While away the hours at Paper Mill Lock

Enjoy a refreshing drink, some cake and watch the world go by

Tea Rooms

The Paper Mill Lock Tearooms are a family-run business and were established in 2003. We are open 7 days a week from 10am, but of course this is weather permitting, as the river has been known to flood.

Our menu changes seasonally but tea and cake are always available.

Please phone 01245 225520 to check what’s on or visit our Facebook page which is regulary updated.


Food & Drink menu

Our winter menu and specials menu is available to view using the button below.

You will also find a list of freqently asked questions.

Paper Mill Lock Menu

How to find us

Paper Mill Lock, North Hill, Little Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 4BS.

Directions to Paper Mill Lock

From Brentwood:

Leave A12 Chelmsford bypass at A414 slip road towards Maldon. After 31/2 miles at the centre of Danbury Village turn left at mini roundabout by pond signposted Little Baddow. After 21/2 miles of a downhill run, Paper Mill Lock is reached just before the road bridge over the canal. The car park is immediately on the left before the river bridge.


From Colchester:

Leave the A12 at Hatfield Peverel. After 3/4 mile turn left leaving the village at the end of a long brick wall. Follow signs to Little Baddow, for approximately 2 miles, cross canal bridge and car park entrance is on right. Coaches should not take this route, but proceed to A12 Chelmsford bypass and take slip road to Maldon as in “Brentwood” above.


From Southend:

Take slip road to Maldon shortly after the start of the Great Baddow bypass and proceed towards Danbury as in “Brentwood”. From Bishops Stortford, Dunmow & Braintree follow signs through Chelmsford to Maldon A414 and proceed to Danbury as in “Brentwood”.

The Lock

Paper Mill Lock is situated in Little Baddow halfway along the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation.

The River stretches 14 Miles in total from the centre of Chelmsford to the sea at Heybridge Basin. Our Tearooms are a welcome break at the 7 mile point and are open all year round. There is parking available too, although this is reduced in the winter months.

Please contact us on 01245 225520 to book in large cycling or walking parties, so we can prepare for your arrival.


The Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation has long unbroken history starting in June 1793 when an Act of Parliament was passed authorising ìthe making and maintaining of a navigable waterway between the town of Chelmsford in the County of Essex, and a place called Colliers Reach.

The great canal architect, John Rennie, was appointed Chief Engineer, and though he rarely visited the embryonic waterway, his hallmarks can be seen in the mellow redbrick bridges and locks. Richard Coates became Resident Engineer, and completed the Navigation’s construction within four years, though trade to Little Baddow had commenced within three. Coates settled on the waterway and became a major barge owner and merchant – his name being remembered at Coates Quay in Springfield Basin.

In its heyday in the mid 19th century up to 60,000 tons of freight was carried along the 14 miles of the navigation, rising 77ft via 12 locks between Heybridge Basin, on the Blackwater Estuary, and Springfield Basin, close to the heart of Chelmsford.

Much coal, corn and timber was transhipped in Heybridge Basin between seagoing ships and navigation barges, though local freight was carried, too, with every parish having its waterside wharf. Wood and iron was taken to Chelmsford to build the Great Eastern Railway, which, in turn, took freight away from the waterway, heralding its decline. With dwindling traffic, horse-drawn barges survived into the 1950s, and the last diesel lighter loaded timber from a Scandinavian steamer for Browns Wharf in 1972.

Soon after the last barge “Julie” took semi-retirement, the traditional passenger barge “Victoria” opened up the navigation’s tranquil waters to the public, and since the 1970s the Company has looked to leisure for its future, with moorings for private cruisers and narrowboats, canoeing, fishing and walking. The Canal Centre at Paper Mill, with its Old Stables Tea Rooms, river trips and hire boats, opened in 2002.