Harlow Campus Bipeds' Guide
The following maps identify a number of routes that you can run, walk, or bike from Memorial University's Harlow Campus. These are the routes that my husband, Chris, and I have devised and/or discovered, and run many times over the course of the year we spent here (2003/04). I've indicated the approximate distance and have given a short description of each run. If you look at these maps carefully (click on any of the thumbnails for a larger map), you'll see that any of these routes can be modified - turning west onto the short road at Hobbs Cross and heading back to campus from there turns the otherwise 11.4 K run we call Threshers Bush into an 8 K run; adding Matching Church to the Collin's Cross run adds a full K (and a picturesque hamlet to make it worth it) to a 12.75 K run; and there are many public footpaths which criss-cross or lead off most of these runs which could be used to shorten or lengthen the distance for each. Do keep in mind that these routes were measured using the odometer on my bike so the accuracy of their distances is subject to my potentially imprecise calibration and the ever-changing amount of air in my front tire. That is, the distances listed are approximate only. Bear in mind, too, that the footpaths that are incorporated into some of these runs can be very wet and/or muddy after wet weather, so choose your route and/or clothing accordingly.
Ultimately, I hope that these maps will inspire you to explore some of the area that immediately surrounds this campus, but is too frequently ignored by those who stay here. Essex was described by the Somerset-based relative of a student who was here during the summer of 2003 as "dry, dull, and flat" and I have often heard other, similarly disparaging, remarks about this part of England. But don't be misled by such remarks or by the Essex you see from its motorways and train tracks, which often reinforces the characterization quoted above. Memorial University's Harlow Campus is short minutes away from some of the prettiest countryside you can imagine and, often, all you have to do to appreciate it is cross a road or pass a hedgerow or climb over a stile. Essex can be very dry, depending on the time of the year. It is reputed to be the driest county in England and in mid to late summer, this part of the county can take on a sahara-like appearance with its wheat fields and rape seed crops which make a faded patchwork out of its landscape. But the hills roll just enough so that on many of these routes, you can see for miles, and the views are lovely... certainly, far from dull.
Those of you who are used to running, walking, or cycling in and around St. John's (I'm afraid I can't speak for Corner Brook) will appreciate how relatively flat the area covered by these routes is and how gentle the weather is. For the time that you are here, you can enjoy not having some form of precipitation being driven sideways into your eyes, nose, ears, and mouth by gale-force winds that seem to be in your face no matter which direction you turn.
The 4 routes shown on this map have the first 4.75K in common. Head straight down High Street, onto New Road and Watlington Road (although the road has three different names depending on where you are, you'll travel pretty well in a straight line) until the road divides around a small green. This is around the 1K mark. Turn right and go under Gilden Way via the pedestrian underpass, which is signposted as Subway. This will bring you out in front of a short row of tiny cottages in a cul-de-sac called Gilden Close. Go past these cottages along the walkway and turn left up the road identified on the map as Moor Hall Road (although this lower part of the road is really Sheering Road). Stay on this road straight out until you go over the M11 around 3K on. Stay on the Matching/Harlow Road, past the first right towards Housham Tye, Carters Green, and High Laver, until, around 4.75 K along (from the start), you come to the community of Matching Tye and a second right turn towards Carters Green, Housham Tye, and High Laver. You then have the following choices:
Collin's Cross (12.75K)/Matching Church (13.75K) - Stay on the Matching/Harlow Road all the way to the crossroads at Matching Tye. The Fox Inn will be on your right and
there's a phone booth in the small island where the roads cross. Turn left towards Collin's Cross and either loop around Collin's Cross and retrace your steps back to the campus for a 12.75K run or add on the leg to and from St. Mary's Church at Matching for the seemingly interminable 13.75K run we call "Matching Church".
Carter's Green (12.2K) - Take the right turn towards Carters Green, Housham Tye, and High Laver and loop around, bearing right, until you come back out onto the Matching/Harlow Road. Head back towards the M11 but instead of going back over it, turn left towards Harlow Tye and stay on this road (really, a small lane) until you come to the intersection at Hobbs Cross. Turn right, bear right at the bottom of the hill onto Hobbs Cross Road, go under the M11, and follow Hobbs Cross Road as it turns into Churchgate Street. Climb Churchgate Street to the lychgate, past the Queen's Head Pub, and then turn left through the lychgate into the churchyard of St. Mary and St. Hugh's. Go through the churchyard and come out at the bottom of Moor Hall (Sheering) Road. Retrace your steps to the campus from here.
New Way Lane (13.2K) - Like Carter's Green above, take the right turn towards Carters Green, Housham Tye, and High Laver. You will soon come to a small intersection. Instead of bearing right as you would for the Carter's Green run, turn left here following the sign to High Laver, Moreton, and Foster Street, and carry on for a little way (about 4/10s of a K) until New Way Lane joins from the right. Turn right onto New Way Lane and at the end of New Way Lane, go straight through the intersection at Threshers Bush onto Green Lane. This road is signposted to Harlow and Epping, but is not identified as Green Lane. At the end of Green Lane, turn right onto Foster Street. Stay on Foster Street, bearing left all the way, as it goes under the M11 and turns into Hobbs Cross Road and finally Churchgate Street. Climb Churchgate Street to the lychgate, past the Queen's Head Pub, and then turn left through the lychgate into the churchyard of St. Mary and St. Hugh's. Go through the churchyard and come out at the bottom of Moor Hall (Sheering) Road. Retrace your steps to the campus from here.
Sawbo Circuit (11K) - Head down High Street and turn left on St. John's Avenue. Turn right onto the footpath just beyond Victoria Hall and follow it all the way to Old Road. Turn left and follow Old Road to the end. Turn right onto the A1184 and cross over the River Stort. Now you're in Hertfordshire. This part of the run is unpleasant as the A1184 is usually very busy, but you're only on it for about a K (half way along you'll pass a gated entrance with KEEP OUT signs on both sides - this is Beckingham Palace, the home of Posh Spice and her footballer husband, David Beckham). Turn right into Pishiobury Drive, an impressive tree-lined avenue flanked by grand houses set back from the road. Towards the lower end of the drive, immediately after the last house (Chestnut House) on your left and before the grounds of Pishiobury House, a footpath crosses the road. Turn left onto this shady footpath and follow it through two gates into a clearing, and up onto a tree-lined ridge which runs through Pishiobury Park. Follow the path straight along this ridge through the park (don't be alarmed by the presence of cows - this is common grazing ground), straight through the gate at the end in the direction of the sign towards Fair Green, and follow it as it narrows and slopes down to a road. You are now in Sawbridgeworth. Cross this road with care - drivers will not be expecting or watching for you. Stay on this footpath as it slopes down a hill to and over a small footbridge, and then uphill as it turns into a quiet residential cul-de-sac. Climb this short (but steep) hill and bear right at the park at the top of the hill, keeping the hedge on your left flank. You'll come out onto a green area, Fair Green, where three roads intersect. Cross the road in front of you, cross the green area on the other side of the road, and you'll end up on a short side street (Vantorts Road) with a pub called the King William IV on the right hand side. Turn right at the end of this street and go through the churchyard on the footpath to the left of the church. Continue as you pass a school yard on your left and until the footpath comes out onto a road. Bear right here - do not cross this street onto Public Footpath 29. Take the path in front of you called Church Walk (Public Footpath 30) and follow the sidewalk down past a park on your right, down to Station Road. Turn right onto Station Road and a few metres on, you'll turn right onto the towpath, immediately before the bridge over the River Stort. Follow the towpath back towards Old Harlow. You'll cross Sheering Mill Lane and eventually a footbridge which will bring you to the left hand side of the river (and back into Essex). You'll be on the towpath for between 2.5 and 3 K, when you'll go over a small bridge which crosses a sluice. This bridge is at the corner of a large field which opens up in front of you on the left. Turn left immediately after this bridge onto a sometimes overgrown path that heads towards and then under the train tracks [note that this path can be very wet after a heavy dew or rain and as an alternative, you can stay on the towpath all the way back to the bottom of Old Road and retrace your steps back to campus from there]. Stay on the path (be careful of the stinging nettles that lean in from both sides, especially in the summer) and bear left (other footpaths go off towards the right) as the path widens into a road up a shady, fairly steep slope. The Gibberd Garden, which is full of sculptures and follies, is on your left. Follow the path beside the Gibberd Garden as it turns into a paved lane and eventually turns right towards Gilden Way (you are now on Marsh Lane). Look for a row of big oak trees on your right at the top of a large wheat field and turn onto the farm road that goes down through this field on your right, just before the first oak tree. Follow this farm road (which is also a public footpath) straight through two or three separate fields and veer left as it heads up towards Old Road and comes out just across the street from the footpath you took down to Old Road from St. John's Avenue. Retrace your steps to the campus from here. Notes: 1) Do not be put off by the complicated description of this run. It's less straightforward to describe a route that involves so many public footpaths. It's really a lovely +/-11K run - my favourite at the time of writing this. 2) If you bike this route, or any route that includes public footpaths, remember always to yield the right of way to pedestrians, and keep an eye out for signs of a bicycle inside a circle with a red outline which means no cycling. If the footpath is empty, it's probably okay to cycle slowly in these zones, but it would be courteous to dismount around pedestrians. 3) Public footpaths are great opportunities to see the more pastoral sides of Essex. Unfortunately, you have to look down a lot on those described in this run as they're popular with local dog owners, too many of whom do not clean up after their dogs!
Threshers Bush (11.4K) - Like the 4 routes shown in the first map, head straight down High Street, onto New Road and Watlington Road (although the road has three different names depending on where you are, you'll travel pretty well in a straight line) until the road divides around a small green. This is around the 1K mark. Turn right and go under Gilden Way via the pedestrian underpass. This will bring you out in front of a short row of tiny cottages. Go past these cottages along the walkway and turn left up the road on the map called Moor Hall Road (although this lower part of the road is really Sheering Road). Stay on this road straight out until you go over the M11 around 3K on. Just on the other side of the M11, a small roads goes off to the right towards Harlow Tye. Turn right onto this road and stay on it, bearing left as it intersects with Hobbs Cross Road around 2K on. Stay on this road until the 4-way intersection at Threshers. Turn right at this intersection onto Green Lane. At the end of Green Lane, turn right onto Foster Street. Stay on Foster Street, bearing left all the way, as it goes under the M11 and turns into Hobbs Cross Road and finally Churchgate Street. Climb Churchgate Street to the lychgate, a few doors beyond the Queen's Head Pub on your left, into the Church, St. Mary and St. Hugh's, go through the gate and the churchyard and come out at the bottom of Moor Hall (Sheering) Road. Retrace your steps to the campus from here.
Town and Country (11k) - Retrace the route for the last part of Threshers Bush above, as if you were going to run it in reverse, to the intersection at Green Lane and Foster Street. Do not turn left into Green Lane but stay on Foster Street here all the way to and over the M11, as it turns into Harlow Common Road. Stay on Harlow Common Road to the end and turn right onto London Road for a short distance, and take your first left onto Church Road. At the end of Church Road, a cycle path goes off to your right. A sign identifies it as a dead end but this is directed at any vehicular traffic other than those belonging to the two or three houses on this lane. Stay on the cycle path as it cross a residential street at a roundabout and goes past the first left under the A414. Stay on it until it makes a second left under the A414 and turn left here. Follow the cycle path as it curves around a park and continues in the direction of Temple Fields (it is signposted) under Second Avenue. Follow it up past the Clock Tower, straight on past Mark Hall Wood on your right, over Momples and then Mardyke Roads, under First Avenue, and over Mowbray Road, until it joins the cycle path on Netteswell Road. Turn right here and stay on the Netteswell Road cycle path as it turns into Park Hill and finally Market Street and back to campus. Click here for a better, more detailed map of this route, shown in orange.
Town Circuit (10.3K) - Head west on Market Street and follow it as it turns into Park Hill and then the cycle path called Netteswell Road. Stay on Netteswell Road until it goes down a steep hill at the bottom of which is the Greyhound Pub. Cross School Lane and Netteswell Road turns into Park Lane. Climb Park Lane and towards the top, keep to the right. Park Lane will continue on to the left, but you'll go right along a driveway that takes you behind Paradise Lodge and then some red brick townhouses. Keep right and join another cycle path which will take you through an underpass and over the Sainsburys parking lot. Stay on this cycle path as it crosses Hodings Road and Hamstel Road further along. The Princess Alexandra Hospital is now on your right. The cycle path will now bear left as you follow it along, until it comes out onto Fourth Avenue. Cross Fourth Avenue carefully as it is a busy thoroughfare. Once acorss, turn left onto the sidewalk and head towards the High (Town Centre). Stay on the sidewalk as it turns right before the next main road (Haydens Road). Follow this sidewalk (now a cycle path) south along side Haydens Road. Stay on the cycle path straight down through the Third Avenue underpass and then make a sharp left. Follow the cycle path, keeping the main roads on your right flank. A number of paths lead off to the right. Don't take them. Keep the main road on your immediate left. The cycle path will eventually pass an apartment tower on your right and then continue on between a large open green space on your right and the main road. Follow the cycle path in the direction of Temple Fields (it is signposted) as it goes under Second Avenue. Follow it up past the Clock Tower, straight on past Mark Hall Wood on your right, over Momples and then Mardyke Roads, under First Avenue, and over Mowbray Road, until it joins the cycle path on Netteswell Road. Turn right here and stay on the Netteswell Road cycle path as it turns into Park Hill and finally Market Street and back to campus. Click here for a better, more detailed map of this route, shown in green.
Parndon Mill Lock (11.2K) - Turn left onto Market Street and then left (north) onto Station Road. Run north up Station Road, across the railway bridge at Harlow Mill Station, and then carefully cross over to the west side of the A1184. Continue northwards past the Harlow Mill Restaurant, over the river and then turn left onto the towpath which runs along the north side of the river, past Harlow Mill lock and the lock keeper's cottage. Follow the towpath until it ends at a footbridge over the river. You'll have to turn left over the river at this point, and then right towards Harlow Town station. The towpath will lead you past the marina, the Moor Hen restaurant (which is on the other side of the river) and then past the lock keeper's cottage at Burnt Mill Lock. Go up the steps past the cottage, through the gate (which you may have to open), across the road, and down the slope on the other side. You will now be on the north side of the river again. Continue along the towpath, under the A414, across a couple of sluice gates, until you come to Parndon Mill Lock. This is the next lock west of Burnt Mill. Turn around here and begin retracing your steps to the footbridge which brought you to the south side of the river on the outbound route. Do not cross the bridge this time. Continue straight along the path (known as River Way) until it ends at the A1184. Note: At one point you're going to have to make a sharp left turn over a sluice gate, and then sharp right turn over another sluice gate to stay on River Way. Otherwise you'll end up on one of the roads of the Temple Fields Industrial Estate. Once you've reached the A1184, turn right and retrace your steps back to the campus. Except for the hill from campus to the Stort, this is the flattest and most sheltered of all these routes.
Gilston Park (12.4K) - Turn left onto Market Street and then left (north) onto Station Road. Run north up Station Road, across the railway bridge at Harlow Mill Station, and then carefully cross over to the west side of the A1184. Continue northwards past the Harlow Mill Restaurant, over the river and then turn left onto the towpath which runs along the north side of the river, past Harlow Mill lock and the lock keeper's cottage. Follow the towpath to the second footpath on the right. This isn't signposted, but will be quite obvious. At the time of writing the path had been widened so that it was actually a rough road. Follow the footpath across a field and up a set of wooden steps up to Redrick's Lane. You'll be climbing a noticeable hill as you cross the field! Turn left into Redrick's Road and follow it to the end where it joins the High Wych Road. This is a busy road, especially during the rush hour, and it has no sidewalk or verge. Turn left, and run along the High Wych Road to Pye Corner which isn't signposted, but which you'll be able to identify because of the pub on the corner. Turn right (north) onto this road and follow it to the golf driving range. Turn left into the gate of the driving range, and run up the left side of the driving range to the top where you'll see a footpath through the crops (probably wheat) in the field. Follow this public footpath as it climbs up through the field and curves to the right. As you get to the top of the footpath you'll see the impressive 19th century pile of Gilston Park. The footpath joins a farm road: turn right and follow this road to the front gate of Gilston Park, passing between the buildings. It will look like you're running down somebody's driveway, but don't worry: it is a public footpath. Once you've gone out the front gate, turn right into the first road which, despite being labelled as a private road, is another public footpath. Follow this to the end. Now turn left onto the road and up the hill for a short distance before turning right into Channock's Road which is identified by a green Hertfordshire sign indicating that it is a road used as a public byway. Follow this road as it winds its way through the buildings of Channock's Farm, over the crest of a hill, down a steep, rocky patch with a ford at the bottom, and then back up again to meet the High Wych Road. Turn right into this road for a very short distance, and then left into Redrick's Lane, and retrace your steps back to the campus. This is the most hilly of all of these routes.