On your bike!
PUBLISHED: 13:20 21 April 2015 | UPDATED: 13:21 21 April 2015
Julian Claxton cycles around Bungay and the Saints
The Saints ride is a 22-mile loop, which takes in an array of inspiring and picturesque sights, cycling along incredibly quiet lanes through the All Saints, which are a group of villages named after a saint of their parish church.
The endless single track empty roads make this ideal cycling terrain. It’s incredibly easy to lose yourself in the Suffolk countryside. Interestingly, during the Second World War many of the signposts were removed, resulting in lost US servicemen. The cycle ride will also take in an ancient water mill, viewing the ruins of a Norman castle and ending with one of the finest cups of tea and homemade cake you could wish for.
Bungay attracted many settlers from early times, the high position of the town and the protection offered by the River Waveney marshes proving to be the ideal defence against potential enemies.
Modern day Bungay is a thriving market town which features an array of interesting sights, quirky shops and some fine tea and cake choices. The castle ruins make for a worthwhile stop, either before or after the ride. Access is in the centre and opening times are 10am-4pm daily.
In the centre of town – the suggested starting point for the ride – is the Buttercross. A market has been held on this site since 1382 and continues to this day every Thursday. There is plenty of free parking just outside the centre as well as pay and display in the centre.
From the Buttercross, head towards the roundabout and take the fourth exit on to Trinity Street, staying on this road, heading out of Bungay on the main B1062 for approximately 500 metres.
Take the left on to Wainford road, immediately turning right on to Low road. Continue for approximately one mile, turning left on to Mill Pool Lane, signposted Ellingham Mill.
During a bright sunny day, the ancient white wooden mill sits perfectly on the edge of the River Waveney, providing an interesting view along the river, watching canoeists paddle along the clear shallow waters. Although the mill is private, the area around the bridge and the soothing sounds of water provide a calming stop.
Heading north, take the first left and on to Station Road, continue along, following the designated cycle path alongside the main road for approximately 1.6 miles heading back towards Bungay.
Join the road, turning left eventually cycling back over the River Waveney again and to the junction with the B1062. Turn left, cycling for roughly 800 metres towards Mettingham. Turn right on to Vicarage Lane. At the crossroads turn left signed St John, stay on this road until Ilketshall St John is reached.
Bear left on Low Road and follow the brown cycling signs towards St Andrews village hall. St Andrews church also makes for an interesting stop, it is one of 38 existing round-tower churches in the county. Eventually arriving at the village sign, time for a seat and a sandwich beneath the interesting ironwork sign before continuing towards Ringsfield.
Bear right on to Becks Green Lane, where after 2 miles a right turn brings you out on to the A144. Turn left then immediately right, cycling for 1.5 miles taking the right signposted St Margarets. Approaching the t-junction follow the signs for All Saints, where after 1.2 miles you bear left. Eventually arriving at another T-junction, turn right, signposted St Margaret. After a further 1.2 miles bear right, continuing along these beautiful country lanes following the signs for St Margaret and Bungay. Eventually on your left will be the imposing St Peters Hall and brewery.
On the homeward stretch, continue following the signs for Bungay, joining St Margarets road and enjoying the downhill until the junction with the B1062. Go straight across at the junction, passing Bungay mill on right and arriving back at the Buttercross.
After the exhilarating ride I would recommend a stop in Bungay for tea and cake. The charming Bank Victorian tea rooms (opposite the Buttercross) offer a great array of cakes and loose leaf tea, perfect for a spring treat.