Braintree, Coggeshall & Dedham

Yesterday was another sunny day and temperatures almost hit double figures so it was perfect for a little tour around the corner of Essex we were in.

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Sunrise at Great Saling

First on the agenda was a visit to Braintree, for the shops that is. We love to browse the charity shops looking for a bargain, and who doesn’t? At the moment we’re stocking up on books to take away, we both prefer proper paper books to reading on a Kindle and came away with a bag full. Then we thought we’d check out the Freeport Designer Outlet Shops to see if there were any bargains to be had. The Bose shop was tempting but Hi-Fi is not what we need, and we decided that we also didn’t need to spend £150 on a Le Creuset pot for cooking on a fire. We did buy a couple of bargain non-stick pans for the motorhome. Our old camping pans have deteriorated badly, and apparently Teflon isn’t very good for you…

With our shopping needs fulfilled we headed east to Coggeshall, a pretty little village that’s worth a stop if you’re passing.

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Paycocke’s House, Coggeshall

We then headed further east to Dedham, although half way there Lisa got distracted by a large sign for a camping and caravanning shop. We drove past but missed our next turning so as we had to turn around we decided to stop and have a look. We were glad we did. The shop was Camperite Leisure. You’ll find it just off the A12, a few miles west of Colchester. We spent a happy hour browsing various goodies, like kids in a sweet shop. So many new things we could buy, some we needed, some we didn’t. We did come away with a brush to clean the motorhome, the cleaning fluid, some LED bulbs and a warning board to go on the bike rack. All were good value, and if it wasn’t for the friendly and helpful owner we may well have ended up with the wrong warning board for Spain. We were advised that in Spain the boards must be reflective and made from metal. The advice we were given was appreciated. A great shop. Definitely worth a visit.

We arrived at Dedham and found the car park that was just outside the town, and it was free for 1 hour, bonus! We found a great butcher there and bought a few goodies. There’s also an Arts and Craft Centre that’s worth going to. Housed in a converted church it’s home to many independent shops and stalls. I spotted a nice antique set of scales I liked, but they really weren’t going to be practical for the trip away!

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Do I really need these?

There was one building in particular that I noticed and had to research. It was not only a fine building, but curiously it had many names scratched into the brickwork. Hundreds, some with dates from the 1700’s. It transpires it was once a school and it is presumed, although not confirmed, that these names were all previous pupils. I wonder how many people have walked past this building and never noticed.

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Sherman’s Hall

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Graffiti on Sherman’s Hall

After Dedham it was back to Great Saling for the evening, and as it was Valentine’s Day we treated ourselves to a couple of nice bottles of wine.

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