JOY OF ES­SEX

Not a white van in sight

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Justin Hayzelden

Bert’s tea hut is a pop­u­lar meet­ing spot buried deep in Ep­ping For­est and the first port of call for those es­cap­ing the big smoke to ride the pic­turesque Es­sex coun­try­side. Fuel up with a buttie and a brew then fol­low the signs for Ep­ping – there’s a fill­ing sta­tion at the sec­ond round­about so you can top up your bike’s tank, too. Af­ter Ep­ping High Street take the B181 to pass through North Weald and join the A414, where the fun re­ally be­gins.

Head east to­wards On­gar and you’ll find a wide two-lane black­top that climbs rapidly to crest with a left/right S be­fore swoop­ing through a se­ries of sweep­ers to the round­about at the Four Wantz. Take a left here for the B184, a sin­u­ous rib­bon of kerb­less grey whose grassy flanks grow wild at the height of sum­mer to over­hang its fast flow­ing apexes.

Turn right on the A1060 for about a mile, then left on to the B184; with broad fields ei­ther side this sec­tion runs al­most dead straight, cul­mi­nat­ing in a to­ken dip and twist be­fore the left turn into Great Dun­mow. Take a right at the Sara­cen’s Head and as you roll out of town turn right again for the B1057 to Finch­ing­field. This road is leg­endary among lo­cal rid­ers and de­mands re­spect. Ver­dant verges set the scene while the tar­mac carves a dev­il­ish groove, curl­ing through a bar­rage of tight, tech­ni­cal turns that con­spire to keep you guess­ing. Fol­low the van­ish­ing point as it de­scribes the depth of each tan­ta­lis­ing bend, whisk­ing your fo­cus from one to the next and, as the road opens up, dis­ap­pear­ing into the dis­tance.

Take a well-de­served break at Finch­ing­field, where it’s likely you’ll find a few fel­low rid­ers parked up around the green. This pic­ture post­card vil­lage lies at the cross­roads of the B1053 and B1057, pro­vid­ing a nat­u­ral stag­ing point for any­one en­joy­ing th­ese fan­tas­tic roads. For tea and cake you’ll find no warmer wel­come than at biker friendly Bos­worth’s, who just hap­pen to knock up an awe­some brekkie too.

The ac­cepted norm is to turn around and head back, but there’s a fur­ther loop to the north worth tak­ing in first. Stay on the 57 to ex­plore the flow­ing turns that un­fold to­wards Steeple Bump­stead, be­fore turn­ing left on the B1054 to en­joy even more of the same. At Hemp­stead peel off on the B1053 which will take you, via Great Samp­ford, back to Finch­ing­field. The re­turn ride to Dun­mow is as spec­tac­u­lar as it is sat­is­fy­ing and will leave you mak­ing plans to head back this way soon.

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