A Burnham adventurer took a boat down a long-forgotten canal for the first time in 140 years. 

Ant Law, 77, took advantage of the huge recent rainfall to paddle his coracle from Mundon Wash to the River Blackwater on a canal which last saw Thames barges filled with hay to feed London’s horses and return with horse manure for fertilising the land in the 1880s. 

The voyage down the Mundon or White Hall Canal took less than an hour but was worth every minute. 

The canal is normally just a drainage ditch nowadays.

But high water levels meant Ant could take his home-made coracle - a small, round boat traditionally used in Wales - out on to the canal.  

He said: “I was cycling by the Munden Wash, which is a ditch here in the area and remembered somebody said that used to be a canal, so I looked it up.  

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Adventure - Ant Law, 77, from Burnham, travelled on the White House Farm Canal after heavy rain

“If you look up the White House Farm Canal, you'll see that there was one there from 1830 until 1880. 

“This short canal, only about 1.5 kilometres, existed from 1830 to 1880, and I think it was the Thames sailing barges that took the hay from the farms around Maldon to London to feed the horses.” 

With new ways of transportation emerging by the late 19th Century, the canal was no longer needed, and the canal became disused and barely passable for vessels of any size. 

Ant said: “I don't know what possessed me to think ‘Now's the chance, I could be the first person of 140 years’.” 

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

Despite having to walk two miles before reaching the nearest village, Ant is looking forward to spending more time exploring the countryside. 

“It was lovely, because it was just me in the countryside - not a soul about," he said.

"It was fantastic, a really good experience. 

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

“When the urge takes me, and the idea comes into my head I’ll probably be out and about again. I spent my life yacht racing and yacht sailing, so I'm near to water all the time.

“You’ve got to love Essex and its creeks.”