Flitch Way

  • From - to: Braintree to Little Dunmow
  • Distance: 7.5 miles each way
  • Type: Disused railway path
  • Access: Braintree railway station
  • Surface: Good stone-based track
National Cycle Network route number: National Route 16 sign

Flitch Way

The route begins at Braintree, the junction of Roman roads from Chelmsford and Colchester, which became a thriving industrial centre by the 19th century, partly thanks to the coming of the railway.

The Braintree to Bishop's Stortford line, decommissioned in 1972, now enjoys a new lease of life as a country park full of railway cuttings rich in wildlife dotted with attractive Victorian stations.

The route name comes from the Flitch Trial, a folk custom still surviving today which originated in Little Dunmow. Every four years a married couple stands before a mock court - if they can prove to the satisfaction of the judge and jury that they have, for a year and a day, ‘not wished themselves unwed, they are awarded half a pig known as a ‘flitch' (side) of bacon.

Download a route description sheet.

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Open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders, the Flitch Way is flat and mostly traffic free. There are many public footpaths exploring the countryside just off the route.

8 miles