Mid-Suffolk Footpath 3: Mendlesham to Stowmarket

14 January 2012

With Lucy having a choir rehearsal in Stowmarket, there was just the right length of time for Stephen to complete the Mid-Suffolk Footpath, being dropped off in Mendlesham at 9.35 ready to be picked up in Stowmarket at the choir's lunch break.

The church of St Mary the Virgin in Mendlesham as we make our way out of the village on a cold but pleasant morning.

Our way first lies along this very quiet road - at this early stage, George still looks clean and fluffy

Which once past Oak Farm and Ashes Farm turns into this track, which is already having its effect on George

At Tan Office Farm, we turn off the track as it becomes a road again. It looks like George is sneaking through someone's back garden, and he is, but this is a public footpath - nicely surfaced with wood chippings, too, so it doesn't get muddy.

We emerged from the garden onto farmland, our route ahead being alongside this drainage ditch, which has a claim to being the source of the River Gipping

The Mid-Suffolk Footpath marker post points us alongside the infant Gipping, now on our left

A bridge takes us back to the other bank again

As we leave the village of Mendlesham Green, this sign caught my eye, but could perhaps do with a little TLC

I wonder if there is a design specification for these squeeze stiles, because this one is rather narrow for me.

A track along the edge of fields leads us to a cross-path where we turn right along this grassy track between ditches, called One Hundred Lane.

Further along, a busy marker post tells us to turn left

But there is no evidence of the public footpath on the ground, nor clarity about which is the precise direction. The Ordnance Survey map shows this public footpath, but shows the route of the Mid-Suffolk Footpath being rather further to the west, as does the official leaflet of the Mid-Suffolk Footpath and I decided to investigate.

As I suspected, the leaflet and OS route was along the field edge, and that seemed easier so that's the way we went

There then followed a long section of road walking past the track to Palgrave Farm and then past Rookery Farm, Wood Farm, Gipping Farm and Water Run Farm. This is the view across the Gipping valley. On the right just above the cloud you can spot a microlight.

At long last we left the road for a walk along the banks of the Gipping, now a real river rather than a ditch

Soon after this we returned to the road for another long section, including a busy though fortunately short section along the B1113

The B1113 took us over the river at Newton Bridge, and at Bridge Farm we turned left and carefully crossed the railway. This is the mainline from Ipswich to Norwich

A short walk along a track brought us to the meadows by the Gipping, open to the public. The route of the public footpath wasn't entirely clear, however.

Safely out at the other end, a short track brings us to the road off the A14 into Stowmarket, from where we look back

But there is one last gasp of countryside in Greens Meadow...

...somewhat dominated by the A14 viaduct

A boardwalk takes us safely under the viaduct, and we emerge at the sports club where the Mid-Suffolk Footpath ends.

But we have a short link walk to do, passing a warehouse by the Gipping

And to the start of the Gipping River Path: this short section, to the next bridge just visible, was closed when we walked the Gipping River Path, so walking this section now fills that gap, and means that Stephen has now walked from Norfolk along the Mid-Suffolk Footpath, down the Gipping River Path and the Stour and Orwell Walk to the sea at Felixstowe. Later this year should come the Suffolk Coast Path, extending that continuous series of linked walks northwards up the coast.

Total 15.0 km in 3 hours 36 mins (about 13.7 km along the Mid-Suffolk Footpath, plus my extension into Stowmarket to the start of the Gipping River Path).

Previous Mid-Suffolk Footpath walk - from Thorndon Mid-Suffolk Footpath walks Onwards along the Gipping River Path


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson