Richard Tyson follows an easy-walking route through the streets of Woodbridge
PUBLISHED: 16:40 19 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:40 19 December 2016
The days are getting short now and some paths can be muddy so this week I am writing a shorter walk which I have been taking for a long time, writes Richard Tyson.
There is plenty to see in the centre of the town and then lovely views towards Woodbridge and down the Deben towards the North Sea from the rural part of the walk. Most paths have a hardtop or gravel surface. Properties belonging to the Woodland Trust and National Trust are included.
Go along Brook Street, which seems not to have a brook – but it does as the Naverne Brook rises in the grounds of Woobridge School and flows through a pipe under the road before entering the Deben. During the 30s and 50s the car park site was occupied by the factory of the Woodbridge Canning Company, which specialised in tinned peas. In season tractors and trailers would dash into Brook Street loaded which freshly-harvested peas for immediate canning.
Continue ahead and cross the Thoroughfare into New Street. A blacksmith forge used to exist where the toilets are now. Then, before the Thoroughfare, there was a slightly risqué bar up steps which was normally called the Gin Shop (sorry, officially White Hart lounge I think!).
Keep straight ahead into New Street. Your author started school on the left in 1942 clutching his gas mask every morning. Flat at first, New Street soon starts to climb. On the right St John’s Street leads towards the church. A careful look up to the right reveals where houses were destroyed during a fatal airship raid in 1915. Woodbridge has Castle Street but never had a castle (in my time Mum and I queued for the then fish shop with a castellated false front).
• Parking: Paying car park near Woodbridge railway station (hourly trains, also bus 63, 64). Alternative free parking at Broome Heath (GR265476 see text).
• When walked: November 2016
• Map and refreshments: Plenty in the town and OS Explorer map 212
• How to get there: Leave the A12 and drive to the car park near the railway station. Walk to the right past the cinema and (former) Boat Inn. Turn left along Brook Street, which is behind the main bus stop
Now it’s uphill – Woodbridge is remarkably hilly for Suffolk due to the streams which flow into the Deben off the clay soils of mid Suffolk. Ascend New Street, passing the Old Bell and Steelyard Inn with its structure for weighing wagons jutting over the street.
The Market Hill is reached and worth a look around.
You can descend St Mary’s Steps to the church, which has the Tomb of Thomas Seckford, a benefactor of the town, or visit the museum and view the Shire Hall.
Exit the Market Hill at the top left corner into Seckford Street, lined by some old houses. Where Mill Lane goes steeply up to an old mill our route is actually down steps on the left into Fen Meadow, a public open space used variously for Woodbridge Horse Show (now held in Ipswich), and for travelling fairs and circuses. Cross the meadow up to the far corner where the route is flanked by new and old cemeteries. Keep straight on down and up; cross Warren Hill Road in front and the path keeps straight on. Descend steps to Ipswich Road. Cross carefully and 40 yards to the right steps lead down on the left into oak woodland called Porters Wood (Woodland Trust open access). The mature trees will delight as you wind about and emerge on Broome Heath. In five minutes a free car park is on the right but beyond here the route is footpath only; the heathland adjacent to the car park is open access land. The path continues over the 60ft high railway bridge. Now we start to see lovely views of the Deben – to the Tide Mill and beyond to the churches of Woodbridge and Melton. The water tower in Bredfield Road is on high ground near the A12 while the Sutton Hoo historic site is on the right of the River.
Continue a little down hill and in a few minutes open access National Trust Kyson Hill falls away to the left. Straight on reaches Kyson Point and beach.
Chose your return route from the hardtop route along the river wall or take the treelined rural path along the back of the meadows and over the railway to the Kingston Playing fields.
Either way leads to the start or you can continue to the often depicted Tide Mill.
Route designed by Richard and Jennifer Tyson of the Alde Valley Group of the Ramblers Association.
This is Richard Tyson’s final EADT walk after many years of contributing routes around east Suffolk. We wish Richard well in his ‘retirement’, thank him for all his work and hope he will continue to enjoy rambling, purely for pleasure.