Autumn and Winter Walks
Crunching through the fallen leaves, dressed in boots and scarves, the sun’s rays filtering through the branches of the trees, is the perfect way to spend a couple of hours. With so many lovely walks to choose from in Suffolk and Norfolk, Rachel Sloane decided to ask some experts for their suggestions…..
“I have chosen the Gainsborough Trail Meadow Walk in Sudbury.
You can either make this a short walk or pack a picnic and do the whole route. This is a gentle walk in that there are no steep hills or rough terrain. The countryside and villages along the way are a real treat. I started on the first part of this trail from Sudbury and then carried on through to Lavenham via Long Melford. It was on one of the walks in the Suffolk Walking Festival. The walk is approximately twelve miles in total but is totally amazing and makes me glad to be able to live, work and promote Suffolk.
For more information on the Gainsborough Trail Meadow Walk go to http://mediafiles.thedms.co.uk/Publication/ee-stp/cms/pdf/Gainsborough-Trail-Meadow-Walk.pdf and for more walks and things to do in Suffolk www.visitsuffolk.com “
Helen Cutting, Visit Suffolk
“Between Itteringham, Mannington Hall and The Barninghams are lovely natural woodlands. Also Blickling is nearby with woodland, a lake and the River Bure between them. There is parking at Mannington Hall, Blickling and Itteringham. Mannington Hall has lots of concessionary paths on the estate and so does Blickling and there are lots of public footpaths too. Both Mannington and Blickling have leaflets, and there are cafes at Blickling, Iteringham and Mannington Hall. The walks can be linked with the Weavers Way long distance path. There are toilets at Mannington Hall and Blickling. Blickling is National Trust and Mannington Hall is owned by the Walpole family.
Another good walking area is Roman Camp above Sheringham and Cromer. Sheringham Park (NT) is nearby and the paths go down to the coast, with the new England Coast long distance path. There is natural Woodland here too.
Top tip: Wear good walking boots or shoes and always take something to drink with you.”
Sue Walker, correspondent for Norfolk Ramblers.
“I am often asked what my favourite walk in Suffolk is and, because there are so many wonderful walks in the county, I am always tempted to say ‘my last one’. However for Autumn splendour a visit to Dunwich Heath must be one of the best. You can start from the National Trust Car Park or the RSPB centre at Minismere (as featured on the B.B.C. Spring Watch ) There are walks for all ages and abilities from here. You can easily combine a walk across the splendid heath land with a walk by the sea and through well maintained woods. It is a mecca for wildlife and you do not need to be an expert to be impressed by the majesty of the place. Easy access, parking and toilets make it an ideal destination.
The predominately sandy soil and the well-marked paths mean, even in wet weather, you are unlikely to encounter any significant problems. For the children or, in my case, the grandchildren, if you are stuck for ideas on what to do on your walk to entertain them, both the National Trust and the RSPB can provide lots of advice. For those who just like to get away from it all the area can be the ideal starting point for many longer circular walks. You only have to go a short distance and you wonder where all the other people have gone.
Sensible footwear and clothing appropriate to the weather is all you will need if you intend to go for a short stroll along one of the well-marked trails. For those wanting to venture further afield, and I would urge you to consider doing so, then it is worth investing in a good pair of walking boots. Take a drink with you and know what the weather is going to be so you are prepared. We all know the old saying ‘there is no such thing as bad weather only inappropriate clothing’.
Make sure you know where you are going before you set of. There are many excellent leaflets and walking books available as well as increasingly lots of information available online. If you enjoy walking and would like to walk with other like-minded people then it is easy to find a walk anywhere in the country by visiting www.ramblers.org.uk/go-walking/find-a-walk-or-route.aspx Enjoy your walking.”
Roley Wilson, Chair, Ramblers Association Suffolk Area Council
“For the timeless pleasure of being at one with the natural world try the Norfolk Coastal Path. I’ve done it in three days, from Holme-next-the-Sea where Seahenge was discovered in 1999, across to the delightful Victorian seaside town of Cromer, but you can break it down into chunks using the Coasthopper bus which runs along the A149 coastal road and will take you back to where you’ve parked your car.
Don’t forget to bring your binoculars: this coast has some of the best birdwatching in the UK, particularly at this time of the year when the annual migration is on. There are nature reserves along this whole stretch, but if you’re stopping off at one then it has to be Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s centre at Cley-next-the-Sea marshes. Approaching Morston you might be able to make out the seals on Blakeney Point, but if you have time you can catch a boat from the quay to see them up close. In the colder months, it’s the largest seal colony in England.
Don’t miss the 200 higgledy-piggledy, multi-coloured huts on the best beach in Britain at Wells-next-Sea, and take time to enjoy the view back along the Blakeney spit from the look-out station on Sheringham cliffs. If you’re lucky, the North Norfolk Railway, the Poppy Line, will steam through while you’re there. In front of you is our Deep History Coast, where the largest and best-preserved mammoth ever found was discovered (it was part eaten by hyenas – yes, really!) and also the footprints of prehistoric man, the earliest evidence of humans found outside The Great Rift Valley in Africa. 850,000 years old, they’re from when Norfolk was the last part of the UK linked to the Continent – which means the first tourists ever to come to this country came to visit Norfolk!
The coast undulates nicely – you’ll be traversing tidal creeks and salt marshes, calf-straining shingle, gorgeous countryside, enormous sandy beaches and finally a gradual ascent to the highest point in East Anglia, at Roman Camp. Don’t let them tell you Norfolk’s flat. The only thing flat will be you when you leave behind this magnificent piece of coast.
Go west to east and you’ll be walking into the sun – even though it’s uphill at the end.
There are good shacks at Brancaster and Blakeney for crab sandwiches.
Save your legs a little by taking the Wells Harbour Railway from the beach to the town.”
Pete Waters, Manager, Visit Norfolk.www.visitnorfolk.com
This article was first published in Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine, November 2016