Be inspired by Iken

Cyril Francis follows a route through some of Suffolk’s most iconic landscape

STUNNING views of the meandering River Alde making its way to the sea and a short stroll through Tunstall Forest are just two of the highlights encounted on this highly entertaining walk. The contrasting route features light sandy soils, raised platforms running between swaying reed beds, a belt of pine trees and large areas of bracken.

Birds such as black-headed gulls, shelduck and redshank feeding on mudflats, along with distant views of Iken church tower, all add additional interest.

A word of caution before you start - there is a lengthy stretch of road walking with no footway; walk on the grass verge where possible.

To start the walk, head up the picnic site hill and pass the memorial to St Botolph. Continue along the access lane and turn right when reaching a minor road in front. Continue along the road and cross straight over at the crossroads ahead.

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In about another half a mile, leave the road opposite a number 30 signpost and turn right to join a well-worn path passing through part of Tunstall Forest. Keep following the path as it twists and turn amongst areas of bracken and pine trees. The path later narrows and runs slightly downhill to emerge beside a road.

Go left a few paces, cross the road and enter a cultivated field. Turn right and quickly bear left to continue along a field edge path with woodland on the right. From the high ground here there are magnificent views of the River Alde meandering its way to Aldeburgh and the North Sea.

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The path continues to hug the woodland edge and later swings right to pass Alde House set back from the right of way. Turn right onto the road ahead, which unfortunately has no footway. Proceed with caution and stay beside the road for the next three-quarters of a mile. At the time of walking, deer appeared from nowhere and stampeded across the road, much to the look of horror from a braking motorist.

Just before reaching the next road junction, turn right as signposted and continue along a broad grassy path. Turn left at the next finger post onto a permissive path if you wish to visit the Snape Maltings complex.

Otherwise continue straight ahead. Pass briefly between trees and later continue by boardwalk through an area of reed beds. Stay on the sandy path and follow it to finally rejoin the Iken picnic site.

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