through to Spring look out for the burrows of the local Minotaur beetle which buries rabbit droppings to feed its young. During World War II this area would have been grassland for grazing cattle.
2.6 km Cymberline Meadows Farm Trail
7.25 km Cymberline Meadows Farm Trail + Hilly Fields
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