Appox 9.7 Miles

Hadleigh is a fine small country town still embodying the features and character of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries when it was, no doubt, a destination for many Boxford inhabitants. Like Boxford, the centre of Hadleigh is full of interesting houses and well worth a walk. Fortunately, the footpaths still exist that were used to link the two places. The many stiles on this walk are a reminder of another feature of a bygone Suffolk- the presence of animals in the fields.

To make a round trip allow approximately four hours walking and about eight miles for the complete walk. You can also walk one way -out from Boxford, or back from Hadleigh, using the 91 service on any day bar Sunday. Check the timetable next to the lock-up in Broad Street, Boxford, to plan your walk.

1-Leaving Boxford, walk along Broad Street with the Fleece on your left past the garage. After the garage turn left into Clubs Lane and continue ahead, crossing a narrow roadway where the path veers to the right between fences, until you can turn right up a path beside a brook to get to a road. At the road turn right and then immediately left onto a path which you follow below a field edge, with the brook and houses on your left until you have passed through a small spinney and reached a field. (The path can be wet along this stretch)

2-Here you turn left then follow the path round and up the slope on a track until you continue past fences on your left to a T junction. Turn right along a bridleway here and follow the path ahead through trees with buildings on your right until you join a drive.

3-Continue down this drive until at its end you cross one road and then immediately another (the busy A1071) to a path beside a gate opposite. You now follow this path along field edges, crossing a lane, continuing ahead, crossing fields and over a small bridge until you reach a road where you turn left.

4-Walk approximately 200m until you can turn right over a footbridge onto a footpath which you follow to a field. Continue, and after a while you will see a path leading left across the field. Take this path over the field towards a distant house and over a bridge into another field. Walk along the hedge until you can turn right onto a road by the house. Walk up the road to a farm beside a junction; bear left, along the road towards the A1071 in the distance. Well before reaching it take a footpath on the right. You will now follow a well marked and used path across fields and along field edges including crossing a footbridge through a hedge until you come to a lane with a house next to a pond. Turn right and then almost immediately left into a field.

5- Now continue until you reach a broad farm track where you turn right and then left to descend into the valley down a stony drive to a farmhouse and buildings (Holbecks Park Farm).
You now have a choice: down into Hadleigh for refreshments; into Hadleigh for the bus or back to Boxford from this point. If going into Hadleigh, walk down the farm drive cross over the junction at the bottom, cross the road bridge ahead of you and go along the road (Duke Street) until a left takes you into Hadleigh centre.

Hadleigh back to Boxford.

If you are only walking the return from Hadleigh you will get off the 91 bus in Hadleigh by the Magdalen Road Car Park behind the Co-op and cross the road to walk down the passageway by the Co-op or by Partridges to get to the High Street. Turn Left, and walk down the High Street, crossing where you can, until you come to Duke Street on your right. Go down Duke Street until you cross a bridge over the River Brett just before a junction: ahead of you on the corner is a house and to its right is a concrete driveway. Walk up this driveway then bear right and ignore a cattle grid and entrance to walk up to Holbecks Park Farm. You have now reached the point where you had some choices and you now turn left in front of the farm into the field and follow the directions from 6
If you are not going into Hadleigh you turn right at the farm buildings to follow these directions...

Back from Holbecks Park Farm
6-Opposite the end of the buildings there is a gate into a field: a path crosses this field at a diagonal and rises to stile in the distance. Walk to the hedge, climb the stile, turn left into a lane and then right onto a field path. Follow this path along hedges until a left turn around a field brings you to a stile in the corner of a field. Crossing the stile you will descend into a narrow valley with a short descent followed by a brisk climb and a walk to a hedge gap, keeping the coppice on your left.

7-Once through the hedge follow the path, crossing a lane to continue with a hedgerow on your left to turn right at a field corner onto a stretch of newly restored footpath. Turn left at the end of this section of path and walk on to reach the road where you turn left again. After about 200m, turn right onto a footpath which you follow over fields, over a small bridge through a hedge. You then cross a lane and follow the path around field edges until you can turn left for a short walk to a gate beside the A1071.

8-Cross the road carefully here and walk up the drive ahead until you see a footpath, and sign, to your right. Continue on the path to a junction of paths and take the grassy bridle path to your left beside a stretch of fencing. Continue along, leaving the fenced enclosures, the grassy surface and travel down the valley until at the bottom corner you turn left, and then right, along a path that can be muddy at times. Walk along this path until you reach houses and a road. Cross the road to a footpath, between fences, which you continue following, always ahead, untilyou reach a busy road where you turn right back to the centre of Boxford.

Nicholas Bristow