Great mix of ramble and railways
MID ANGLIA Rail Passengers’ Association (MARPA) has teamed up with the Suffolk Area of the Ramblers to produce a new set of leaflets detailing 12 country walks between each of the stations on the rail line between Ipswich, Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Cambridge and Ely.
Environmentally minded ramblers can use the stations along the line to get access to some of the most delightful and varied countryside in East Anglia.
Traversing a predominately working landscape where farming is still a traditional way of life, the leaflets guide walkers along riverside towpaths, quiet lanes, sinuous field paths and hedged tracks leading to secluded nature reserves, expansive parks and flower-rich ancient woodlands. Some of the walks take in 1,000-year-old earthworks of exceptional archaeological and botanical interest.
Along the way there are good opportunities for rest and refreshment at picture-postcard towns and villages and walkers with an eye for architecture will enjoy many splendid churches and domestic buildings of vernacular styles and materials.
The approaches to the incomparable townscapes of Bury St Edmunds (from No Man’s Meadows), Cambridge (from Magog Down) and Ely (from the path by the river Great Ouse) are especially memorable.
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The walks vary in distance from a modest 4� mile canal-side stroll (Needham Market to Stowmarket) to a more challenging 18 miles of remote countryside between Kennett and Bury St Edmunds.
Roger Wolfe, local Ramblers’ member, who surveyed and selected the routes, said: “There is so much of interest for walkers to enjoy that choosing the best route between each station was often difficult.
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“Important criteria were variety of landscape and natural habitat, places with historic associations and architectural interest - all had to be combined with available rights of way and permissive paths to give reasonable directness. Avoiding busy road traffic was an obvious priority for safety reasons.
“Perhaps the best thing about the station to station walks is that after a day-long ramble in the countryside it’s more relaxing to be able to sit back in the train than having drive along the A11 or A14!”
Ross Taylor, Secretary of the Mid Anglia Rail Passengers’ Association (MARPA) said: “MARPA is keen to encourage the use of the smaller stations along the line, especially off-peak when there are fewer people travelling to work, college and school.
The stations provide an ideal way for people to get into the remote countryside of Suffolk and East Cambridgeshire without having to use a car.
Hopefully the leaflets will inspire walkers to use the line to travel into the area,benefiting pubs, shops and providers of accommodation. Using the train makes good sense environmentally.”
The 12 leaflets are available as free downloads from the MARPA website www.marpa.org.uk