A FEW weeks ago I wrote about some of the historic sites that you can see along the 75 bus route from Maldon to Colchester.

The feature seemed to resonate with quite a few readers and a number of people have suggested a similar travelogue of the 31 route to Chelmsford.

So based on that feedback, here we go.

For this journey we will board the single-decker at the White Horse at the top of Maldon High Street.

Recently refurbished, the pub, with its distinctive sign and part cobbled yard, was first licensed in 1574 under the name the Bell. Having paid our return fare to the driver, we are off.

The bus rounds the sharp corner and the original location (on the left) of the mid-15th century Saracen’s Head and drives towards Wentworth House (built 1855) in West Square.

It then turns into Spital Road and passes the Ware Pond, or Town Weyer, a public watering hole recorded in 1550.

The ever-popular Tolleyshop is next and then the veterinary surgery, Avon House at 19a, once the offices of Markham’s Aerated Waters.

The soft drinks manufacturers were very successful throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, but went into liquidation in 1960 and the company was dissolved in 1975.

On the other side is St Peter’s Hospital, formerly the Union Workhouse with its distinctive clock tower and mortuary chapel, all built in 1874.

There is a bus stop not far from stalwart little Rose Cottage – the building that survived a Zeppelin raid in 1915.

It is not long before we spot the Queen Victoria pub (purpose-built as such in 1845) and then the remains of the building that gave the road its name – St Giles’ “spital”, a leper house of 1164. West Station (closed 1939) next and then down Wycke (Wic) Hill – a Saxon term for a dairy farm.

We are then alongside the latest housing development and Ben Cobey Avenue, named after a brave local lad who was killed in action at Le Cateau in 1914 and missed out on a Victoria Cross.

We leave Maldon via the site of the town gibbet and the Limebrook boundary, first mentioned in our charter of 1171.

At one time the main road did a dog-leg at Box Iron Corner, named after a quaint building looking like an old-fashioned box iron.

The cottage (was it originally a toll house?) has now gone and the road re-routed to cut out two dangerous corners.

Three major features now appear in succession – Woodham Mortimer Hall (a largely 17th-century gabled house, once home to Dr Peter Chamberlen, inventor of obstetrical forceps), the parish church of St Margaret (rather drastically restored by the Victorians) and, opposite, an obelisk (erected in 1825 to William Alexander, who left his lands to the Worshipful Company of Coopers for the benefit of the poor).

A long stretch now with the site of Alan Brush’s former racecourse on the left and then Georgian-fronted Woodham Mortimer Place.

Two reminders of transport history are on our right – a milestone installed by the parish in 1814 at a cost of £7-7s, and a bus shelter built in 1953 to mark the Queen’s coronation.

Right at the roundabout and there is Zara, the Indian restaurant that was formerly the Oak pub with a roll call of landlords back to 1839.

Passing the Chelmsford boundary sign (displaying a picture of Hylands House and declaring the city to be the “birthplace of radio”) we enter Danbury.

Runsell Green on our right (with the Anchor pub of at least 1716) was once part of a manor held by Maldon’s hero, Byrhtnoth (killed by the Vikings in 991) and then the Priory of Canterbury until the Dissolution.

Alongside the road beyond the Tesco garage there was once a windmill dominating the highway, but it was taken down in 1897.

The Bakers Arms (originally a beer-shop and bakery) comes into view and then the green and duck pond.

Over the next roundabout, down the hill and the turning to the church can be seen on our left – St John the Baptist (in existence by 1233), famous for its late-13th/early-14th century knights, their effigies and pickled remains.

Two more pubs – the 16th-century Griffin at the top of the hill and the Bell (once the location of a religious chantry) in the dip near Danbury Park. The gatehouse to Danbury Palace (former home of the Bishop of Rochester) is on our left and St Clare’s Hall on our right.

On to Sandon, passing through what was the St Clare’s estate (vested in the Earls of Essex from 1066 until the 15th century), the Park and Ride (opened 2006), into Great Baddow, dropping down on to the bypass and we are soon alighting in what is now the city of Chelmsford, old Roman Caesaromagus.

Sadly much of Chelmsford’s historic architecture disappeared in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, but a notable exception is the Shire Hall, one of the oldest and most prominent buildings, constructed in 1791 to the designs of the county surveyor and architect, John Johnson.

In fact Johnson was also responsible for Langford Place, a grand house that once stood in its own parkland off Maypole Road, in the Maldon district.

It is a shame we can no longer have a drink in the renowned Spotted Dog. Originally called the Talbot, the little pub was located at 24 Tindal Street and appeared in the records as early as 1600. It became a Truman’s house, but was swept away by the planners in 1971.

On a more positive note and with the surviving buildings in mind, I think we will lunch at Côte, within sight of the Portland Stone façade of the Shire Hall and the seated statue of the celebrated English lawyer Judge (Sir Nicholas Conyngham) Tindal (1776-1846). Although Côte is part of a British cafe chain founded in Wimbledon in 2007, its menu is inspired by the brasseries and bistros of Paris.

I always enjoy their roasted duck breast (served pink) with gratin potato and a griottine cherry sauce. And because we are not driving, I think a large glass of house red will also be in order.

Having had our fill, after a quick trip to Chelmsford’s 21st-century shopping area Bond Street (opened 2016), it is time to catch the 31 back home, another round journey into past and present complete.