• Start: Playing field, Princes Gardens, Somersham
  • End: Playing field, Princes Gardens, Somersham
  • Country: England
  • County: Suffolk
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: Duke of Marlborough and Limeburner pubs
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer No 196
  • Difficulty: Medium


Cyril Francis's five mile route around Somersham and Offton is perfect for early autumn walking

Cyril Franciss five mile route around Somersham and Offton is perfect for early autumn walking

After walking partly through the relatively unspoilt village of Somersham, some gentle uphill climbs will reward you with sweeping views of rolling countryside. A lovely green corridor follows sloping fields to link up with the neighbouring village of Offton. Popular legend suggests that the village was named after King Offa of Mercia fame, who supposedly built a castle here. Near Castle Farm, the highest point on the walk, some sort of medieval fortification once existed, the remains of which have mostly disappeared.


To start the walk, leave the car park and head into the adjoining playing field. Continue along the left edge and cross a bridge in the corner. Turn right, cross the road and take the footway to pass Cherrytree Cottages and Mill Lane. Afterwards, quickly turn left to join a path that takes you past some allotment gardens.
Turn right at the top and follow a well-defined path to a bridge. Cross the bridge, turn right and continue downhill to meet the surfaced Chapel Lane. Turn left here and follow a lovely green corridor marked on the map as Chapel Lane (Track). Stay on the latter, ignoring paths going left and right, to reach the Elmsett Road.
Turn right, follow the road and take the next turning left. Climb up the bank, enter a field and take the path nearest to skirt power lines on the left. Keep heading up a lengthy stretch of path and bear right at the boundary. With a hedge now on the left, continue almost to the next corner. Here, swing left and right over a ditch into the adjoining field and continue ahead to reach the upper boundary at Hill Farm.
Turn right, pass a garden and cross a stile beside a barn. Afterwards walk diagonally over some grass and cross another stile. Continue downhill with a hedge on the left and later pass through a hedge gap to cross successive fields. Initially stay on the left edge and where the hedge soon curves left, go straight across the field and aim for a marker post positioned at the boundary opposite.
Turn right, walk down an access road and emerge on to the Offton road. Just past a BT compound, turn right and continue with a hedge on the left. Shortly look for a gap to access the road with The Limeburners pub appearing away to left. Cross the road to join an access driveway and shortly pass a small barn. Keep forward to gain a broad field-edge path with a hedge on the left. Follow the rising path and turn right over a bridge at the top boundary.
Follow the hedgeline to a corner and cross a sleeper bridge. Maintain direction, cross a similar bridge in the next corner, bear left and keep following the field edge downhill to reach a sloping bank. Turn left here, keep forward and just after passing a large oak tree, turn right over a bridge. After crossing a cultivated field, bear right on to a stony track that leads to the roadside at Tudor Grange. Turn left and continue along the footway. Pass the Duke of Marlborough pub, maintain direction and shortly retrace your steps back to the playing field and point of departure.


How to get there: From the Ipswich direction, take the B1113 to Bramford and afterwards follow a minor road signposted to Somersham.
Start and park: Playing field, Princes Gardens, Somersham
Distance: Five miles
Refreshments: Duke of Marlborough and Limeburner pubs
Terrain: Mostly tracks and field edge paths with one or two ups and downs but nothing too strenuous. Stout footwear recommended
Best map: OS Explorer No 196
Public transport: Call 0871 200 2233 for details

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