Walking in Suffolk, Part 1: England’s Rural Countryside

Suffolk Resident

Suffolk Resident

 Falkenham, Suffolk, England

If you enjoy walking and are looking for beautiful English countryside a little off the usual tourist track, I recommend the county of Suffolk in East Anglia.

Suffolk is less than 100 miles from London and easily accessible by train.  The more I visit here with Clive and learn about the area in which he grew up, the more I’m captivated by Suffolk’s coast, rivers, fields, meadows, villages, churches, and blend of ancient and modern history.

Best of all, there are walks and public footpaths everywhere, as there are throughout England, and a seemingly endless selection of places to go and things to see, both natural and man-made.

Walking in England – Even Madonna Can’t Stop You 

One of the things I love most about England is that walking is so much a part of its culture.  The concept of public footpaths goes back to ancient times, and there are rights of way all over the country, alongside and often through what is otherwise private land.

Madonna famously put up “No Trespassing” signs when she moved to England, in an attempt to prevent walkers, and possibly the media, from using public footpaths on or near her property.  She was challenged in court, and lost the case.  Having also grown up in the U.S., I sometimes feel like I’m trespassing when we walk across a farmer’s field or beside a private driveway.  Clive always says, “Don’t worry; it’s OK.  It’s a public footpath.”

It touches and amazes me that in the middle of what seems like nowhere, you come across simple wooden signs, whose only purpose is to guide walkers along the way.  Many footpath signs are decades old and barely standing, while others are relatively new and are easily visible.

We’re not as expert or serious as those walkers who have special equipment and follow detailed Ordnance Survey maps.  Clive calls us “we could be fitter” walkers.  We try to do walks that are scenic and interesting, and long enough to give us a reasonable amount of exercise.  I also like to amble along at a slower pace sometimes, to take time to pause and admire the views.

Foorpath Sign Near Felixstowe Ferry, England

Foorpath Sign Near Felixstowe Ferry, England

Suffolk’s Rivers and Coastal Scenery

Suffolk is both rural and (mostly) flat, which makes it an easy area for walking.  For those of us accustomed to city or suburban life, the sight of miles and miles of farmland stretching to the sea, interspersed with rivers, coastal villages, medieval churches, and historical sites, is something special.  Suffolk has a very real feel to me, unlike some destinations around the world whose popularity has resulted in tourism becoming their main business.

In the past week, sometimes with family or friends and sometimes by ourselves, Clive and I have had the good fortune to take a number of walks in Suffolk.

More to come.

English Countryside Near Flatford, Suffolk

English Countryside Near Flatford, Suffolk

2 Responses

  1. One of my very favorite things about Cornwall are the daily walks we go on here. I was knocked over by the public right of way bit and sometimes find myself looking around as I tiptoe though a farmers barnyard too close for my comfort. Not that I’m afraid of the animals, but I can’t quite get past the idea that I’m trespassing even though it’s allowed.

    As you know, in the US…it’s just not done. It sounds like you’re having a lovely time and now you’re in one of my favorite places, Scotland. I hope you have a post about where you are while there.

  2. I’m amazed at how well walking trails are set up in England. I did several beautiful walks in Oxfordshire. It’s a great way to see the countryside.

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