Witnesham: Walk around wonderful Witnesham
- Credit: citizenside.com
Cyril Francis gets reacquainted with a route he hasn’t walked for a while
Looking back, I realise it’s quite some time since I last walked the whole of this route around Witnesham. On the last occasion snowdrops carpeted the floor of St Mary’s Churchyard and a sprinkling of frost had settled on paths and hedgerows. By contrast on this early autumn morning, harvest fields had been ploughed and the good seed well and truly scattered.
To begin, leave the parking area, turn right on to a footway and head towards the village war memorial further ahead. Turn right here and in a few more paces ignore a path going straight ahead. Instead bear left to join Hall Lane. Continue between houses and carry on to where the surfaced lane almost peters out. Look for a property named Burnside on the left-hand side (a footpath sign is almost hidden) and afterwards continue down a narrow path with a garden hedge on the left.
Cross a bridge over a water channel at the bottom and afterwards cross a field of pasture. Go up a slight bank, cross a stile and turn right. Continue for a few more paces, bear right and go down the bank. Carry on with a hedge on the left, curve right at the field boundary and in about another 50 yards go left through a hedge gap.
Cross a cultivated field to meet a hedge in front. Walk beside the hedge and turn left when meeting a restricted byway ahead. Shortly draw level with buildings at Low Farm and turn right over a stile as signposted. Cross a brief stretch of pasture and then pass through a metal gate. Continue along left edge and cross an awkward stile to enter the next field.
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Continue along the middle of a field on a break-field path and look for a hedge gap at the far side. Pass through the gap, turn right and continue along a delightful green lane. After about 400 yards the hedge on the right finishes, allowing panoramic views across the local landscape. Carry on ahead, regain the hedge and stay on the present path that runs through a progressively wooded area to eventually emerge beside a minor road.
Turn right, maintain direction and shortly pass a property named ‘The Lodge’. Soon the road runs downhill and becomes unsurfaced, developing into a sunken lane. With the sight of a new-ish bridge about 50 yards in front, follow the present path as it bears right with hedgerows either side. Later pass Witnesham Hall and afterwards cross a ford.
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For those wanting to take the shorter route, quickly turn right as signposted and soon cross a bridge over a stream. Carry on through a field of pasture, gradually veering left to walk beside a hedge. Keep following the path and later go through a kissing to rejoin Hall Road. From here, retrace previous steps taken to eventually arrive at your point of departure.
Otherwise maintain direction, pass St Mary’s church and village hall as you go, to eventually reach a road junction. Cross straight over the B1077 and head up Wash Lane. Keep following the lane that later curves right and left, and afterwards ignore a path leading to Whitehouse Farm. Maintain direction and shortly take the right fork up a rising track that leads to Burnt House Farm. Just before approaching some farm buildings ahead, turn right and continue along a field-edge path.
Further ahead, the path bears left and passes through a lengthy wooded avenue to emerge beside a field edge. Continue to the field boundary, curve right and stay on the left edge. Later look for a bridleway sign and bear left as directed to pass beside some pig units. Turn left ahead and continue along a concreted surface to reach a farm compound. Keep veering right, pass beside a gate to soon join a broad bridleway marked on the map as Bull Lane. Keep forward and follow the bridleway past Red House Farm to finally meet the B1077. Cross straight over and return to your point of departure.