Appox 5.4 Miles

On this walk if you leave the route at (2) you will still face the stiffest climb of the walk.

This first walk begins in central Boxford.
Boxford is rich in accessible footpaths and where possible alternative, or shorter, routes will be mentioned. There are four numbered places where you can tailor this walk to suit you. This route is to the South West and goes out to Assington and back and is about 5.5 miles. It is largely flat but there are two or three climbs involved. There are no stiles on this route. The printed numbered map refers to this walk and the OS Map is Explorer 196.

To start, go up School Hill and turn right on to the A1071. After about 150m cross over to your left onto a path beside a house. Follow the path up steps and along a hedgerow until you get to number (1) on the map where you can turn left down to Stone Street and return to Boxford if you wish.

Turning right, walk on to a field corner where you go through a hedge and turn left. Follow the path down and to the right along the valley floor until you get to (2), another field corner. Here you can turn left through a (usually muddy) gap in the hedge to climb to Firs Farm. We, though, turn right here and climb up looking for a gap in the hedge on our left opening on to a grassy track leading to a farm in the distance.

Turn left before the farm, walk along a grassy track and between a large pond and a cottage on your right (3) is a footpath leading to fields which you cross diagonally aiming for a coppice. At the coppice follow the path to the right past another coppice and then left to the A134. Just before the road, turn right, walk beside a garage towards a nearby house where you cross the road to a gate.

At (3) you also have the choice of ignoring the footpath and, instead, continuing along the lane until you can turn left at a footpath which takes you back to Firs farm. If you've crossed the A134, however, continue through the gate, walk along an avenue of trees then bear left onto a drive in front of some houses. Take the drive down to the road which you reach at (4). Here you have a choice of going down the street for just over quarter of a mile for refreshments or turning back. Whichever choice, take care, as the road has bends and no pavement.

Returning to Boxford from (4) walk up the road to the A134 with Assington Church on your left: just before the main road, on the bend, leave the Assington road, and walk on a short stretch of old road on the right, next to the field corner, going direction Colchester. Carefully cross over the A134, when you can, and continue a few meters, Colchester direction, to enter a lane which passes Glebe House on your right.

Walk down the lane and turn right at the footpath sign (this is the footpath those who left at (3) are looking for). Follow the path, until at a gateway you turn left and follow the path round to the right,until you can enter a well used vehicle track, on the left, leading through Firs Farm.

After 300 meters you will pass through a farmyard and join at a T junction a path leading to the right( this is where walkers turning left at (2) rejoin the route). Walk 200m along the path to join a footpath on the left beside a pair cottages, Follow this path until it enters a field where you turn right and follow the hedge on your right until at the field corner you turn left. You now follow the path down and up a valley, keeping the hedge on your right until another T junction(5) at the top of the incline offers the choice of returning via Stone Street when turning right or walking left for a few meters to (1) and then turning tight to return directly to Boxford.

By the way, on the walk, there are some fine views, including Groton church, a patch of Bluebells during the season and (being Suffolk) some big skies. On a windy day plenty of fresh air too. In addition there are some sunken tracks and some fine, and to me, unique, farm buildings to see.

Nicholas Bristow