Meadows, views and valleys

Cyril Francis enjoys a walk with panoramic views over the Gipping Valley

Starting from Bramford, a large village on the fringes of Ipswich, this week’s route may prove attractive to those who prefer shorter walks. Features encountered along the way include a gentle stretch of meadowland and riverside, a visit to neighbouring Sproughton, an oddity marked on the map as The Grindle and sweeping views over the Gipping Valley. After periods of heavy rainfall, beware that the river path may be breached and become impassable in places.

To start the walk, keep forward in the car park, bear right beside a brick building and pass through a kissing gate. Cross the meadowland on a well-defined path that heads towards the River Gipping. Turn left beside the water’s edge and continue on a firm path with Bramford church appearing on the other side.

Continue through some water meadows, later passing an area of woodland known as Hazel Wood, where the path continues to hug the riverside. Maintain direction and carry on through a lowland stretch. Be careful in places, as occasionally the path tends to break up.

Before long you approach Sproughton Lock, where the river may be in full flow. Pass under an arched bridge, climb some steps up a bank and turn right at the top. Incidentally, if you wish to extend the walk and visit the industrial wastelands of west Ipswich, simply stay on the existing path.

Cross a road bridge with Sproughton Mill set back on the right. The present brick mill dates from about 1820 and was once used for grinding flour. On the left is All Saints Church, Sproughton.

Pass the community shop tucked away behind an old tithe barn and in a few more yards look for an entrance door where a small metal plate tells you that this building was once the village lock-up. Head up towards a road junction and turn right in front of the Wild Man pub. Continue along a footway and shortly pass a traffic speed de-restriction sign.

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In about another 300 yards turn left and cross the road to join a surfaced lane signposted as The Grindle. Why Grindle? Does this refer to the narrow stream running beside the lane? Continue along the lane, pass a farmhouse and follow the path to the boundary where you curve right. Pass over a small green area, ignore a path going left and quickly bear right to join a track heading towards Thornbush Hall, standing in the middle distance.

Continue to the top of the rising track and ignore a path going right in front of the hall. Instead, go straight ahead to pass an assortment of farm buildings on the right. Afterwards curve right and left to join a stony field-edge path with a hedge on the right. Keep forward on the ascending path, from where you shortly get a panoramic view of the Gipping Valley.

Continue ahead to reach a junction of paths and turn right. Your way forward now progresses down a grassy breakfield path that later emerges beside the B1113 road. Cross straight over and continue along a narrow surfaced path with a school playing field on the right.

At the junction with Bramford Street, turn right, pass the Cock Inn and bear left along Ship Lane. Continue ahead, pass over the Gipping once more and return to the picnic site car park ahead on the right.