Three family friendly walks in Norfolk and Suffolk

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Happy baby feet on the beach

Thorpeness to Aldeburgh

For families with young children, whether they be babies in prams or older toddlers who may need to rest their legs by riding in a buggy for part of the way, this walk along the beautiful Suffolk coastline is fully pram friendly. Crossing nature reserves, taking you to the famous Aldeburgh beach with its Maggie Hambling shell sculpture and back again should you so wish, it is like a ‘greatest hits of the Suffolk coastline’. If you decide to walk it, do come back and let us know what you thought by posting a comment below.

(1) Park at Thorpeness Beach car park and turn right towards the Meare. Walk past the Meare, turning left into the road that takes you to the Golf Club.

(2) Once at the Golf Club, turn right and then take the footpath on your left down to the side of the Golf Club.

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Thorpeness Meare

(3) Stay on this path with the Meare to your left and at the end of this path you will emerge with the stone cottage to the front of you. Turn left and bear round to the left where you will see signs to the North Warren RSPB reserve.

(4) Keep the sign on your right and proceed with the Meare to your left and the woodland to your right initially. This is actually the old railway line leading to Aldeburgh; stay on this path with views of the North Warren Reserve (beautiful views too!) and the coast to your left until you reach Church Farm Holiday Park (please note that the second section of this path is permissive).

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Maggie Hamblings Shell

(5) Follow the footpath signs taking you through the campsite to the main entrance where you turn left towards the famous Maggie Hambling Shell sculpture on Aldeburgh beach. Cross the main road and go across the beach car park . If you want to spend some time in the town of Aldeburgh, this is a good time to do so; there are plenty of fabulous places to eat, drink and shop in including the famous fish and chips. Toilets can be found in front of Aldeburgh Moot Hall (about 500m from the car park) and don’t forget to show the children the little bronze sculpture of ‘Snook’ the dog that overlooks the boating pond near Moot Hall. The statue of Snooks was originally installed in honour to his owner, Dr Acheson, who cared for the community from 1931 to 1959 and he got his name from the cans of tinned ‘fish’ called Snook that the family ate during the war

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Snook

(6) With the ‘Shell’ ahead of you, pick up the paved path at the back of the beach. Turn left and head back towards Thorpeness, through the Havens, back to the Thorpeness car park.

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Moot Hall

n.b- This walk can also be done in reverse from Thorpeness- Head south through the Haven Beach car park near the Aldeburgh shell sculpture. Or park at the shell and walk either way to Thorpeness.

Tyrells Wood in Norfolk

(2) Moving up to Norfolk now and the lovely Tyrells Wood whose existence was first recorded back in 1251 although the eighties saw an attempt to fell the trees- look around and you will see the now badly eroded paint marks on the oaks scheduled for the chop. This is a great all year round walk but the winter sees it especially lovely due to the large and mature hollies that grow there and the fact that somebody nips into the woods in December and decorates one of the trees with baubles for Christmas.

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Photo by A F Huff

 

The woods are fine as they are for an afternoon or early morning wander but if you want more strenuous exercise or just a longer walk (around 5 miles), then keep on north on the (signposted) Boudicca Way until you reach Mayfield Farm and loop off to Shelton- stop and admire the Tudor church while you are there too and the grounds of Shelton Hall, an estate which has around 72 acres of surrounding fields: the names of the fields include “Magic field” and “Echo field” alongside a moat around the house and another smaller one in one of the fields. Continue along the peaceful Norfolk country lanes via Hardwick and don’t forget to look up and around at those skies- they are huge. Hungry folks can stop off at Goodies Food Hall for farm produce, drinks, snacks and even Christmas lunches during December.

Photo from norfolkpilgrim.blogspot.com
Photo of Shelton Church from norfolkpilgrim.blogspot.com

Snape Maltings and the Suffolk coastline

(3) Back to Suffolk again for the third walk finds us at Snape with its world famous concert halls, farmers market and shopping complex surrounded by reedbeds, boardwalks and public art. The Suffolk Coast & Heathlands AONB produces a leaflet, which makes more suggestions for walking trails, including this walk which is approximately 3 miles long on easy paths and that lovely boardwalk. Check it out on Ordnance Survey map Explorer 212. Your start point is OS Reference 392 575.

Sarah Lucas' Perceval at Snape Maltings
Sarah Lucas’ Perceval at Snape Maltings

1. With your back to the Plough & Sail turn left and walk for approximately 50 yards until you reach a red brick arch which leads into the main Maltings complex. Go through the arch and carry on straight, passing the Hoffman building to your left. Head straight over the carpark and look for a gap in the hedge where the information board ‘Snape Explorer can be found. Go through the gap and turn right. 75 yards later the path meets another with a public footpath sign and the river is to your left as is the Sarah Lucas sculpture ‘Perceval’ of a shire horse. Your path lies straight ahead.

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Walk along the longer stretch of boardwalk and as you reemerge onto a path you will reach the Iken Cliff Picnic Site where the path you are on, exits left. Keeping to the edge of the house with a ‘no parking’ sign, take the pathway through a slatted wooden fence (don’t turn left) and you’ll soon encounter the Ropes Kiln, an 18th century lime kiln. The shoreline will be immediately to your left and there will be properties above you, on the right. At the end of these you’ll find a set of steps and a footpath sign. If you want to continue via a longer walk, follow the Suffolk Coast and Heaths pathway up them.

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For those not following a longer route the walks furthest reach before you retrace your steps is the stretch of shore and beach below Iken Hall. To return to Snape follow the walk in reverse taking car not to miss the path that leads to the picnic area.

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