FAVOURITE WALKS



STOKE-BY-NAYLAND WALK

It is possible to walk to or from Boxford several times without using the same footpath. This network of paths and its concentrated focal point of central Boxford is a result of Boxford's historic economic importance and commercial significance; a byproduct of its sometime relatively large population and its inhabitants connections with other local communities and perhaps also its favourable geographical location with its occupation of the convenient (although not flood free) space around the crossing point of the river. These factors, and others, have contributed to a village which provides a network of paths radiating out in all directions.

This month we visit Stoke By Nayland and for the first time in this collection of walks we can access a professionally produced map of the walk by clicking here. where you will find three walks following The Box's progress to the River Stour. I have recently walked the route and, with a slight change, give the description here. If you can, I recommend printing out the website map of the paths. The walk is just over nine miles, so, with a generous break, allow around five hours. Compared with other walks there is a higher percentage of road walking. A characteristic of this walk too is that it evokes the meadow land and riverside habitat that was once commonplace and is now a rarity. There are stiles along this route, together with gates and bridges and livestock grazing to be aware of in your preparations for the walk.

Leave Boxford by Stone Street at the bottom of School Hill and pass the Primary school on your left. Reaching the bypass carefully cross this road and continue (by using the footpath which begins about 150m from the junction and runs alongside Stone Street) until you reach the Stone Street hamlet. Pass through the hamlet and turn left into the small lane at the bottom of the hill. Walk along some 300m and at a sharp left bend, do not turn to follow the lane, but continue ahead, along a drive, crossing a cattle grid and continuing some way through park land, with Peyton Hall on your right in the distance, to bear right up to a kissing gate on the left.

Pass through this and a total of five gates, with the river away to your left, passing under cables, between pylons, to follow the path away from the river to reach a lane. At the lane, turn left, to follow it down and round to the right, ignoring any tracks or paths to the left. You will now pass some cottages and reach a footpath sign, on the right, pointing into and up a field. Follow this up to a group of farm buildings which you walk through, or around (there is an absence of signage) to pass beside a stackyard, next to a drive, which leads up to the B1068. At the road, turn left, with the school on your right, to continue straight ahead at the corner to take the footpath on your left which leads through the churchyard.

Leaving the churchyard you pass a small green and then the village hall on your right to cross over the road ahead and make your way down Scotland Street opposite The Angel. At the end of a section of white fencing a footpath sign points off to the left which you follow, through undergrowth, into a field where you turn left and then bear right down to a gate opening on to a track. Turn left along this track, through a gate and continue along the track until you reach a road. Cross the road to the lane opposite and then take the footpath, on the right, just beyond the mill. This mill, I think, by the way, is the oldest (only) remaining mill (and there were several) along the Box Valley. Make your way across the meadow to a stile which you cross to follow a path, on the right, beside The Box. This path rejoins the field edge near a stile in the field corner. Over the stile turn right onto an unmetalled track which fords The Box (footbridge beside) and climbs out of the valley. At the top, continue straight ahead on the road, turn left at a junction, after 300m, and continue to Whitestreet Green.

When you reach the green, on the left after a good half a mile, turn left and walk down a metalled lane, to turn right at a field entrance opposite a house, where the asphalt finishes, onto a path and adjoining stile. Cross the meadow, with the hedge on your right, to a stile ahead. Cross the next field to the woodland opposite, turn left at the field edge, down to the field corner where you turn right, onto a path through brush which takes you to a small lane. At the lane follow it down to the left, over The Box once more, by a bridge next to a ford and proceed up and to the right to turn right into Stone Street hamlet. Make your way along the road to return to Boxford.

Nicholas Bristow

Stoke-by-Nayland Walk