OUT & ABOUT: Combine country walks with some scrummy local treats
PUBLISHED: 13:17 19 August 2014 | UPDATED: 13:17 19 August 2014
David Falk at Discover Suffolk shares his downloadable walking and cycling routes with Lindsay Want
Summertime Suffolk – it just feels so good!
What could be more refreshing than a steady Southwold stroll in the sun with the sea breeze on your face or a freewheeling whizz on two wheels through the Kersey watersplash? Wander through the shady green tunnels of Newbourne Springs where little egrets strut their stuff and nature simply babbles with delight. Constable Country’s cows munch contentedly alongside happy wanderers mooching about in the reflected sunshine of the Stour. Outdoor activities and the warm breath of summer are just made for each other, but making the most of relaxed leisure time can be thirsty work.
Good job Suffolk is overflowing with beautiful places, brimful of delicious home-produced nectar. From apple juice to ales, from white wines to sun-kissed cordials, when it comes to local refreshments Suffolk spoils us with choice.
Just like exercise, they’re all there to be enjoyed in moderation, but it’s amazing how feet stay focussed and wheels whirr with purpose when there’s a vineyard or brewery, appealing alehouse or tempting tearoom neatly planned in to give a walk or cycle ride that extra bit of local flavour.
Wherever you find yourself in Suffolk there’s sure to be a downloadable something that’s just your cup of tea at www.discoversuffolk.org.uk. Walk out on a four mile loop from quirky Debenham, across the River Deben and down Water Lane to discover Crow’s Hall and the old ‘Waddlegoose’ trade route. Don’t forget to make time for a detour up to Derrybrook Lane to splash along Suffolk’s longest ford, before taking to a tearoom full of cake along the historic High Street.
Snape Maltings’ shops packed with treats and the Plough and Sail pub seem an ‘ale and hearty place to wind up any walk along the Alde, although the Snape Explorer two-mile circular along the river bank via Snape Warren does provide other ‘local’ alternatives.
Meanwhile, Adnams together with the Suffolk Coast & Heaths project have brewed up a fantastic collection of 25 pub walks over 14 different leaflets. Each one features several walk options around a particular destination from Pin Mill on the Orwell right up the coast to the haunting reedbeds by the Blyth. For a real taste of summer, following a purposeful path around the brewer’s home town of Southwold is a must.
You know you’ve cracked it when a walk along the Lark Valley Path is rewarded by a Bury-nice-indeed pint in the Nutshell, reputedly the smallest pub in Britain. But there’s also a brewery tour fit for a king and the green and pleasant tearooms by the aviary in the Abbey Gardens to consider.
In town or Suffolk country, micro-breweries abound. A circular walk from Coddenham comes close to Calvors, the Heart of Suffolk home of real English lager. Head out on the Treasured Suffolk walk around Hoxne and a pop into the post office reveals an unexpected gem from the village’s own little brewhouse.
Best saddle up for the ultimate brewery tour though – the 13-mile Bungay and Homersfield Loop, aka ‘The Brewery Tour’, weaves its way through ‘The Saints’, along National Cycle Network routes taking in St Peter’s Brewery and shop – a fascinating medieval moated find in its own right.
From the Waveney village of Wissett to Babergh’s Brent Eleigh, from Hartest near Bury to smooth valley slopes near Haverhill, Suffolk takes its vineyards seriously. Pedal out on the Suffolk Coastal Cycle Route and stop off for a sip at Shawsgate near Framlingham. Or saddle up on your trusty two-wheeled steed – or maybe your four-legged friend – at Wyken to enjoy the Stanton Rides close to the historic hall and award-winning vines.
So much of Mid- and South Suffolk bears fruit of the more native kind. Tiny lanes just made for cycling lead alongside orchards coloured with apples destined for Copella and James White juices or Aspall ciders. Once snowy with elderflowers, tall hedgerows hang heavy with blackberries. A wonderful countryside sight to behold, they also make for rich pickings and the tastiest of cordials to be sampled at the local farmers’ markets.