Green paths and valley views around Chelmondiston
- Credit: Archant
Cyril Francis explores a network of paths on the Shotley peninsula
With a fine network of public paths, walking on the Shotley peninsula is always a pleasure, this route being no exception. Starting from Chelmondiston, a mixture of tracks and field edge paths take you to Harkstead Church, attractively positioned on high ground overlooking the Stour Valley. Later on, there’s a lengthy stretch of a re-instated field path to cross, followed by a livery stable and equestrian centre; then more green paths to finish with.
From the car park, head towards the B1456 in front and turn right. Pass The Foresters on the left and continue to last house on right. Turn right at signed post (1), leading to gravel path and onwards to field entrance. Turn right and follow track round to left and followed by long bend right. At path junction turn left on to field edge path, accompanied by line of oak trees.
Curve left at corner and then swing right at three-way finger post (2). Break field path now heads towards Rence Park. Continue ahead beside woodland to reach Grove Lane. Turn right here for 20 yards and afterwards turn left to resume direction on field edge path.
At far boundary, quickly go left and right to enter adjoining field. Look right shortly for a rickety stile (3), cross it and make your way on partially defined path through conifer wood. Exit woodland, turn right to join broad cart track and continue ahead. Pass a pair of isolated cottages and later where track peters out, follow road straight ahead to next junction. Turn left and follow road to St Mary’s Church at Harkstead.
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Look for post box in boundary wall and cross adjacent stile. Continue along narrow grassy path and cross stile ahead to enter field. Turn right and follow field edge to cart track and turn left. Descend track, cross stream at bottom and head up opposite side to reach Vale Farm. Swing left at farm entrance to join surfaced access drive, afterwards turning right at minor road in front.
Follow road for next quarter of mile and bear left at T-junction. Go past Red House Farm, continue to the next road junction and turn right over stile in hedge to enter meadow. Take left edge, look for and cross a stile (4). Quickly bear half-left, cross diagonally over cultivated field and head towards distant field entrance at far side.
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Turn right to join Bylam Lane and after 200 yards take bridleway leading to Bylam Livery Stables. Turn left at three-way finger post beside stable block and head up path to reach path coming from left. Turn right and stay on this path to eventually go through hedge gap. Pass diagonally through a small paddock and continue along sunken lane.
Cross minor road and later pass wooden gate on left. Continue to footpath junction ahead (5) and turn left on to field edge path with hedge on left. Follow path to field corner, swing right and in a few more paces, go left through hedge gap back in to car park.