Discover a stunning moated hall and deep gully in Otley

Otley's village sign. Picture: BILL BALDRY

Otley's village sign. Picture: BILL BALDRY - Credit: Archant

This walk takes you around the village of Otley, known for its moated hall, and as the birthplace of Ipswich Town’s 1978 FA Cup Final hero Roger Osborne. Walked by Bill Baldry.

The walk route through the Otley area

The walk route through the Otley area - Credit: Archant

Start: Otley Village Hall, Chapel Road. How to get there: Otley is eight miles north of Ipswich. Map Ref: OS Explorer 211 TM 206554. Distance: 5.5 miles. Refreshments: Otley White Hart, and the café at Otley Hall on Wednesdays 11am–4pm, May to September. Walked June 2018

The Suffolk Dialect of the 20th Century by A.O.D. Claxton defines a gull as a “deep channel made by a stream” – this one at Otley is surprisingly deep and one can but wonder how a little stream can carve such a deep chasm.

Ipswich Town fans will know Otley as the birthplace of Roger Osborne, scorer of the winning goal at the 1978 FA Cup Final, and historians and gardeners will know well of Otley Hall, the stunning Grade 1 listed 16th century moated hall with connections to Bartholomew Gosnold, who voyaged to America well before the Mayflower journey.

From the village hall turn right then very soon left as signed. Follow the field edge down and round, over a wooden bridge and ascend through the next field. At the top go left then right over a three plank bridge then left again. Next swing left and right through a field entrance to now have a high hedge on your right and views over to Otley on the left.

A walk through Otley. Picture: BILL BALDRY

A walk through Otley. Picture: BILL BALDRY - Credit: Archant

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At the road go right then left into Spring Park. At the end of the road bear right and follow the narrow footpath to the next lane. Go left here then immediately right with the thick hedge of Otley Hall on your right.

To visit the café at Otley Hall (if walking at a time when it is due to be open) go right at the lane to reach the Hall entrance. To complete a loop to the crossing of paths mentioned in next paragraph continue up the lane for 150 yards and take the byway to the left – marked as alternative route on map.

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At the crossing of paths go left and follow this lovely green lane through to the next road (White Hart PH is just to left).

Cross road then bear right and follow field edge path to a T-junction of paths where you turn left to emerge onto Ipswich Road, where you go right. At the corner go left into Gypsy Lane and immediately left to pick up a permissive field edge path through a mix of clover, vetch and tall grass - if the field edge is too overgrown or wet just follow Ipswich Road then Thomsons Lane.

Emerge from field and go right on the lane. Take the next path left, now with ditch on left and water tower in the distance ahead. At the field corner go right towards the rooftops of Ashbocking, then left on a re-instated cross field path and maintain direction past the buildings of Walnut Tree Farm.

At the bottom of the field go left, now with a ditch on your left and, just before the bridge ahead, swing right and left to reach Gibraltar Road. Here you turn right up the hill, then left at the bend in the road, towards a circle of trees. Maintain direction to Gull Farm, which you pass on your right, then pass behind a timbered barn and across a field.

Go left to reach the deep and unusual “gull”. Where the main path bends right look for a path off to the left which goes down some steps and over a substantial bridge. Follow the field edge to the next bridge where you turn right and follow this narrow track through a thicket up to the churchyard.

Maintain direction by the church to reach Church Road, go left, then right at the village sign, back to the start.

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