Red Route Appox 9.2 Miles

I like circular walks because starting and finishing at the same place is easy to organise. A linear walk, perhaps finishing some considerable way from the start requires the use of public transport or the help of friends. Using buses is one solution and two cars is another. Some years ago, we walked the Essex Way from Ongar to Harwich, over a number of Sundays, spread across several summers. When we started, the two families children were small, and were back packed or buggied. We walked shorter stretches, of course. By the time we got to Harwich, some years later, most of the children were approaching their teens and we were walking around 5 miles or so. The routine was well established: two cars to the start, the drivers drop everyone off and go on to the destination where a car is left. Both drivers back to the start and then the walk begins...

This walk at 6.5 miles might be a tad too long for some to walk with children or turn into a circular although it is possible using the roads between Boxford and Great Waldingfield church. Public transport, picking up the Chambers Sudbury bound bus in Great Waldingfield and the Beestons 91 Ipswich bus in Sudbury could be considered, but long waits may be involved, so walking with friends and sharing transport may be preferred. If a car is preferable, you have a choice of parking near Great or Little Waldingfield churches as the destination for your walk. Taking the road back, on foot, doubles the length but is easy along lightly trafficked roads.
Why Boxford to Great Waldingfield? Well, the walk parallels the Box River and the way is close to its source near Little Waldingfield. The destinations, like the walk itself, are peaceful and picturesque, though sadly lacking in the opportunity for refreshment.

Leave Boxford by walking up Swan Street and follow the right pavement on to a path which leads to a field path. Turn left through a hedge gap just half way along the field and cross a road to join another field path where half way along you turn right and cross a field to pass through a hedge. Follow the path up to the top and at a T junction turn left (1) with farm buildings on your right. Turn right down steps, through the hedge and on to a short grassy track to reach a drive: cross the drive to a path ahead which crosses a field diagonally through crops. Cross this to a hedge and bridge where you turn left to houses and a road. (2) Turn left on the road and after 150m turn right on to a footpath walking with a plantation on your right. Just before the path turns right at a corner, turn left and follow the path down the field edge. At the bottom take another path off to the right down some steps, cross a meadow, turn left by a broken way post and then follow the path along field edges and then rear gardens of buildings until you get to a road.

At the road turn left, then right at the junction (3) to walk along to a footpath sign pointing across a field. Cross the field and then walk along the road directly ahead of you to turn left at a corner in front of a farm. Turn right onto a foot path after 200m and then follow this through a narrow path to reach fields where you the walk around edges or sides (keeping them on the right) until soon after crossing a small bridge (4) you turn right through a hedge and continue with hedges on your left. When you reach a lane, turn left progress 300m or so and then turn right on to a footpath which you follow through and around fields aiming for Little Waldingfield church in the distance. When you reach a road, walk up to, and just past, the church where, if you are going to Great Waldingfield church, you turn left down a narrow footpath between fences opposite the Parish Room. (5) When you reach this road you can also turn left and return to Boxford by road using the map(not to scale) to get you to point (3) and the footpath.

Follow this path between fences and hedges and after several turns arrive at a gate beside a road. Turn left away from the road and follow the path to an opening in a hedge into a field where you turn left along the field hedge following the path as it swings right and down to a bridge over a stream. This is the Box and its source is less than a mile upstream from here. Cross the bridge and turn right, walking beside the stream until you reach a track: turn left here, climbing up through woodland past some cottages onto a more permanent way to reach a hamlet with Great Waldingfield church. This can be seen on the right from the red phone box at the junction (6). The road to your left, if you follow the signs, leads back to Boxford via the footpath at point (3). Those of you who have researched the Chambers and Beestons timetables and think it possible to get back to Boxford, walk just past the church to access a footpath which you follow, without leaving, to join a road at a bend where you immediately turn right to walk through a housing estate to a crossroads. Go directly across the crossroad and 200m on the right is the Sudbury bound Chambers bus stop.

Nicholas Bristow