Cyril Francis follows a route from Needham Market to Battisford
THIS walk offers a pleasant stroll, with one or two ups and downs, from Needham Market to Battisford and back again. Green paths take you through attractive countryside, interspersed with harvested fields and tracts of woodland. There’s also the opportunity to pause and take a look round St Mary’s church at Battisford.
Start the walk by walking towards the far end of the car park. Bear right and right again to enter Crowley Park. Continue along the left edge, and make for the sports pavilion in front. Climb up an embankment, turn left and then right to join Barratts Lane.
Carry on along the surfaced lane and eventually reach the Saxon Park residential homes site. Pass through the site and locate a three-way signpost. Turn right, pass through a kissing gate into a field and continue with a hedge on the right.
At the field boundary, Badley church can be seen across the fields in front. Turn left onto a concreted section of road with Little Newton Wood on the right. Pass a large barn on the left and maintain direction to where the road peters out and becomes a track. With Great Newton Wood on the right, shortly enter the next field where path gently descends to bottom of a partially hidden valley.
Just before path bends right, turn right as waymarked and continue down an old earth lane. Turn right at the bottom and soon pass Gibbons Farm. In another 300 yards turn right beside a grass triangle and pass over a watercourse.
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Stay on the path, ignore a turning going right and keep forward to shortly pass between buildings at Vale Farm. Walk over a short stretch of grass, enter a cultivated field and continue with a hedge on the right. Follow the path to eventually reach a minor road leading to Battisford Hall. Turn left here and continue along the road to reach St Mary’s church in front.
Leave the church, turn left onto Church Road and pass the village cemetery on the right. In about another 150 yards, turn right as signposted and continue along a field edge path with a hedge on the left. Curve right at the top boundary and, in a few more paces, turn left through a hedge gap.
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Continue with a hedge now on the right and shortly go right and left over a ditch where the path swaps sides. Maintain direction and aim for a finger post positioned beside a road in front. Turn left onto the road and in another 50 yards swing right to join a tarmaced access road. Look left ahead for a property named Spinks Bungalow and turn sharp left onto a public footpath.
Pass beside a rear garden and afterwards exit through a gate into a cultivated field. Continue down the right edge, cross a bridge at the bottom and then turn left to walk along an access track. At the junction with Valley Lane, quickly turn right and left to enter a field and continue beside the bottom boundary.
In about 250 yards, turn right beside a marker post and take a cross-field path, gradually veering left towards a hedge and copse. Afterwards, swing right onto a wide margin that hugs the side of the copse. Keep following the edge round and eventually locate a marker post on the left. Drop down a bank, cross a bridge and turn left at the top of a slight incline.
A narrow path now skirts the copse on the left and steadily runs downhill. Curve right at the bottom and stay on the path that takes you to the bottom of Hascot Hill. Cross straight over the road and continue along a signed ‘No Through Road.’ Just beyond the grass triangle previously encountered, turn right up a broad grassy path that climbs gently upwards towards a break-field path.
Follow the path where it later clings to the field edge and afterwards goes slightly downhill. Turn right over a metal stile ahead, cross a hay meadow and climb two more stiles beside Paddington Hall. Keep forward on a narrow path that soon emerges in front of a fenced paddock. Bear slightly left, pass between a hedge on the left and the fence on the right and continue to the far boundary, where you turn left into a cultivated field.
Continue to the field bottom and go through a hedge gap. Swing left, later continue on a wider path, which shortly develops into an access track. Keep following the track that leads to Saxon Park once again. From here, retrace steps previously taken back to Crowley Park and point of departure.