Win a watercolour painting of the Rodings by artist James Merriott
- Credit: James Merriott
James Merriott continues his watercolour tour of Essex with a journey through a part of the county he considers to be of outstanding natural beauty
You will never find it written in a tourist guide or a travel book, but to drive along the lanes from Leytonstone to Saffron Walden (A113/B184) is my own personal area of ‘outstanding natural beauty’.
To my knowledge, nowhere so close to London can you hear the song of a nightingale or linnet than on the Wanstead Flats or see a buzzard or kestrel hovering above you.
What I find most striking is that I can experience these places almost exactly as I found them when I used to venture here in 1950 on my sister’s bicycle.
As I continued my weekly rides, I ventured further into deepest Essex, passing the Kings Head Inn at Chigwell (beloved by Charles Dickens and an inspiration for his writing) and Passingford Water Mill at Stapleford on the River Roding (beloved by me).
Eventually I was to become mesmerised upon reaching the tranquility of The Rodings. These villages appear seemingly unconscious of the spell they weave and have for 70 years been an ongoing and fulfilling part of my life.
How truly wonderful it has been to paint this captivating beauty, and my composition includes three from Aythorpe, two from Berners and one from Beauchamp. The other five Roding villages are named High, Leaden, Margaret, White and Abbess.
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I hope to be able to feature these remaining villages in later editions of Essex Life.
To win James' watercolour painting of the old Waples Water Mill in Margaret Roding, fill in the form below: