A husband-and-wife team are publishing a guide to historical walks around Saffron Walden.

Saffron Walden History Walks, by Jacqueline and Peter Cooper, offers seven walks in and around the town and adjoining countryside, including Little Walden, Audley End Village and Sewards End.

The book was written by Jacqueline and features paths surveyed by Peter, with almost 200 illustrations - most of which are in colour - and maps by designer Nick Crawley.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Saffron Walden History Walks by Jacqueline and Peter CooperSaffron Walden History Walks by Jacqueline and Peter Cooper (Image: Jacqueline and Peter Cooper)

On the front cover is an image of a painting by professional Littlebury artist Brian Sanders, depicting his boyhood memory of waving to the steam trains from the footpath at Beechy Ride.

The book also contains more than 100 snippets of information about local and landscape history.

These cover the whole panorama of Walden's past from prehistory to Victorian and modern developments - encompassing former open fields, sheep walks, woods, meadows, ancient trackways, lost settlements, farmsteads, landscaped parks and the wildlife they support.

Jacqueline said: "It is almost 30 years since we first discovered and described the wonderful countryside around Saffron Walden, but in recent times particularly, there have been huge changes in some areas around the town, with many new housing developments.

"All the more important, therefore, to treasure and preserve what remains, for access to the countryside has become more vital than ever to mental health and well-being since the appalling Covid-19 crisis.

"Through over-zealous concreting of green spaces, we stand to lose not just a favourite view but the wildlife habitats and historical clues that lie embedded in our landscapes – to past peoples, traditions, farming and industry, topography, geology and a host of other associations.

"We hope that this book may in some small way make a statement that this countryside is special and worth conserving as much as the townscape, both for its own sake, and so that future generations will also have plenty of rural places to wander in Walden."

Jacqueline recently retired after 20 years of editing the Saffron Walden Historical Journal, which has been published twice a year since 2001 by the Saffron Walden Historical Society.

She has also previously published 10 history books - including three on Walden.

Peter is the author of Discover Uttlesford, which is based on the Uttlesford Way circular walking route which he devised.

Saffron Walden History Walks is the follow-up to the authors' previous publications, Discover Walden (1996) and History Walks in Walden (2013), but with a lot more historical detail and colour photos.


The book will be launched at Harts Books in King Street, Saffron Walden from 6.30pm to 8pm on Thursday, May 9.

This will be followed by a guided walk around Little Walden on Sunday, May 12, meeting at 2pm at the village sign.

Copies of the book will be on sale for £10 at Hart's Books, at the tourist information centre and at Clavering supermarket, or direct from the authors.

To book a place at the launch email Jacqueline at mrsjacquelinecooper@gmail.com.