• Start: Clare Castle Country Park
  • End: Clare Castle Country Park
  • Country: England
  • County: Suffolk
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub:
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer No 210 Newmarket & Haverhill
  • Difficulty: Medium
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This walk has it all, a picturesque town, a pretty park and even the remains of an ancient castle. Cyril Francis guides us along the way

This walk has it all, a picturesque town, a pretty park and even the remains of an ancient castle. Cyril Francis guides us along the way

Starting from Clare Castle Country Park, this picturesque walk takes you round the outskirts of the small market town.
The spacious park itself has plenty of interest, including the remains of a stone castle dating back to William the Conqueror. Clare also has the unusual distinction of having a railway station built within a castle site.

The station and platform, which can still be seen, were part of the Stour Valley Line that closed in 1967. Elsewhere, the walk passes close to the remains of an Iron Age fort. Further ahead, high ground offers sweeping views over the Stour Valley.

From the car park, make your way towards a broad gravel path running through a parkland area. On the right is a former railway goods building, nowadays displaying artefacts relating to the railway era. Further on, part of the original station and platform can be seen over to the right.
Ignore a path going left to the childrens play area and keep forward to cross a bridge. Turn left afterwards and pass through a shaded area. Where the path later curves left, turn right and follow a narrow path through a small alleyway to reach the A1052 Cavendish Road. Cross the road, turn right and after about 50 yards, go left to join Harp Lane.
Soon the concreted path passes a playing field and Clare Police Office. Continue ahead to reach the end of a long weather-boarded building, where the path now enters a woodland area, providing a delightful tunnel effect. Later on, the path bears right to enter the adjoining field. Turn left here, continue to the field edge corner and turn left again through a hedge gap.
Pass a barn on the right and afterwards a farmhouse. Aim for a row of mixed trees, initially passing a fine weeping willow. Cross a water course and shortly emerge beside the B1063 road. Turn left and walk along a footway to reach Brideswell Street. Cross the road here and take a grassy path as signposted.
Shortly go left over a stile at Clare Common if you wish to visit some earthworks, once part of an iron-age fort. Otherwise, continue up the rising path, flanked by mature hedgerows. In about another 300 yards swing left and right through a hedge gap to continue beside allotment gardens on the left and a hedge on the right. Further ahead, go left and right beside a building hidden by a hedge to reach the field boundary. Afterwards turn left and continue on a broad grassy path,
Away to the right are sweeping views across the Stour Valley. Proceed to the next path junction and turn left to join a descending field edge. With the outline of Clare church getting ever closer, turn right at the bottom boundary and pass the local cemetery.
Go through a hedge gap ahead, turn left and follow the field edge as signposted. Eventually exit the path and turn left on to a cart track to reach the Haverhill road in front. Turn left again and shortly swing right into Ashen Road. Turn left ahead and re-enter Clare Country Park.


How to get there: Clare lies some 14 miles from Bury St Edmunds and 9 miles from Sudbury. From the Long Melford direction take the A1052 through Cavendish and thence to Clare. Afterwards follow the signposts to the country park.
Start & park: Clare Castle Country Park
Distance: 3.5 miles
Refreshments: Pubs in Clare
Terrain: Mostly field edge paths and hard surfaces. Suitable for families and dogs on a lead
Best map: OS Explorer No 210 Newmarket & Haverhill
Public transport: Call 0871 200 2233 for details

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