A RECORD number of history-lovers turned out for an annual New Year's Day tradition led by a well-known champion of Colchester and its heritage.

Sir Bob Russell's 16th New Year's Day walk attracted an impressive 81 people and four canine companions this year. 

Starting at Butt Road's car park at 10am, the walkers and Colchester's High Steward embarked on an adventure which lasted more than two hours and saw them stop at 25 locations of interest.

The route passed some of Colchester Garrison's historic 19th century buildings, including a wooden former camp church in Military Road which dates back to 1856.

Gazette: Calming - The walkers strolling along Abbey FieldsCalming - The walkers strolling along Abbey Fields (Image: Clive Marchant)

Gazette: Dedicated - Sir Bob Russell giving a talk to the group during the walkDedicated - Sir Bob Russell giving a talk to the group during the walk (Image: Clive Marchant)
The circular route included the boundary of Abbey Fields and also saw participants walk the entire length of the Roman chariot racing circus, in Roman Circus Walk.

In total £400 was raised by the donations from the walkers which will be put towards a forthcoming High Street statue of prolific writers Jane and Ann Taylor.

The sisterly duo penned the world renowned nursery rhyme, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, in 1806.

It is hoped the statue will be officially unveiled opposite Colchester's Town Hall in April.

This year's New Year's Day walk attracted 30 extra people compared to the 51 attendees who took to the streets of the city back at the start of 2023.