Take a walk on the wild side of history at Westhorpe and Wyverstone
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 June 2018
A walk through historic Westhorpe and Wyverstone, taking in some of Suffolk’s farming heartland. Walked by: Bill Baldry
Start: Wyverstone Village Hall, Rectory Road (left at top of Church Hill) IP14 2SG. How to get there: Wyverstone is seven miles north of Stowmarket, west of the B1113 at Bacton. Map Ref: OS Explorer 211 TM 041678. Distance: 6.3 miles. Refreshments: none on route
This is mid-Suffolk agricultural heartland, but the Barker family at Westhorpe Lodge Farm are proving that intensive cereal farming does not have to be at the expense of nature and the environment and have won many awards for their conservation and biodiversity work.
The Wyverstone village sign shows a pastoral scene with a farrier and a farmer whilst the Westhorpe sign depicts a red rose as symbolic recognition that the original Westhorpe Hall was the home of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, in the 16th century.
From the car park turn left, cross Church Hill and continue out of the village to reach the tree-lined drive to Park Farm. Maintain direction from the tarmac track onto a dirt track then cross the stream and turn right.
After a while swing right and left across the stream and follow this wide field edge up to the lane. Turn left, cross the bridge and bear left again, keeping the triangular village green on your right - with the village sign over on the other side.
Pass beside a thatched cottage, cross the road and continue up the approach to Westhorpe Hall with its Tudor and royal connections. Keep to the left, keeping farm buildings on your right, to reach a broad farm track as it passes a pond on your left.
This is just one of the many features that the Barker family have introduced into their farming activities to increase the biodiversity on the farm. Keep a look out for hares, partridges and many other species.
At the T-junction of paths go left to follow another stream on your left. After the first field enter a wildflower meadow at the end of which you turn right. Follow this next meadow-side track to the top and turn left to reach the farm drive.
Turn right, right again by the farm buildings, then left between large and small white buildings, to reach the tarmac drive which takes you up to a road.
Turn left for 300 yards to reach a byway with unusual signage. I think that it means “no horse-drawn vehicles (except permit holders)” but it would have to be a very small cart as the next section is very narrow in places.
Horse-drawn vehicles may not be allowed but this lane is used by horse riders (and cyclists) and is wet and cut up in a few places. It is worthwhile taking a pair of secateurs with you if you have any.
Emerge onto a lane and turn right. Where this lane swings right go left beside a metal gate to follow the tree line of Hundred Lane on your right.
At the end of the field zigzag right and left to walk down a lovely green lane. At the crossing of paths go left along another tree-lined green lane (Kiln Lane).
Emerge and bear right on the bridleway and follow this rather rough and uneven stretch to the next road. Cross over and follow this broad field margin, another of Lodge Farm’s environmental schemes, then bear left under the power lines and continue back into Wyverstone, by the play area at the village hall. (Route walked May 2018)