9 – Orford town loop 3.2 miles – 29th March

In short: a typical Suffolk coast walk (the ‘…and beyond’ part of this blog’s title page!), a mixture of rural and coastal paths and village streets; not too muddy. Lovely tearoom with gorgeous views and decent toilet. 1 hr 20 mins walking + 20 mins pitstop.

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School holidays again so, lucky enough to have a beautiful house in Suffolk, we headed there for the Easter weekend. This therefore meant a change in walking companion and once again my youngest son stepped up to accompany me

This is a short and simple walk in and around the lovely village of Orford on the estuary of the river Alde. It is approximately a 2 hour drive from North London.

We start on Daphne Road, Orford, postcode IP12 2NH. Parking is free but limited here – there is further parking on the main road, especially outside of the May – September peak period or there is a pay and display car park just before the quay.

We walk along Daphne Road, away from the main road, Quay Street, turning right at the public footpath sign and heading along a path between hedgerows and beside farmland. After passing a couple of fields on the right the path runs alongside a ditch, still with fields on the left. About halfway along this ditch the path crosses it and heads across a field of crops on the right – today these have just been planted but the path is obvious and heads directly towards the wooden steps in the distance leading up to the coastal path.

Before the steps there are a couple of gates to pass through – these are the only truly muddy parts of the walk today. At the top of the steps we turn right with the lovely estuary view across to Orford Ness (check it out at the National Trust website) on the far side – and views back towards the village with its historic church and castle keep to the right.

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We follow the coastal path back towards the quay, going through another gate before passing the sailing club and coming up to a row of wooden buildings – the second of which is the rather wonderful Riverside Tearooms. We stop here for a coffee and snack – a bit too breezy for the outside tables on the deck unfortunately but the views from inside are nonetheless delightful.

After a quick pitstop we continue along the path to the quay where we cross the road and carry on along the coastal path past the little beach. After going through another gate we continue along this path, ignoring the path off to the right heading back towards the village.

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The path continues to hug the shoreline as it curves round and we take the next footpath off to the right descending from the coastal path and heading inland. After just a few yards we turn right and pass through a gate into a field where the path runs beside a stream. At the end of this path we turn left in front of a fence – surrounding water treatment works – and carry straight ahead onto a farm track at the end of this fence.

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This path eventually leads out onto a country road, Gedgrave Road, where we turn right leading back to the village. There are two driveways on the left and then immediately after a third we take a footpath on the left – the sign is fairly well concealed on a post just at the start on the left.

After a couple of minutes this path reaches a T-junction and we turn right on a path which leads towards the castle. On arriving at the castle grounds we cross the hilly ground with the keep to our left and exit the grounds by the English Heritage noticeboard. We turn right here onto Castle Hill and follow the road as it bends round to the left, becoming Broad Street and passing the methodist church on the left.

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We take the first left up Crown Lane and follow it almost to the top where we take an alley path right and then left onto Mallets Lane up to the main village square at the top. We take a brief detour right onto Bakers Lane just after the Oysterage restaurant to visit the newly opened meat shed along here and then return to the square, crossing it and going straight ahead across the grass to the village stores.

After completing our shopping (!) we turn right onto Front Street and cross into the churchyard. Passing to the right of the church we leave the churchyard and turn left onto High Street and take the second road to the right back to Daphne Road.

 

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