Beautiful Bildeston

PART of this walk features a former Roman road, nowadays marked on the map as Needham Lane. Although you are unlikely to meet a Roman column marching towards you along the lane, nonetheless the area does have military connections. En route there are distant views of Wattisham Airfield, complete with Army hangars and workshops, with the possibility of an Apache helicopter flying overhead.

With the market place behind you, turn right and pass the Crown Inn. In a few more yards turn left to walk through a concreted yard and, afterwards, beside a brook running beside a well-worn path. Ignore all paths going left and right and shortly cross a stile.

The present path may be muddy in places, especially where it narrows, causing possible slipping and sliding. Continue to a bridge; cross it to enter the adjoining field. Afterwards, make your way along the right edge. After crossing two further bridges to enter adjoining fields, curve left beside the headland to shortly reach the next corner.

Turn right here and go forward a few paces to join Needham Lane. Continue along a slightly uphill stretch, go left and right over a sleeper bridge and carry on ahead. From time to time, away to the right, there are distant views of the large hangars sited at Wattisham Airfield. The path later emerges beside twin electricity poles. Continue straight ahead to where some woodland ends and turn left into a stretch of pasture.

Pass through the pasture to enter and cross a cultivated field. Enter the adjoining field and continue with a ditch on the right. Keep straight ahead at a three-way finger-post and follow the field edge to reach a minor road. Turn right here, pass St Nicholas church and later swing left as signposted over a grassy area adjacent to the Wattisham village sign.

The route now follows a farm access track, which can be very muddy, especially after inclement weather. Leave the track at the far end, turn left to enter a field and later skirt the edge of Devil’s Wood. Continue ahead for about another 500 yards to reach the end of the wood. Just to the right of the far corner, locate a hedge gap, cross a sleeper bridge and turn left.

Keep veering left and walk beside the woodland edge – the opposite side to that previously walked. Continue ahead and keep following the path to eventually rejoin the Bildeston road. Turn right onto the road, later pass the entrance to Clayhill Lane at Wattisham Stone and follow the road where it later curves left. Take the next signposted path going right to enter a cultivated field.

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Continue with a hedge on the right and stay on the descending path through successive fields, passing over the driveway to a property named “Bentons” as you go. After passing between a laurel hedge and a plantation of trees, the path goes through a farmyard. Turn right at the roadside and go left at the T-junction ahead, back into Bildeston high street. The market place is ahead on the right.