See a collection of First World War huts with a walk around Hawstead and Great Whelnetham
PUBLISHED: 13:33 17 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:33 17 October 2016
Chris Barker has a glimpse of a fascinating heritage project taking shape in west Suffolk with the latest in our weekly walks.
The highlight of this walk is seeing the collection of First World War huts that is being reconstructed at Hawstead.
Although this site is officially not open yet, you can get more information online, You will also be walking on part of the St Edmunds Way and on a dismantled railway.
Start the walk with your back to the churchgate and turn left and you will soon come to road junction.Turn right, having a primary school to your right. At a footpath sign to your right, turn left, walking on a drive. (1) You will then eventually come out onto a road. Turn (2) left and when you are faced by the A134, cross this and carry straight on, along a green path by a footpath sign. You will then come to a gate – go through this, up some steps and onto a dismantled railway embankment and turn left.(3)
When you come to a large gate in front of you with a small gate to the right, go through the small gate and out onto a road. Turn left for a few paces and then right, with a footpath sign to your right with a St Edmunds Way sign on it, and now having a fence to your right. This will bring you out onto a track. Cross it and carry on in the same direction on a green track with trees to your left. When the trees cease, carry on along a path across fields. Go through a gap in the hedge in front of you and immediately turn left (4). When you emerge from the hedge, continue on a path across a field.
Start: Great Whelnetham church
Parking: Gravel lay-by close to churchgate.
Map and Grid ref: Explorer map 211, gr. ref. 878594
How to get there: Leave Bury St Edmunds on the A134 south. At Sicklesmere take the second right for Great Whelnetham. Just before a primary school on your right turn right immediately, arriving at your starting point to the left
Refreshments: The Rushbrooke Arms en route
When walked: Late September 2016
You will then come out into the gardens of the Rushbrooke Arms. Carry on, with a children’s playground to your left. Go down some steps and carry on in the same direction, keeping the pub to your right, into a car park, then on to a lawn. Cross the lawn and you will come to the A134. Cross this and turn right, and after a few paces turn left, walking on a road. At a footpath sign to your right, by a metal gate, turn right, walking on a track. (5) When you come to a T-junction of tracks, turn left and the track will then swing to the right – then, after a while, to the left and then right again.
Go through some metal gates onto a road and (6) turn left. After some distance you will come to the sign for Hawstead; shortly after that, look for a footpath sign to your left. Turn left (7) walking to the left of a metal fence, soon becoming a brick wall. When the wall ends, carry on with a fence to your right. Go through a kissing gate and carry on in the same direction. You will then come to another gate. Go through this into a garden and carry on in the same direction on a gravel drive.
When you are faced by another gravel drive, cross this and walk across some grass onto a road, (8) and turn left. Now you will come to the war huts on your right. You will eventually come to a footpath sign to your left. Turn left and cross a sleeper bridge (9), walking on a green path with a hedge to your right. The path will go quickly to the right and then to the left. Go through a gap in the hedge, cross a plank bridge, then cross a field in front of you, aiming for a gap in the hedge the other side of the field. Go through it, then across another field in front of you, aiming for the left-hand side of some tall trees.
Once across, carry on in the same direction, having a hedge to your right and walking on a green path. When you come to a footpath sign to your right, ignore it; and, when you are faced by some farm buildings, turn right, keeping the said buildings to your left. When the buildings cease, carry on in the same direction. The path will quickly swing to the left and you will then be faced by a Tarmac drive, (10). Turn right and back to your starting point.