From birds, beasts and to beautiful angels
PUBLISHED: 17:38 11 December 2013 | UPDATED: 17:38 11 December 2013
This short linear walk from Discover Suffolk's 'Angels and Pinnacles' church heritage trails portfolio leads through wildlife-rich worlds of meadows, fields and farmland to link up two truly amazing rural gems
Just a short distance as the crow flies from the wonderful wildlife haven of Framlingham Mere lies a fascinating, undiscovered and rather magical Suffolk menagerie.
Eagles, lions, a dog and bear, a pelican, giraffe and very rare tortoise are all to be found in historic Dennington, sitting strangely side by side with a mermaid, a probable siren, harpy and magnificent sciapod. The Church of St Mary is home to one of the finest ranges of 15th century carved benches in the county, a window on to the medieval mind where mythical creatures merge with imaginings nurtured through tales from distant travellers.
It’s a great place to start a short, fresh air adventure and head out across historic fieldscapes, along twittering hedgerows to neighbouring Badingham and the medieval Church of St John the Baptist where angels are on the wing in wild profusion.
And if you like to whistle while you walk, there’s even a catchy traditional Suffolk folk tune to pick up in these parts. It’s unlikely that ‘Dennington Bell’ has much to do with the chime of St Mary’s or the mighty church’s grand ring of six which you might chance to hear on your way. The melody most probably took its name from the place it was so often enjoyed – the old Bell pub which once stood just outside the village at Owl’s Green. Needless to say, it has been winging its way round Suffolk ever since.
Walk this way
Distance: 2.5 miles (4 km) each way
Time: 1-2 hours each way
Route: Marked in Red on the map
Terrain: Gentle. Mainly footpaths and tracks. The field paths can be very muddy when wet, so walking boots are advisable.
Directions: Leave Dennington church at the south porch and turn sharp right just before the gate to follow the church wall with the Queen’s Head pub on your left. Go through the iron gate to follow the path between the hedges alongside the sports field. Emerging into the meadow, go over to the barn on the other side; then by the barn, head across the field. The footpath sign is at the corner of the field and with the wind in the right direction, it is possible to hear the church clock striking from here too.
The path crosses the centre of the field towards Clay House Farm, although there is a permissive footpath round the field. Cross the next field and look back to see Dennington church tower still visible in the distance. Emerging on to a grassy track, turn right, then left at the road to follow the lane down towards the A1120.
Cross with great care, turning left, then first right down the track and over the bridge that crosses the River Alde.
Immediately next to the iron gates of Capons Green Farm, take a sharp right between the conifer hedge and wall. Follow this narrow path to the end and take the gap in the hedge past the footpath sign into the field. Cross the field and, at the end, head left as indicated by the sign. Dennington church is still in sight, even from here.
Another left leads through the hedge, before a right turn on to the track, then left across the concrete standing. The track heads down towards Dennington wood. Walk alongside the wood to the corner where the track bears round to the right and continue for about ½ mile to reach Badingham Low Street. Turn left to see the Church of St John the Baptist on your right. As well as the chuch, the community garden in the churchyard is worth a visit before heading back to Dennington by the same route.