The Hangings

Part 1 - Parkeston Road to the Vines Estate

Lidl carpark and Mayflower restaurant
The western end of The Hangings is connected to Parkeston Road by an access road. The Hangings itself starts behind the carpark of the Lidl supermaket and "Mayflower" Brewers Fayre pub/restaurant. Beyond this carpark is the Gateway Retail Park and the Morrison's store. Many people using The Hangings do so to walk to these shops.
Also at this point is the entrance to Parkeston Cemetery. A sign at the entrance says it is open from 9am to dusk, although several groups have visited the grounds at night in recent years to watch for ghosts. Their success or failure is not known. Parkeston Cemetery
Parkeston Cemetery Chapel
Within the cemetery is this Victorian Chapel. The grounds of the cemetery are bounded by the rear of the Lidl supermarket on one side and The Hangings on the other. A second path along the Hangings, the 'High Path', ran along the cemetery fence until access to this path was blocked in 2007 due to building work. This author remembers the High Path from the 1960s until early 2007.
Vehicles, other than cycles, are prohibited in the Hangings. This is enforced using a series of gates, with walk-arounds. The property opposite this gate, at the end of the access road, is "The Gatehouse" and sits on the former trackbed. The tarmac path bears to the left but several other paths exist here along the right hand bank, leading to Harcourt Avenue. Hangings western gate
Hangings path heading east
The path was for many years a dirt or mud track, depending on the weather. Tendring District Council installed the tarmac in 2003 when carrying out other works to create the cycle route. The Hangings is also popular with dog walkers. This author notes that the sensible dog owners are clearing up after their pets, but there are no bins anywhere. Perhaps this is on TDC's list?

The name 'Hangings' does not have a macabre explanation, its' origins are from the way the trees on both sides overhang the path, as can be seen in this photo.
Children over the many decades since 1882 have used The Hangings as a play area. Several trees, such as the one here, have been pressed into action as swings. Hanging off the branch on the left are several ropes.

Unfortunately, trees do not always survive. In this example, the bank is being worn away and the roots exposed. Here, run-off from roads such as Harcourt Avenue is causing the erosion. In other cases, trees have been deliberately cut down to make room for building works. It is hoped that tree preservation orders will protect most of the rest from such vandalism.
Tree with rope swing
New house
Central Government's house building policy inevitably means that spare land is used for housing. In this case it was the field between The Hangings and Parkeston Quay. The new estate is clearly visible from The Hangings.
Visible from The Hangings is much of The Vines estate, built mostly in 1965. As a child living on The Vines (born late in 1965!), I remember using The Hangings first as somewhere to play and then as a means of getting into Dovercourt town centre easily. I am told I was still in my pram the first time I ventured into The Hangings - that would be 1966 then!
View over bungalows on The Vines estate
Vines exit into Rowden Close
Just before the next metal gate is the exit into the Vines estate. This short lane takes you into Rowden Close, just off Larksfield Crescent.

Two things to note here, although the lane has a tarmac surface, the short stretch between this lane and the Hangings is pure mud (when wet!). Some kind soul has recently put broken brick down to help keep the mud off everyone's shoes but plainly some more tarmac is needed. Secondly, as you can see from the photo - the lane is quite untidy and at times there is only a narrow gap between the nettles!

On to Part 2:
Vines Estate to Patricks Lane



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This site and all content including photos © 2008 Paul Turvey