Richard Tyson finds what could arguably be the loveliest view in Suffolk
Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder but there are surely few who would not agree that some of the views on this walk are among the most stunning the county has to offer.
From the Sutton Memorial Hall car park, walk back on the pavement towards Woodbridge, past the Plough Inn. Take the drive marked as a footpath opposite the private road to the church. In 400 yards turn right onto a sandy track where the signpost is under a tree. Pass by two fields and the bank of a reservoir on the right, then see a track on the left (your route in a few minutes – see below). At the bottom of the dip a right of way is marked, turning left into the pinewood at a stile. The OS map shows the path through the wood but it is not well defined and I went up through the trees to the track passed earlier. You might find it acceptable to return up to the junction (if so, then go right) and use the entire track. The valley of Saxtead Bottom will now be on the right. After 500 yards on the straight track swing right down past a brick barn on the right and approach some tall, straight trees. When the track goes right, take the path marked by a post on the left, soon crossing a footbridge, and go right uphill to a tarred drive. Cross near a large dead tree, going straight over through the first of a series of metal gates. Your route is ahead to the crest of the hill.
Now we see what we came for – a lovely view of the River Deben. To the left, look for the low hills near Ramsholt and even Felixstowe, both beyond the yachts moored at Waldringfield on the right. Upriver are the outskirts of Woodbridge, with Kyson Point a little nearer: arguably one of the loveliest views in Suffolk.
Keep the same direction straight ahead through metal gates (two close together at a right and left turn) continuing to Methersgate Quay, which is revealed as you reach the riverbank. The tide was high as I sat down on the quayside for a rest and sandwich.
The next phase of the walk follows the riverside towards the sea. Turn left with the water on your right. To start, either go along the little beach and cross the river wall at a sleeper bridge just beside the last bush (left) or locate the onward path under a large oak tree. The blue flowers are sea lavender; there may also be samphire but, if you pick some, please cut it and avoid pulling it up by the roots. The way becomes clearer with crops on your left and the river wall on the right. Keep ahead, through a wood and down past two huge oak trees. On a previous visit here four roe deer ran up into the woods. After a section of river wall the path goes through woods, down steps and up others. Note the small promontories (“The Tips” on the map) which are artificial and an attempted reclamation scheme. Birdwatchers will want to look at the waders here on the mud flats at low tide.
You may also want to watch:
Pass along the side of a field before reaching a junction with a bridleway. Turn left here for Sutton but you might wish to visit Stonner Point (300 yards to the right) and admire the view before returning. Follow the track inland and keep straight on until a tarred lane is reached opposite a Georgian house (Sutton Hall).
Turn left. Ignore the first path on the right; then, reaching a junction with paths either side, go right across a field. The start is over the road beyond the hedge.
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