In short: similar route to walk 9 but with the addition of some lovely views; exceptionally muddy. Toilet and delicious sandwiches at lovely riverside cafe. 2 hrs 5 mins walking + 40 min pitstop.
This week our Wednesday walking route took a detour – a 24 hour holiday in Suffolk – which meant a Tuesday walk for a change and a totally different outlook from our usual North London surroundings.
We start (as per walk 9) from close by our lovely house in Orford, Suffolk – parking on Daphne Road, postcode IP12 2NH. (See also walk 9 for alternative parking).
Unfortunately the heavens opened overnight on Monday and it is still raining – albeit not much more than a heavy drizzle – when we get going on Tuesday. My fellow walkers are wearing sturdy walking boots and consequently are much better equipped than me in walking trainers (my feet are absolutely soaked inside a quarter of an hour!). At least it isn’t cold – so no real complaints.
We start from Daphne Road, heading away from the main village road (Quay Street) and take a right onto the public footpath heading towards the river estuary. As in walk 9 we follow the path right across the ditch and through the middle of the field – all treacherously muddy – through a double gate and up the wooden steps to the coastal path. Here we turn right, with the river and it’s boats and buoys to our left and follow the path through another gate and past a house and then the sailing club.
Here we take the steps down onto the shingle surfaced sailing club grounds and duck under the gate out towards the quayside, past the Riverside tearooms on our right (some members of our party couldn’t resist a takeaway coffee here – others of us are made of sterner stuff!).
Continuing ahead we pass the actual quay on our left and take the coastal path past the little beach, curving right and then immediately left, hugging the coastline. To be honest it is such dreary weather and the going it so horribly muddy that we keep forgetting to look up and have to remind each other of our beautiful surroundings.
Having already ignored the first path off to our right we take the second, way marked Orford town loop and drop down from the coastal path to head towards the fields. We pass through an odd sort of gate across a wooden bridge and almost immediately take a path right along a field edge with a ditch running alongside us to our left.
We follow this till we arrive at the water treatment plant where the path bends left and then right onto a farm track. The views here ahead and to our right are of the castle perched on a slight hill.
At the end of this track we turn left onto the road (at last deviating from the route on walk 9). We follow this for a good five minutes until we come to a group of farm buildings and the entrance to a small group of business units on our left and a deep excavated pit beside the road on our right. Immediately after the pit there is a track right marked as a public footpath and we take that. The track heads uphill slightly and just after another couple of buildings there is a fairly hidden path right up a couple of steps and into a field.
This path runs parallel to the road we have just walked – heading back in the direction we have just come from – but being a few feet higher up it affords some absolutely stunning views out across the estuary to our right.
We continue on this path across three fields until we come to a house and the path skirts the garden wall onto a lane where we turn right and then immediately left with another house and garden to our right. This path leads us to the castle grounds.
Passing the castle on our left we take the path to the little car park and turn right onto Castle Hill. We follow this road turning left at the bottom onto Broad Street, passing the Methodist church on our left and coming to a crossroads where we turn right onto Quay Street, the main road through the village. After passing some beautiful cottages to our left and the Jolly Sailor pub on our right this road brings us back to the quay where we turn left back to the Riverside tearooms and some delicious fresh crab sandwiches.
After a lovely pitstop we put our very damp raincoats back on and head back to Quay Street, turn right and head back to the crossroads where we take a right onto Daphne Road and back to the start.