Walking in Suffolk, Part 5: Falkenham and Felixstowe Ferry

Near Felixstowe, Suffolk, England

The last walk Clive and I did on this trip to England started right outside the door of our rented self-catering cottage at Falkenham.  As with the other Suffolk locations I’ve written about, this would be an easy day trip from London.

While we loved each walk in its own way, I think this one was my favourite, probably due in part to it being in the area immediately surrounding Felixstowe, where Clive is from.  Being here helps me understand a little more about him and the physical geography of where he spent his formative years.  For this reason alone, Suffolk is special to me.

But beyond being Clive’s place of origin, this walk has many things I’ve come to love about this part of England:  rural countryside with unspoiled miles of peaceful fields and meadows, a river and its estuary with sailboats and bird life all around, and views stretching  far across the land and out to sea.

From our cottage at Falkenham, a village a few miles from Felixstowe, the view out the window to the River Deben shows just how flat some of Suffolk is.  On the first morning, Clive said, “It looks like those boats are sailing on the fields.”

Sailing on the River Deben

Sailing on the River Deben


Falkenham to Felixstowe Ferry    

This is a great loop walk across the fields of Falkenham and around to Felixstowe Ferry at the entrance to the River Deben.  Felixstowe Ferry is known to some for its fish and chips stand, but it’s also the location of my favourite pub in England, the Ferry Boat Inn.  Locals refer this as “The FBI” and I love the FBI location and simple but authentic pub atmosphere.

Walking towards Felixstowe Ferry

Walking towards Felixstowe Ferry


This walk has a lot of beautiful off-road countryside and footpaths on it, but also comes out on a road that leads past the Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club and onto the sea wall.  We ate our lunch looking out to the ocean and then walked along an embankment beside the River Deben estuary to circle back to Falkenham.  Along the way, a path goes beside King’s Fleet, a long stream that’s not in use today but was regularly used by trading ships in the 13th century.  Its name is from a fleet of ships assembled here by Edward II ready to sail to France. 

The Meaning of Home

I wrote in an earlier post about the meaning of home and inherited vs. chosen places.  As we walked along King’s Fleet, I thought about a comment Clive’s cousin made the day we walked with him and his wife.

I expressed my increasing admiration and affection for Felixstowe and Suffolk, and he said that as he and his wife travel around the world and then come home to Felixstowe, and he does his morning runs along the seafront and King’s Fleet, he too appreciates more and more the place where he was born and continues to choose to live.

I thought what a wonderful situation that is, when one’s inherited place turns out to be one’s chosen place.  I don’t think it happens very often, although I have had colleagues in Australia say the same thing about Sydney, the city Clive and I call home.

I’ll end this Suffolk series here, with a well-known T.S. Eliot quote that seems appropriate:

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

One Response

  1. I feel “at home” in France in a way I didn’t in the States. I’m not sure if it’s my husband or the place. I love that quote. It really is appropriate.

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