Walking Holidays and Breaks
From leg-stretchers through forests and farmland to family strolls around historic sites, the heart of Suffolk is easy to explore on foot. Three locations – Clare, Eye and Shotley – even have special Walkers are Welcome accreditation!
For those who really like to stride out, several well-known and some long-distance paths run through the county, including the Suffolk Way – a 113-mile route that starts at Flatford and finishes at Lowestoft – while, close to the border with Norfolk, the Waveney Valley Walks are a series of circular routes that follow the 77-mile Angles Way. Elsewhere, other challenges include the Stour Valley Path that threads through Constable Country, the Mid Suffolk Footpath that links Hoxne to Stowmarket and, closer to the coast, the 60-mile Sandlings Walk that meanders between Ipswich and Southwold.
Ancient forests and woodlands cover much of the county, so they’re a natural choice for a nice family walk. Rendlesham Forest – infamous for reports by the US Air Force of UFO sightings in 1980 – has numerous trails. And across the county, near to Thetford, there’s both Santon Downham and Brandon Country Park to explore. For more manicured surroundings, plan a trip to Thornham Walks, a landscaped parkland criss-crossed by 12 miles of paths and part of the Thornham Estate to the north of Ipswich.
Suffolk is home to many historic houses, ancient castles and heritage sites, and there are walks to be enjoyed around all. Clare Castle Country Park is the setting for a series of six walks varying from two to seven miles. Fantastic views of another favourite Suffolk castle, Framlingham, are found on the The Brownsord Way, a circular 11-mile route that can be shortened thanks to several cleverly-planned access and exit points. The hauntingly beautiful Sutton Hoo estate, home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time, is the location of a lovely three-mile walk.
The National Trust cares for many of the county’s major attractions and actively welcomes walkers. Starting from Manningtree Station, its Flatford and Constable walking trail – featured in ITV's Britain's Favourite Walks: Top 100 – is a four- to seven-mile walk that explores the picturesque Stour Valley and Dedham Vale.
Close to Bury St Edmunds, Ickworth Park offers a number of waymarked routes and cross-country paths that take you through diverse habitats and scenery. And wildlife, wildflowers and wool are all themes for a self-guided walk from Lavenham to Long Melford, largely following the route of the old GER line. Alternatively, the Melford Hall to Sudbury Three Mills Walk starts from Long Melford and meanders through Sudbury's famed water meadows and past old water mills before ending at Gainsborough's House and then his statue in Sudbury Market Place.
A circular route around Clare and Cavendish allows you to explore two more picture-perfect Suffolk Wool Towns. It’s a challenging walk with climbs and descents, gates and stiles en route, but there are pubs at each end to reward your effort.And some of Suffolk’s religious history can be discovered on an Angels and Pinnacles walk, which takes you on a tour of four churches – Woolpit, Rattlesden, Shelland and Hessett – to combine the best of the countryside with the county’s magnificent medieval heritage.
Did you know? In early summer the Suffolk Walking Festival caters for all ages and fitness levels. Pub and teashop stops are often scheduled for those who need encouragement to keep going, too.