Discover a collection of countryside curiosities during a walk around Botesdale
PUBLISHED: 12:43 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:43 10 October 2016
Bill Baldry finds some fascinating peculiarities on a north Suffolk stroll starting at Botesdale Chapel-of-Ease, an attractive 15th Century building with an engraved Latin inscription.
Curiosity number one – what is a chapel-of-ease with a house attached? It’s a chapel that was built for the convenience of parishioners living a long way from their parish church (Redgrave St Mary) and the house adjoining was built in the 16th Century when it was converted into a school.
Head downhill to the Greyhound for curiosity number two. Enjoy the humour of the pub’s sign - it doesn’t look much like a greyhound to me. Follow the road for a short way and turn left into Bridewell Lane. Initially this is a tarmac road, then a gravel track, before it becomes a grassy path. At the T-junction go right, then left to pass under the A143. Follow the slowly rising path, with a narrow wood on your left, until you reach the top where you go left to Common Road.
Go straight over to pass Old Mill House, squeeze through to the left of the garage and emerge onto a large field with a high hedge to your left. Maintain direction, catching glimpses of the manicured lawn of Botesdale Lodge through the trees on your left, and the spinning blades of the Eye airfield wind turbines straight in front. Continue ahead as indicated by the signs for St Botoloph’s Way.
At the next fingerpost head half-right across a field towards silos in the distance. Over a sleeper bridge go right, with a ditch on your right, and continue ahead for three fields. At the end turn right and find oddity number three (3) - a very curious “No motor vehicles” sign, used as target practice in the past. The path just walked is a byway but it’s a strange place for a road sign.
Start: Roadside parking near Botesdale Chapel–of-Ease, 100 yards uphill from the war memorial
How to get there: Botesdale village centre, six miles SW of Diss, is just off the A143 Scole to Bury St Edmunds road having been bypassed in 1995
Map Ref: OS Explorer 230 TM 049759
Distance: Six miles
Refreshments: Botesdale Greyhound public house, Rickinghall Bell and a fish and chip shop all near start
Date walked: September 2016
Stubbing’s Green is a wonderful wild area with abundant birds, bees and butterflies. At the end of Stubbing’s Green go right on to Slough Road for a short distance. Where this swings right go ahead and very soon bear half-right into the green lane that is the intriguingly named Nan Hazle’s Lane. Conundrum number four (4) – who was Nan Hazle and where and when did she live around here? Follow this lovely green lane southwards for almost a mile - initially the path is in very good order but slowly it becomes narrower.
At the end turn right on the gravelled drive towards Abbot’s Hall Farm. Immediately after passing a red brick bungalow turn right (no sign) onto a broad flat grassy track for 500 yards. Go slightly left where this path splits and then diagonally left across a field – ploughed up and the path not re-instated at time of walking. Bear right and follow the field edge to Potters Lane.
Turn left and reach Micklewood Green (5), the next oddity but not a curiosity as there is a plaque explaining the local history. After passing Potters Farm go right at the bend as indicated, and follow this field edge until you reach the very busy A143. Go right, keeping the hedge on your left, for 50 yards until you come to the next gap where you cross the road. Turn right and soon reach two large grassy meadows with Rickinghall rooftops in front of you. Maintain direction, pass Bunny Hollow, to reach The Street, where you turn right and follow the old coaching route (as shown in the Botesdale village sign) back to the start.