In short: a fabulous watery Suffolk walk along our favourite estuary. Easy out and back with a loop at Woodbridge. Unusually heavy rain means a few large puddles so walking boots a good idea. Decent clean public toilets at various points; two lovely cafes for pitstops. 2 hrs 10 mins walking + 20 mins & 30 mins pitstops.
Lucky things that we are – we have a midweek mini-break in Suffolk. Taking advantage of a bright and beautiful morning – following a night of heavy rain – we decide to take a walk from further up the Deben estuary than walk number 55. We are using a leaflet from the www.visiteastofengland.com website – one of their Station Walks: Woodbridge and the Deben Estuary – routes 3 and 1 combined.
We start from the free municipal car park at Melton Riverside – just before the railway station when coming from Orford (or after the level crossing if coming from Woodbridge or the A12). The nearest postcode is IP12 2PA.
The walk instructions tell us to pass through Melton Riverside to the river wall and initially we take the wrong path – the one more or less opposite the car park entrance – after 5 minutes we realise we are heading in the wrong direction so retrace our steps and take the path heading away on the right from the entrance past the picnic area.
This path soon bends left through trees and leads us out to a path up to the river wall. We are immediately faced with the delightful river views we have been expecting to see – albeit the tide is out and boats are grounded on the mud. Picturesque nonetheless.
We turn right onto this path and wend our way beside the river – occasionally diverting inland behind a building or boatyard – but straightforwardly on in the direction of Woodbridge.
The views are lovely…
– and the sound of the halyards being blown against the masts on the many many boats we pass is charming.
We pass a makeshift open air theatre and a marina and then find ourselves at the Woodbridge Tide Mill which we pass as we walk towards the railway station on our right.
As we pass the steps heading over the railway line on our right we are now on the well made path we walked on for walk 55 – past rowing and sailing clubs until we reach the public toilets, cafe and boating pond on our right. Here we stop briefly to use the facilities and enjoy a cappuccino sitting outside on the cafe terrace in the sunshine.
After a short pitstop we continue on our way along the river path with stunning estuary views to our left.
We continue along this path until we reach a lane – and a National Trust sign for Kyson Hill. Here we consult our walk instructions and realise we need to be on the path heading sharply right before the lane.
This lovely footpath heads back – more or less parallel to the river path but on the other side of the marshland – to Woodbridge.
After 10 minutes or so we arrive at a level crossing where we cross the railway line – with great care and not a little trepidation as it also involves climbing stiles! We then head across the playing field to the left of the playground and tennis court to the road beyond which we cross and turn right to head back towards the river. At a car park, just before reaching the railway line again, we turn left, walking through the car park to the footpath beyond and thence into the railway station car park.
We head first for a brief visit to the Adnams shop (!) and follow this with a fabulous ploughman’s lunch at the Whistlestop cafe, sitting at one of their sunny outside tables.
After availing ourselves of the clean smart toilet here we head off back across the railway line via the bridge beside the cafe and turn left onto the river path – returning the way we came.
The tide is in as we walk back – and we enjoy delightful views all the way – finally returning to the Melton Riverside car park. A wonderful walk – beautiful, easy and plenty of delightful places to choose from to stop off for refreshment!