CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

Walking the Sailors’ Path to Snape Warren

PUBLISHED: 16:02 26 August 2014

sailors path info board

sailors path info board

Archant

David Falk, manager of Suffolk County Council’s Discover Suffolk Project, seeks out views across the heather and postpones some of life’s guilty pleasures on a short stroll from Snape Maltings

GALLERY: A beautiful summer's day in Snape Maltings, Suffolk.GALLERY: A beautiful summer's day in Snape Maltings, Suffolk.

I’m avoiding temptation. Amongst tubs of topiary and ornate benches, an array of A-boards, blackboards and hanging signs pull me like magnets towards Café 1885, The Granary Teashop, The Plough and Sail and The Pump Street Bakery. I’m being strong. I’m here for walking not for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or supper, although I could have every meal if I spent the whole day at Snape Maltings, a mecca for shopaholics and lovers of good food.

Boots laced, sunglasses on and baseball cap straight, I quickly check the Sailors’ Path Explorer in my hand. The walk ‘Views Across the Heather’ is promoted as a short 3.5 miles, just two hours, but as always I’ll stop, linger, take photos and soak up the landscape as I go. There’s no hurry today, I can easily get back in time for lunch, or afternoon tea, or supper…

The Maltings is full of interest and activity and as I leave, a group of artists are setting themselves up by the quay. They peer over their easels on to rowboats, sailboats and ‘The Cygnet’, an iconic Thames Sailing Barge, that moors here and can often be seen floating through the reeds along the River Alde.

My route starts on the Sailors’ Path, one of the most popular walking routes in Suffolk. The path leads through woodland and over wetland all the way to Aldeburgh, ending six miles away at the Moot Hall on the seafront. Today I’ll follow it a short way to Snape Warren where I’ll explore an often overlooked expanse of heathland with stolen glimpses of the Alde.

A new information board for the Sailors’ Path in Aldeburgh was unveiled for the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.A new information board for the Sailors’ Path in Aldeburgh was unveiled for the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

At Snape Bridge I turn to look at the view. The tide is out and the boats sit on a mousse of smooth mud. The river ripples from a flow of mallards, upsetting the near perfect reflection of the Maltings’ ivy-clad buildings.

I check my map and turn on to the Sailors’ Path. The route is stony and hemmed in by spikes of thistles, teasels and brambles, pinpricks of yellow buttercups and sow-thistles and splashes of white flowered bindweed. The gravel crunches underfoot but my eyes are drawn to the striped texture of the reeds and the pale green pastures of Snape Marshes.

From the path there are clear views of the river. At the water’s edge a curlew stands alone, shaking its head and preening itself. A crowd of Red Poll cattle sit half-submerged within Snape Marsh. Above them a grey heron floats lazily before settling in a freshwater dyke.

At the end of the marsh the path delves into the shady woodland of Snape Warren. A beautiful carved oak trunk provides a seat. The Sailors’ Path logo, a Thames barge in full sail, has been carved into the wood. It’s a tactile work of art and offers a view, framed by trees, back towards the Maltings.

The path through the woods is a padded sponge of leaf litter past heaps of curly bracken. Sunlight speckles the deep shade and at the edge of the wood, I find myself on a narrow tarmac lane, which soon merges into a dusty red brick track. The dark clouds have now drifted away and the sun beats down, heating up the path, shimmering the view ahead.

At another bench I stop again. A simply shaped half-section of barked tree, planed smooth and with that distinctive Sailors’ Path logo, the bench sits under an umbrella shade of silver birch. I have views on to fields of yellow ragwort within rabbit-cropped grassland. It’s because of the rabbits that the warren exists and their constant feeding helps to manage this landscape.

Beyond the bench the path narrows to a shiny metal kissing gate. Here I enter the warren and follow a series of wooden red-topped posts with white arrows marking the Snape Warren Trail. Views open up and I’m rewarded with a vista across the silvery River Alde snaking it way towards Orford.

The warren is truly beautiful. The land is full of rounded mounds of purple heather and stands of prickly gorse. In places rest the bleached scattered remains of cut trees and I find a trunk to perch on. Heat radiates upwards. The ground is alive with the chirps of grasshoppers and the hum of bees. And the warren is completely devoid of people; I have the place all to myself.

At a thicket of brambles I turn on to a well-trodden footpath through an avenue of birch. It leads me over the heathland past scratches of gorse to a rise with a view of Iken Church. I see sailboats floating mysteriously within the reeds. Another kissing gate brings me to another bench.

A grassy path loops over puddles to rejoin the Sailors’ Path and I am soon back on the riverbank where I started, overlooking Snape Marsh. The tide has come in and water laps the reed beds. The hum of traffic signals the main road and the sounds of people mark my return to Snape Maltings.

At my car, I check the signs: Café 1885, The Granary Teashop, The Plough and Sail, The Pump Street Bakery – there’s no avoiding temptation now…

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EADT Suffolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EADT Suffolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EADT Suffolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, December 7, 2018

A typical part of the Suffolk village scene is the village sign, standing tall in a prominent part of the area and succinctly giving you an insight into the area’s history. Here are 15 Suffolk town or village signs and what they mean

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for someone to enjoy a few days in Suffolk this festive period then look no further than these 6 gorgeous locations

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Christmas is a wonderful time to spend with loved ones and there’s no better place to do that than Suffolk, with its outstanding natural beauty, charming villages and festive foodie delights

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

From Waveney and the Suffolk coast to Dedham Vale, these 19 pictures are guaranteed to get you exploring the beautiful towns and countryside of Suffolk this winter

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Suffolk in winter time is a magical place to be. There are Christmas markets, chilly walks, and days by the blustery seaside to be had. These 17 nostalgic pictures will definitely bring out that unique festive feeling.

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Invitation to View tours reveal the surprising wartime roles of East Anglia’s historic town and country properties | Words & Photos: Lindsay Want

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Are you searching for places to go this winter? Suffolk has some truly magical places simply perfect for a day out with the family that are sure to get you feeling festive. Here are 9 locations you have to visit over the Christmas holiday

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

As the season of parties approaches, hotel and restaurateur Milsoms is itself celebrating a milestone for one of its popular venues | Words: Ross Bentley

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Lindsay Want wanders the pilgrims’ paths and concrete runways around Horham, Denham and Redlingfield

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Not many people know it but a lot of your favourite films have been made in Suffolk. From blockbusters to independent, here are 21 films made in Suffolk.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

EADT Suffolk Magazine weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search