• Start: Public car park off Church Road.
  • End: Public car park off Church Road.
  • Country: England
  • County: Suffolk
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub:
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer No 196
  • Difficulty: Medium


Cyril Francis recommends a route around Lavenham that manages to avoid the usual tourist traps

Cyril Francis recommends a route around Lavenham that manages to avoidthe usual tourist traps

Although this easy walk starts from a touristy part of Lavenham, in no time at all you are on your own amongst stretches of rural countryside. A major feature of the route is a section of dismantled railway line. For nigh on 100 years, Lavenham was part of the Long Melford to Bury St Edmunds branch line, which opened in August 1865. Nowadays, the former track bed, narrow and muddy in places, takes you through woodland cuttings and sloping embankments, where grasses and wild plants form part of an important conservation area.

The walk
From the car park, cross Church Road and turn left. Follow the boundary brick wall and turn right into Potland Lane. Pass the church on the right and descend to the bottom of the lane.
Turn left through a kissing gate, shortly followed by another one. Continue along a grassy path with a hedge on the left. Pass through another gate and afterwards head up a break field path to reach Bridge Street Road. Turn right here and take the next turn left, leading to Balsdon Hall Farm.
When the broad track eventually forks left and right, stay with the latter and shortly pass between two barns. Veer right briefly over a concrete surface to join another cart track. The track shortly emerges through a stretch of lovely countryside, providing extensive views towards Long Melford and the Stour Valley. The way ahead now gradually descends to meet a path known as St Edmund Way.
At the bottom boundary, turn right and stay close to the left edge of Linage Wood. Continue along the bottom of a grassy slope, heading back in the direction from whence you came. Maintain direction, make for the boundary and enter Linage Wood on the left with Paradise Wood on the right. Follow a well-defined woodland path to reach a sign welcoming you to the Lavenham Railway Walk.
The dismantled railway line now broadens out somewhat and later passes under a bridge carrying a minor road. Carry on straight ahead for the next half-mile to eventually arrive at Park Road. Leave the track bed and turn right to continue along the road.
At the next road junction bear left and briefly continue along a footway. Opposite house number 7 turn right and follow a grassy path to the churchyard. Pass through a kissing gate and take a path through the churchyard. Exit the latter; turn left with the car park just across the road.


How to get there: From Bury St Edmunds take the A143 to south of Bradfield Combust. Turn left here to join the A1141 and onwards to Lavenham. Pass through the High Street to find the car park on the left almost opposite the parish church.
Start and park: Public car park off
Church Road.
Distance: 3.5 miles
Refreshments: A choice of pubs and cafes in Lavenham
Terrain: Some road walking but otherwise grassy paths and farm tracks. Former rail track bed could be muddy in places.
Best map: OS Explorer No 196
Public toilets: Church Road car park
Public transport: Call 0871 1200 2233
for details

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