North-east of Beccles is a triangle of land which is part of Norfolk despite being enclosed on two sides by Suffolk along the River Waveney.
When I visited this peninsula a couple of years ago I drove from the A143 down to the most easterly point (the Staithe), where Burgh St Peter’s Church of St Mary has an extraordinary castelated tower. In the short November days a long walk seemed too far and so this time we decided to start at Aldeby Church.
Start the walk by entering the churchyard at the footpath sign, then leave the church on your right. Note the restored Norman doorway at the west end. Exit the churchyard at the far end and pass between two silos, then follow waymarks straight ahead past farm buildings to a metal gate. The route turns right, then in 50 yards turns left onto a farm track between fences.
Keep straight on across a minor road and rise up to give more open views. A large herd of cattle was here behind electric fences (care with dogs, please). Soon turn left at a narrow lane.
Continue straight on at a crossroads, then pass a recreation ground. At a more important but quiet road turn right. Keep straight towards the Staithe (but note the White Swan pub to the left). Just past a former shop, turn left into Pit Road, now going north.
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Some time after New Buildings Farm, reach a road and go straight over, taking the byway track ahead, which descends gently towards the grazing marshes and distant Somerleyton.
Twenty yards after entering a wood a Broads Authority waymark going left is the entry to the next stage of the walk (but a good view over to Somerleyton is only 50 yards ahead). We saw swans flying over and a barn owl, which had been disturbed in the woods. A train passing over Somerleyton swing-bridge told us about this strange girder structure in the distance.
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The walk route follows the edge of the woods; waymarks right and left lead you on; the path is a little overgrown with nettles here and there (at one point we used the adjacent field, regaining the path at a gap. In due course pass a disused cowshed (farmers have found that growing cereals is easier than dairy farming). Exit onto a lane at a junction.
Keep the same line past a left turn and pick up the path at a metal stile just round the corner. Now the way is easier – exit to a grassy field, then follow the edge of the woods. A metal mast is away to the left as you enter a corner of the wood; turn left onto a green lane (Low Common Lane). Rise gently and turn right at an upright boulder (how did this get here?)
In 50 yards turn right again at “Tar Barrel Corner”. Three tractors were all busy here – ploughing in sugar beet tops, harrowing the soil and sowing seeds. Four hundred yards later, turn left beside the first house and follow the headland path. Pass a house to reach a road; turn right and then left into the straight road “The Walks”. Aldeby Church is in front. Cross the road at the bottom with care, then pass the Old School and continue to the start.