Run of the mills: Julian Claxton's cycle route through picturesque Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 11:41 23 June 2014 | UPDATED: 11:41 23 June 2014
Cycle along quiet country lanes, discover ancient windmills, wander around an Elizabethan manor house and take in the views from some of Suffolk's finest countryside.
We start this month’s ride in the wonderful village of Ixworth, six miles North East of Bury St Edmunds, just off the A143. Free parking is available off the high street at the village hall.
Starting in the ancient and rather picturesque village of Ixworth head north towards the outer limits of the village. Cross the A1088 and follow the brown signs to Bardwell Mill. After approximately 1.9 miles you will stumble upon the 1800s mill, tucked next to the owner’s cottage.
Restored over the last 25 years with thanks to grants and the friends of Bardwell mill volunteers, this rather special mill is well worth a visit. Learn about the ongoing restoration and its marvellous history. Be sure to pop into the quaint mill shop and bakery, purchasing some rather fine freshly milled flour. If you’re lucky you may meet the owner Enid Wheeler. A very hospitable lady who takes great pleasure giving tours. If the opportunity arises, ask to try one of her famous flapjacks – they are divine!
Climbing back on the cycle, head out of the village turning left at the cross roads on to Spring Road. After one mile and at the crossroads turn right following signs for Barningham. Continue through the village taking a left on to Church Road, then taking a right sign posted Nature Reserve on to Sandy Lane. Keep left on to the The Street until you come to the memorial for WWII US personnel. Take a right following signs for Hopton.
Follow the signs on cycle route 30 for Thelnetham. After a short distance take a left for Thelnetham Windmill, also known as Button’s Mill. The mill is a grade two listed tower mill, which over the last 30 years has been lovingly restored by a dedicated team of volunteers. It is well worth a wander around and a small donation.
Retracing your route head back, take the left on to the Fen Lane, eventually coming out in Thelnetham village.
Take a left, following the signs for the village of Hinderclay. After 1.3 miles take a right on to The Street heading out of the village. After one mile double back, then 0.7 miles later turn left on to an unmarked road and continue, eventually arriving to the junction with the A143. Proceed with caution, crossing the main road and heading slightly uphill towards the church cycling through Wattisfield.
Continue along Chapel Road, turning left on to Walsham Rd and following the signs for Walsham Le Willows.
Arriving into Walsham Le Willows, take a right and head through the village. There are two public houses in the village. The Blue Boar Inn is an ideal choice, cycle parking outside and rather fine oven cooked jacket potatoes! The perfect refreshment stop.
Feeling energised, head out of Walsham Le Willows straight across at the crossroads on to Ixworth Road. After 0.7 miles turn right on to Reading’s Lane, signposted Stanton. Another 1.8 miles further along Upthorpe Road you will come across the grade II listed Stanton Post Mill.
Bear left heading into the village. At the sign take a left on to the The Street, leading on to Wyken Road. Follow the brown signs for Wyken Vineyards. This ancient estate was recorded in the Domesday book and is a truly wonderful spot to enjoy.
With time to spare, I would recommend a stop off here. Cycling along the tree lined road, past the lambs and friendly sheep. Browse their wonderful shop, shop at the weekly farmers market, wander amongst the stunning gardens and enjoy a slice of cake and a cuppa, letting time fly by.
At the cross roads turn right on to Walsham Road, then left, following the signs for Stowlangtoft. Cycle through the quaint village, taking a right on to The Street and across the busy A1088 on to Bull Rd, signposted Pakenham.
Before heading through the village of Pakenham, take the right, on to Fen Road, signposted Pakenham Water Mill. Continue along. Before arriving at the water mill 1.3 miles later, another mill, along Thieves Lane is worth a visit. Take a left on to Thieves Lane and cycle uphill for one mile. The mill will be on your right, providing nice views over the countryside and the water mill.
Head down the hill, back on yourself and take a left at the bottom, arriving at the historic water mill.
After a well deserved rest, continue along Fen Rd, arriving at the junction with the A143. Proceed with caution. Take the small footpath left and walk across the road, cycling back into the Ixworth.
Putting the bicycle back in the car and with energy to spare take time out to explore the unique and rather fascinating village of Ixworth, which in times gone by was once the site of a Roman Fort. These days, the Romans have long gone, replaced by a charming and somewhat quintessential Suffolk village.