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[Fynn Valley Way]
The Sandlings Walk
A 60 Mile linear Trail between Ipswich and Southwold, Suffolk
Saturday 29 Dec 2007 - 2 Miles
An extremely short sliver of the walk, the reason for this is that I was actually walking the Fynn Valley, and as this is only 10 Miles long, when I got to Woodbridge Station, as a train to Ipswich was not due for 45 mins, I thought it best to carry on with my walk. I am really enjoying walking back in my 'native' Suffolk and look forward to doing a lot of walking in this area in the future.
The walk itself stays by the river Deben to Melton, where it then turns away (the river passes under Wilford Bridge) The pub here is an old haunt, but the station is as far as I got this time.
The Tide Mill at Woodbridge
A synergistic exercise (sic) with the wonderful East Suffolk Line
A houseboat near Melton
Not so well kept
Wilford Bridge far right in distance - Melton
Melton to Butley
Wednesday 19 March - 10 Miles
A blustery and changeable day - with light sleet at one point, but generally sunny but cold. Very interesting, as I used to work at RAF Bentwaters and went onto RAF Woodbridge many times, until they closed in 1993. Rendlesham Forest spooky as all on my lonesome, with dodgy waymarking and virtually no one around, and the UFO incident fresh in my mind!
Quite good waymarking so far, except for a bit of Rendlesham Forest, causing me some misdirection...
The intention was to walk to Tunstall and catch a bus, but the route is so convoluted that I had to route march three miles along the road to Tunstall instead, so only followed walk as far as Butley. Appalling bus service meant that I had to go all the way to Aldeburgh by bus to get a bus to Ipswich (Locals will understand how stupid that is) - totally wrong direction - but hey, it was a trip!
Looking back towards Melton from Wilford Bridge on the Deben
Approaching Melton golf course - a few minutes later - hail!
Near RAF Woodbridge - Piggies
RAF Woodbridge - Runway in far distance. Landing lights still extant. Not sure if there is still an MOD presence?
A group of around 10 deer - keeping an eye on me, but staying still for several minutes before jumping over a fence
RAF Woodbridge again - before plunging into Rendlesham Forest
Rendlesham Forest UFO trail! Apparently the incident took place in 1980, involving an investigation by US Servicemen from RAF woodbridge. More spooky stuff here!
One of several sculptures found along the way - this one near RAF Woodbridge in Rendlesham Forest
Butley to (Near) Friston
Saturday 9 August 2008 - 10 Miles
Dropped off at Butley, then recommenced walk after the slight disaster on last section. Day started dry, but turned to persistant light showers, although this did not damped (sic) my enthusiasm. Badly waymarked in places, got a bit lost in Tunstall Forest, but eventually reached Snape Maltings, a place I have visited many times. After a pick me up, got going again. Carried on for a couple of miles, then peeled off the route north of the A1094 to get back to Trimley. Route marched into Saxmundham, and literally missed the train by less than a minute (the bastard was pulling out of the station about 50 metres away!) So got a slow bus instead, as I had a date to keep with a takeaway curry...
Bentwaters Park, former airbase
Wantisden Church, right by the perimeter fence
Tunstall Forest - looks a bit samey after a while!
Friston To Leiston
Saturday 1 November 2008 - 10 Miles
Great walk to start, but got distinctly soaked by end, although did know it was gonna rain. Most of the route required no map as had travelled a lot of it in the past, as used to live in Aldringham, nearby, so great memories kept popping into my skull. Got to Leiston an hour too early for Ipswich bus, so had a serious trip down memory lane. From Friston you cut cross country to near Knodishall, then along lanes to North Warren, join the old Aldeburgh Railway, then veer off towards Sizewell, ending with a long loop back towards Leiston. Finished the night with a Ruby Murry to celebrate my Mumz Birthday yesterday.
Poor old Windmill at Friston
Transmitter mast - near North Warren, between Leiston and Aldeburgh
North Warren, near old trackbed
Backwaters of the Meare, an artificial boating lake at Thorpeness
Crossing cottage and gate post near Thorpeness
Sizewell A and B Nuclear Power Stations
Leiston to Southwold
Wednesday 18 February - 17 Miles
Back again, for some more Suffolk Shuffling. Determined to finish the Sandlings. The walk was as usual jam packed with memories of many walks from my yoof, and family Sundays, when a walk was seen by me as a boring prerequisite before a yummy pub lunch or cream tea!
Anyway, from Lovers Lane on the outskirts of Leiston, you walk North, through Eastbridge, then along the access for Minsmere, across Dunwich Heath to the coastguard cottages, through Greyfriars Wood, up to faded delights of Dunwich (The Ship Pub rocks!), then Westwards and Northwards through a complicated set of disorientating doglegs through Dunwich Forest, joining a track, the lane, bringing you almost to the fringes of Walberswick (another delightful little village with a church within a ruined church). Across Walberswick common, then a bridge over the Blyth, following it almost down to Southwold Harbour on the North Side - then up into attractive (but snobby) Southwold. The bus to Halesworth was 20 minutes late, so I had to wait for 90 minutes for a train to Ipswich - not easy in a small town, but I managed it with a bag of chips and deep scrutiny of every shelf in the Coop! Overall, a delightful day. I also had the great pleasure of coming close to 3 large stag deer, with bleedin' big antlers - beautiful.
Amusing myself for 50 minutes at Westerfield, waiting for a train to Saxmundham - Ipswich, still quite sleepy, but tarnished by the shocking recent murders
The strangely named pub at Eastbridge
Edge of RSPB Reserve - used to go jogging round here in a 3 mile circuit in the 90's...
Dunwich Heath, near the Coastguard Cottages (NT Tearoom)
As it sez - a bit of a sorry site under plastic sheeting
The Ship Inn - Ahh, many a Ploughman's Lunch devoured here...
Another Sandlings scuplture - this time in Dunwich Forest
Approaching the outskirts of Walberswick
A cattle creep on the former Halesworth to Southwold Railway - Closed in the 1920's! One of few signs it ever existed. A bench nearby was a perfect spot for a good old cheese and pickle sarnie
Approaching the bridge on the river Blyth (Movie idea?) - along the old trackbed
This is the Walberswick (South) side - Southwold Harbour on North Bank. In addition to the bridge, there is a sweet little rowing boat ferry service in high season, rather like at Felixstowe Ferry
Rushmere Heath to Martlesham Creek
Friday 20 February - 5 Miles
A quick one - just to finally get this walk finished. I had previously intercepted it at Martlehsam Creek, from Witnesham, when doing the Fynn Valley (pronounced Finn), so still had to do the first bit from the outskirts of Ipswich to call it job done. I was very kindly joined by my mums partner for this walk, but he wasn't in the best of moods, just having been 'credit crunched' (lost his job) so was muttering a fare few expletives along the way! I think it might have helped a little bit though.
There are three possible starting points, two on Rushmere Heath and one by St Augustine's Church, which joins up near Rushmere. For our purposes, we started from the A1214, crossing the Golf Course, then along the back of housing at Rushmere St Andrew, moving then through Kesgrave and along to Martlesham Heath, past the Police Headquarters and the 'Church Of Tesco', through Walk Farm Wood, into open countryside, through Sluice Wood then leaving the path to reach the Red Lion Pub at Martlesham (old A12) where the motor was stashed. A short but pretty walk, officially ending the Sandlings. However, I may make a loop out of the alternate remaining two start points in the future, for a couple of miles shuffle with me mum...
Rushmere Heath - Water Tower in distance, and lots of nawty Golfing shenanigans. My companion is a keen Golfer and has used this course, so could help me tell if we were going to get hit!
Transmitters - Foxhall Heath. Previous to this the Stockcar Stadium is passed, but not seen...
Martlesham Heath. Lunch was had in a Kidz playground, for want of somewhere better, as it had a bench, and the little tykes were pleasantly absent
Walk Farm Wood, now into the countryside
Recently ploughed field, but giveaway ribbon of path in distance to follow. Sometimes the whole thing is just one big sod...
Snowdrops and Martlesham Creek
Sluice Wood, convergence with the Fynn Valley Walk and job done
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