FAVOURITE WALKS



PITCHES MOUNT

This months walk can be walked as an extension to last month's Winthrop's circle as it is a further exploration of the footpaths to the North and to the North East of Boxford and largely in the parish of Groton.

Although we are beginning the walk in Broad Street, Boxford, we have a little way to go before we reach the point where we begin the continuation. Some may want to walk Winthrop's circle first (or again) and then continue to make the complete walk which is perfectly possible and is a total of 8+ miles. The complete route has, in any case, plenty of opportunities to take short cuts: most roads you cross, if you turn right on to them, will take you back to Boxford.

Those of you who are heading out of Boxford to do the continuation only, walk past the Fleece on your left and at the corner turn left into Butchers Lane. (I don't like road walking but Butchers Lane is pleasant with little traffic). Continue walking ahead, ignoring another lane entering from the left and past houses on the left, until you reach a footpath on the left at a corner where the lane bears right and starts to rise. Follow the footpath through bushes and turn right onto a broad field path, through a hedgerow, as soon as you leave the bushes at a field corner. Keep along this path, hedge and ditch on your right, past houses, over a road until you get to a road where you turn right. Across the road a footpath comes in from Edwardstone and you may recognise it if you did the Winthrop walk. This is identified as point (1) on the Winthrop's circle map.

We now turn right on the road and then right again, within a few meters, to follow a footpath sign (set back somewhat from the road) to climb up through trees and a gate and then up some steps. Walk on to an easily crossed stile and then cross a well tended open space with a distant house on your left to another accessible stile. Once over the stile you will approach Pitches Mount which was once, together with parish churches, amongst the largest man made objects in the local environment. Not many villages can boast such a labour intensive yet discreet monument to political power and there must be a story there somewhere. Even its location I find puzzling. Perhaps its proximity to Milden and Lindsey castles, together with a scattering of moated houses around the area, are testaments to troubled times. Is it prioritising defence over production? No doubt, it's presence is an indicator of a population surplus in the local labour force that can be coerced or persuaded to contribute their labour to a non essential (that is non food producing) activity.

Back on the ground, walk around to the left of the mount until a short stretch of footpath on the left leads to a field. Entering the field turn right and follow the path, with a hedge on your right, past some defunct equestrian jumps, down to the field corner where you join a footpath on the right to pass through a hedge to walk on. Follow this broad path to reach a road which you cross to a short stretch of footpath ahead. At the field corner turn left and then immediately right to follow this footpath up out of the valley joining a road at the top. Turn left onto the road and then, after approximately 100m, turn right onto a footpath, opposite the farmyard, which you follow, hedge on your left. Where the hedge ends you cross 200m of field to a gap and sign post nearly directly opposite in the hedge. Go through the gap, turn left and walk hedge on your left, until the path passes through a gap(with no footpath sign at the moment) to join a vehicle track. Turn right, and in 150 meters you will reach a road to cross to a path diagonally opposite which is part of a concreted drive.

Proceed until a path comes in from the right between a fenced field and a mature hedge. Walk down this path until at the bottom corner you briefly turn back on yourself to then turn right onto a path which takes you back to Boxford. Following the path, you will pass through a short patch, always wet in winter, to reach a road, which you cross diagonally to a footpath, that will weave its way to a point where you can either walk back briefly down Butchers Lane or pass the beginning of the lane on your way to the start.

Nicholas Bristow

Pitches Mount