Off the tourist trail in Hadleigh
PUBLISHED: 13:43 17 May 2010 | UPDATED: 09:52 09 October 2012
See one of Suffolk's pretty market towns in a different light on this short walk devised by Cyril Francis
Get off the tourist trail in Hadleigh
Instead of concentrating on the touristy parts of Hadleigh, this walk offers an alternative view of this historic market town. Starting from the centuries old Toppersfield Bridge, a network of paths leads to higher ground overlooking the Brett Valley. From here there are superb views of Hadleigh spread out below.
On a clear day the scene is even more spectacular, with local landmarks, including the grey spire of St Marys Church, particularly prominent.
Leave the parking area and turn sharp right to join a concreted section of path. Continue ahead and bear right at the entrance leading to Holbecks House. Pass some buildings at Park Farm and shortly bear left past an electricity pole. The winding path now climbs steadily uphill and later joins the next field on the left. Continue with a hedge on the right and emerge at a footpath junction.
Turn right here and continue on a much broader path with mature hedgerows either side. Take the next turning right to join the signposted Constitutional Hill. With a hedge on the left, carry on to the field boundary. Pass through a hedge gap into the adjoining field and maintain direction along the undulating path. The high ground here provides a panoramic view of Hadleigh Hole.
Ignore a grassy path going down Broom Hill on the right, unless you want to take a short cut. Keep curving left when you reach a redundant stile on the right and continue beside the field edge. Away to the right are further views of Hadleigh nestling in the valley below. At the field boundary quickly swing right and left. Follow the path through a thicket and descend a flight of steps down a steep-ish bank.
Turn right on to the road and walk down Friars Hill. Just past the town cemetery turn right and continue along the edge of a sports field. Pass through a metal gate and afterwards skirt a childrens play area on the left. Cross Cocks Lane to join a delightful stretch of path known as the Hadleigh Riverside Walk. Keep following the riverside through a wooded area to eventually emerge beside Toppersfield Bridge and your point of departure.
Get ready to ramble
How to get there: From the Ipswich direction take the A1071 to Hadleigh. Turn left into the high street and in about another 250 yards turn right into Duke Street. Follow the road and cross Toppersfield Bridge to reach a parking area on the right.
Start and park: Parking area at Toppersfield Bridge.
Distance: 2.25 miles.
Refreshments: Selection of pubs and cafes in Hadleigh.
Terrain: Mostly undulating field edge paths and a stretch of riverside. A steep-ish descent of steps leading to Friars Hill has no handrail.
Best map: OS Explorer No 196.
Public toilets: None on route. Nearest in town.
Public transport: Call 0871 200 2233.