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  • Start: Wharton Street car park (near library) – pay and display
  • End: Wharton Street car park (near library) – pay and display
  • Country: England
  • County: Suffolk
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: Pubs and cafes in Bungay, Queens Head Earsham and Duke of York Ditchingham
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer Nos 231 & OL40
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Start from the castle for a scenic route around Bungay and the Waveney Valley, suggested by our expert Cyril Francis

Start from the castle for a scenic route around Bungay and the Waveney Valley, suggested by our expert Cyril Francis

The starting point of this months walk is the historic town of Bungay, complete with the ruins of Bigods Castle and well-known Butter Cross landmark. The scenic route takes you along the Suffolk and Norfolk border and passes through a green corridor of the lush Waveney Valley. A stretch known as The Bath Hills, once something of a local spa centre, provides a gentle climb and allows spectacular views over Outney Common, before dropping back into Bungay.

Leave the car park and walk along St Marys Street to reach the Market Place and town centre. Cross the road and enter an alleyway marked Entrance to Bigods Castle. Go past the Castle ruins and afterwards pass through some metal barriers, leading to the Castle Inn. From here, turn left into Earsham Street to pass the post office on the right and the junction with the Outney Road.

Head out of Bungay and continue along a footway for about another 300 yards, later turning left over a railed bridge. A footpath now runs straight ahead over marshland, accompanied by a watercourse on the right. Maintain direction, cross a stile beside a gate and eventually turn right to cross a bridge over the water.

The way ahead now broadens out into a rough track that soon becomes surfaced. Cross a road bridge and shortly pass beside All Saints church at Earshwam. Look ahead on the left for a sign indicating the Angles Way path. Turn right here beside Lodge Cottage and continue on narrow path that passes between houses and over an estate road to reach the village hall opposite.

With the Queens Head pub on the left, continue down Station Road to reach a dead end. Cross the bypass (A143) with care, enter Hall Road and take the next turning right marked No Through Road (Bath Hills Road.) Stay on this road for the next three-quarters of a mile or so, later passing some quarries and the entrance to a gravel extraction plant.

Just past Valley Farm the road peters out and develops into a rough track. Keep following the marker posts that guide you through some scrub and thin woodland to emerge on to a gravel track. Continue up the ascending track whose steep slopes (Bath Hills) give panoramic views over Outney Common.

The south facing hills have reputedly been vineyards for centuries, ever since Roman times. Sited near a natural spring, in around 1730 an apothecary named John King set up a Bath House here (long since disappeared) where patients could enjoy the therapeutic results of both hot and cold bathing.

Pass the present Bath House property on the right and continue to the top of the climb. Turn right beside a bungalow named the Wood House, signposted Bigods Way Bungay 2 miles. Stay on a well-defined path that finally runs downhill to meet a kissing gate.

Cross a grassy area and pass over a driveway. Continue over more grass, pass through a kissing gate and importantly, bear left beside a marker post. Further ahead, with Halcyon fishing lake on the right, veer left and carry on to emerge beside a road near the Duke of York pub at Ditchingham.

Turn right and skirt a traffic roundabout, afterwards continuing along the Ditchingham Dam road, passing some derelict maltings on the left. Cross the Waveney and head up towards Bungay town centre. Here, turn left to join St Marys Street and retrace steps back to your point of departure.


How to get there: From the A140 south of Scole take the A143 direct to Bungay

Start and park: Wharton Street car park (near library) pay and display

Distance: 5.5 miles

Refreshments: Pubs and cafes in Bungay, Queens Head Earsham and Duke of York Ditchingham

Terrain: Quiet lanes, grassy paths and farm tracks. Gentle climb at Bath Hills. Suitable for the family and dogs on a lead.

Best map: OS Explorer Nos 231 & OL40

Public toilets: Butter Cross Bungay

Public transport: Call 0871 200 2233 for details

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