All things bright and beautiful on this walk with water and wildlife

A route through some delightful wildlife-rich countryside

A route through some delightful wildlife-rich countryside - Credit: Archant

Richard Tyson follows a route through some delightful wildlife-rich countryside around the RSPB’s flagship Minsmere reserve

Route of the Westleton walk

Route of the Westleton walk - Credit: Archant

This walk makes a circuit from Westleton, over heath and through birch and oak woodland, to the Minsmere River, continuing along the south bank of the Minsmere and returning to Westleton on a high farm track, finally passing the thatched Westleton Church.

Start the walk by continuing (south-east) on the tarred Bakers Lane. In five minutes descend a little to where the road veers left and there is an information board (1). Our route is the path straight on, through bushes but well marked, soon emerging onto heathland in course of restoration; with nice views on the right towards Middleton with its slender spire.

Pretty autumn tints were replacing the faded heather as the path continued straight ahead, then descended into birch and oak woodland after a wooden gate. Walking on, soft sunlight lit up the silver birch trees where the path goes up to a gate. Bear right on the track, now in oak and cedar woodland. Go downhill and straight ahead on Tarmac, past a large house, to reach a bridge over the Minsmere River (2).

Cross the bridge and immediately take the signposted path to the right along the riverbank. Keep ahead on this (south) bank for the next mile and a half. Numerous birds were on the adjacent waterlogged meadows but the riverbank path was above water and reasonably dry, despite recent heavy rain. Polish Konik horses grazed peacefully on the opposite bank to help reedbed management.

Pass some small hills and reach Reckford Bridge (3). Cross this road bridge, then turn left down the lane 60 yards further on. Keep along this lane for a few minutes and turn right up the footpath track just before Vale House Farm. When a wind generator is passed, Westleton comes into view. Continue to reach a road, then turn right. Pass beside a high hedge, then go over a stile on the left, using the path towards the thatched church. Emerge near the post office and pubs and go up Bakers Lane to the start.