Belstead: Woods in their autumn splendour

Popular walk: Take a seasonal stroll around Belstead

Popular walk: Take a seasonal stroll around Belstead

Cyril Francis enjoys some seasonal colour on a route around Belstead

Route of the woods in their autumn splendour walk

Route of the woods in their autumn splendour walk - Credit: Archant

Located on the south west fringes of Ipswich, this short undulating route takes you around the village of Belstead and part of neighbouring Bentley. This is a popular route to walk at any time of year but especially during autumn when russet and gold colours are seen at their best.

From the lay-by facing the village, go forward about 25 yards and take the next path left. The narrow path runs initially between the rear of houses and shortly passes through an area of scrubland. Afterwards the way ahead goes quickly downhill through woodland to reach the bottom of a valley.

Climb up the other side on a steep-ish path to afterwards cross a field of rough pasture and reach a four-way footpath sign post. Cross a stile, maintain direction over the adjoining field to find a marker post positioned way to the right of an electricity pylon. Turn right here and continue along a stretch of farm access track to reach a minor road.

Turn left and continue along the road, passing over a railway bridge ahead. In about another 400 yards leave the road, turn right as signposted and continue beside Wherstead Wood. Keep following the woodland edge path to the point where it enters into the wood itself. Quickly turn left and continue beside clumps of bracken and a thin line of trees. Keep following the well-worn path that later continues downhill beside a sloping bank.

You may find parts of the path in a boggy state as you approach the bottom. Keep forward up the other side and shortly locate a bridleway signpost indicating a right turn. Continue ahead along the bridleway with a hedge on the right. Further ahead, when you face some farm buildings in front, turn right and later bear right to join a farm track coming from the left.

In about another 60 yards turn right as signposted to cross a field that leads to a rail bridge. Cross over the railway once more and enter Newcome Wood. Follow the winding path through woodland and afterwards exit left beside a marker post to continue on a broad path running between hedgerows. Turn right at the next corner and afterwards enter the spacious Old Hall Wood beside a gate.

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Maintain direction on a very broad path through the wood, that later goes downhill through a gully with sloping banks either side. Continue ahead, now on a much narrower path that quickly passes over a water course. Keep following the gently rising path to emerge on to a track marked on the map as Bentley Lane. Follow the track to where it peters out and afterwards turn left to join Grove Hill.

Go past Belstead village hall and afterwards Blacksmith’s Corner. Keep following the road past the war memorial and return to your point of departure ahead on the right.

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