The highs and lows of Bruisyard and its bridges
- Credit: Archant
Richard Tyson enjoys some lovely views in a surprisingly hilly area of Suffolk
Start opposite the church with its picturesque round tower. Round towers, which did not require expensive blocks of stone for the corners, are mostly confined to Norfolk and north Suffolk, with a few in Sussex.
Walk uphill away from the River Alde (just down the muddy lane near the car) then turn left past College Farm. Continue and at the bottom of a dip turn right into Mill Lane. After a gentle uphill stretch, and just past a cottage, turn left past a metal gate into a green lane. This is a permissive path not waymarked at present. A permissive path is a route where the landowner allows access but is not a right of way; the owner can close the path at will and the one you are using might close in September 2013, when a stewardship agreement ends.
Your route winds along between oak trees and passes an outlying part of Bruisyard forest. When you reach a wooden footpath sign you should go right (now on a public right of way) along the field headland. Soon a two-plank bridge must be crossed (carefully if wet). Now you can see medieval Bruisyard Hall below you, beyond the lake which was a fishpond for the nuns of the one-time abbey. Although it was nearly midday when I passed, a disturbed barn owl appeared and flew along the hedge.
When you reach a road, turn left past a small monument to the nunnery; then the hall is seen nicely up the drive. Turn left at the road junction by the village sign and walk uphill along the road for nearly 400 yards. Ignore the first footpath on the right but take the second marked path on your right.
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Now the route is waymarked more or less straight on, as wide views open out in high country (well, high for Suffolk that is). You are still on grass and will descend to a path signpost where a stream starts to run down towards Rendham. Turn right and follow the headland and waymarks. Bear left, then turn right at a path junction going towards a house. At the house, turn right on a hardtop lane. Keep straight on past a left turn and continue ahead on a path through small woods, past ponds and over more sleeper bridges.
Emerge on the road, turn left and walk straight down the road, past the one-time shop and post office (with a bow window) and the house, “The Butcher’s Arms”, presumably once a pub. Like many villages, Bruisyard once had both facilities, the post office closing about 10 years ago. At the thatched cottage ahead, go right along the cottage wall (FP sign opposite) and in 40 yards go left and right at a wooden footbridge. Continue alongside the hedge and keep straight, ignoring the footbridge on the left which crosses the Alde. No animals were seen when I visited but occasionally a bull may be present with cows. (This is allowed for certain breeds, but, if animals are present, dog owners should be especially careful.) At the end of the second field bear right over yet another bridge and continue up the headland, enjoying the views of this surprisingly hilly area. At the top, turn left along the road and then go left to reach the start.
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