A 22 mile route through the middle of Suffolk from Hoxne to Stowmarket. The nearest train station to the start is in the town of Diss and then the best option would be to follow the Angles Way in an easterly direction until joining the path. At the end of the route it is just a short walk to the train station in Stowmarket. I completed this route as a trail run which took me 5 hours 40 minutes including diversions and stopping to take photos for this blog.
The GPX file for the route on OS mapping can be found here.
I did this route in the winter after heavy rain, this was a big mistake as much of the route is low lying and follows the Dove and Gipping rivers. I had to make a couple of detours to avoid the most heavily flooded areas and also had to wade through a river at one point! This route would make a pleasant summer walk, especially with long evenings and could easily be done in one day. There is very little change in elevation on the route starting at 20m above sea level and reaching a high point of 60m above sea level after Mendlesham Green.
The actual start of the footpath is from the Angles Way just north of the Suffolk village of Hoxne, I could not get to this due to the flooding but unless you start from the Angles Way you would do just as well to start the walk in Hoxne itself. The village green would be a good start point where there is a bus stop and also a village shop.
The route is well marked all the way with both Footpath signs and also with the red poppy waymarkers. I used the OS App as backup, with the route and maps downloaded to my phone in case there was no signal. I also had the route on my Suunto watch and this is what I followed most of the time.
The route is a varied mix of field edge paths, tracks, woodland trails and quiet country lanes. It passes through a number of small villages and hamlets and close to the town of Eye.
Just before reaching Eye the route crosses Bolser Bridge and here the route was completely flooded with no real alternative so I had to wade through.
I trod extremely carefully to ensure that I stayed on the concrete road and although the water reached the top of my thighs I managed to wade across without getting swept away. I only attempted this knowing that there was a good surface underneath the water and the flow was very gentle.
The other side of Eye was a different story, this time the water stretched a good distance across the field and I could not see where there might be ditches or other hazards under the muddy water. Instead I continued down a track and then road before rejoining the path about a mile further along.
Several sections of the route are on woodland trails, below is Ganderwick Woods which is a lovely nature reserve emerging into the village of Thorndon.
After Thorndon I had to take another diversion due to more flooding and then had the joy of paths which crossed muddy fields with no marked path at all. The first of these is between Colsey Wood and Thwaite and then after Mendlesham Green to join the B road. The second of these I suspect is never particularly well worn judging by the ariel view on Google, the post at the field edge is broken and the route through the hedge to the road is overgrown. I could not see an alternative route but you could just continue around the field edge to meet the road. This section is characterised by lots of ‘private no public right of way signs’.
The final section of the route brings you to the A14 and the edge of Stowmarket. Take a left turn and then follow the road into the town.
I really enjoyed this trail despite the flooding and muddy conditions. I think it would make a lovely route in the summer and is ideal for joining up other routes through Suffolk. From Stowmarket you can take the Gipping Valley River Path to Ipswich and then the Stour and Orwell Walk south to Cattawade or east along the northern shore of the Orwell to join the Suffolk Coast path at Felixstowe.
Have you walked this route or would you like to? Please comment below I would love to hear from you.
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