Category Archives: LIVING WITH COVID-19

A Day in the Lock-down Lives of the Ipswich Indoor Group

Social distancing and isolation are very real challenges for all of us – particularly for those whose lives are all about outdoor activity, those who live alone (and there are many of us in the IOG) and those who don’t have strong social media networks. With the goal of maintaining the rewarding social contact so many of us have found in the IOG whilst the group’s outdoor activities remain suspended, we have started this new “Living with COVID-19” newsletter category to welcome photo essays on how we are all spending our days: the funny, the sad, the ridiculous, the achievements of life under COVID-19.

To be clear, all Living with COVID-19 newsletter posts on this website, which will also be linked from the group’s public Facebook page, are NOT from official IOG activities, and should be viewed as reports from our friends within the group making the most of their own private walks, abiding by the relevant coronavirus guidance. They are intended as a diversion for readers, whilst the IOG’s outdoor activities remain suspended.

As editor of our Newsletter, I feel it incumbent upon me to kick off with a pictorial essay on my own meander through another day in lock down, and look forward seeing and hearing about the range of ways we are all muddling through – ‘too busy’ excuses will be met with laughter.

Please send your entries to me at .

Three Walks starting from Adastral Park

Text and pics contributed by Paul J.

My group at work try to arrange some kind of social activity every now and then. There was only one idea which seemed possible with the restrictions in force just before Lockdown Two: some kind of walk. The charity CALM (Campaign against living miserably) was prompting sponsored walks and so that was selected as a motivator. Their cancelled main event had distances of 10.3 and 13 miles and so we stuck with those and timed it so that people could do them in any combination. Of course at that time the maximum group size was six and so we couldn’t really have a walk leader. As a substitute I supplied each group with a full set of GPX files and turn-by-turn instructions and included notes of local interest.

We had a successful day walking the three routes which all start and finish near Adastral Park in Martlesham. Highlights were spotting two macaws being exercised and the evening light bathing the riverside at Waldringfield.
All of this has some relevance to IOG as I now have these tested route plans available for anyone in the group who wants to use them privately. Just let me know if you want a copy or would like me to walk it. Even better – you could use them as an easy way to lead a walk for the group once restrictions allow, in which case I’ll help in any way I can.


Text and pics contributed by Joyce

The weather was kind on Sunday, as 6 of us enjoyed a walk offered by Sarah and Simon.

Somersham was a new area to me so I was particularly interested in the views, churches and countryside.

The walk was around 12 miles long with our lunch stop at the very small hamlet of Greenstreet Green, Great Bricett.

We also brushed by Willisham, Offton and Elmsett.

Thank you for a great ‘autumn’ day out everyone.


Glen’s Ardleigh Acquaintances – Sunday 20th September

Text contributed by Christina, pictures by Karen

It truly felt like an Indian Summer day when 5 of us joined Glen on a pleasant Sunday stroll near Ardleigh Reservoir, an affluent and green area with picturesque cottages and grand country houses not too far from Colchester. Karen travelled 1.45  hours from Peterborough to meet some friends from IOG at the starting point, a free car park in Ardleigh.

Salary Brook which led through  a dense woodland area proved a magic spot to take some pictures, and where we enjoyed the peace and the light reflections in the clear water. An onion field which had been recently harvested proved irresistible to me.  I was happy to carry my load of onions which had been missed by the machine.

Glen had forewarned people that there would be a boring stretch of walking across a field and along a road at the end of the walk. Nobody seemed to take any notice where we were walking, though – we were all competing in a quiz around naming countries starting with letters of the alphabet. The two lucky winners were Phil and Sally which caused Glen to invite everyone for a drink at the Wooden Fender, where we were comfortably seated in their extensive garden area. I thought their Sunday roast looked absolutely delicious! The dozens of  wasps probably thought the same, they were causing real distress to the numerous diners around us.

Another interesting and varied  walk by Glen to be remembered.


Glen’s Brainy Bishops walk – Sunday 23rd August

Text and pics contributed by Christina
Five and a dog went off on this walk, starting from Witham, Essex. We crossed a posh golf course – beware of flying golf balls – whilst enjoying a long stretch along the River Blackwater.

At the outskirts of Witham we came across the Wickham Bishops Trestle Viaduct – really interesting since it is the last surviving timber trestle railway bridge in England and it is well preserved. It comprises two adjoining viaducts, one crossing the River Blackwater, the second the Wickham Mill leat. The structures were part of the Braintree to Maldon branch line, built to carry freight and passengers inland from the port at Maldon.

In good IOG fashion we ended the walk at the Railway Inn at Witham Station where we enjoyed a well deserved drink in their pub garden having walked 11.4 long miles that day. A big thank you to Glen for organising this lovely and varied walk. 😀

Stoke by Nayland walk – Sunday 23rd August

Text and pics contributed by Angela

Polstead church

Thanks to Sarah for organising this 10-mile day walk around Stoke by Nayland and Polstead. The weather was kind to us as we explored this picturesque part of Suffolk near the Essex border.  We weren’t alone as we passed a group of horse riders near Polstead on an organised ride. Final stop for us was the Crown in Stoke by Nayland for a pleasant drink in the beer garden before returning to Ipswich.

Rest break at Polstead village green


Hasketon, Boulge and Bredfield walk – Saturday 15th August

Text and pictures submitted by Christina

Five of us joined Glen on Sunday for a scenic and very rural walk of around 9 miles in the Bredfield and Boulge area, starting from Hasketon. We encountered some lovely churches, not to mention some very pretty cottages and cottage gardens.

At Boulge Church, Glen set people the task to find a hidden hippo. We probably all assumed it was an ornamental figure and part of the church and /or the church walls. But no, we found it on the edge of a bird bath.

After the walk, the Turks Head at Hasketon provided a welcome venue for a social drink. People were chatting happily as we walked, and we had a great day out thanks to Glen and his careful choice of walking area and meticulous planning.

Friston and Thorpeness from Snape – Monday 10th August.

Text and pics contributed by Anni

Route map of walk – 14.2 miles.

Snape Maltings was the start for our walk on Monday 10th of August just before 10am.  Organised by Simon and Sarah, Bob and I made up the final four.  I was keen to stretch my legs beyond my regular 10-12 mile solitary weekend walks on well trusted paths, to a more convivial and longer tramp with other humans.

It was easy to observe the social distancing rules with only four of us, and with temperatures ranging from 27°C at the outset to 32°C over the course of the walk, a little distance was welcome.

Providing “music, nature, art, shops”, Snape Maltings is always a joy to visit. I love the sense of space about it.

Simon and Sarah navigated us through newly harvested fields of various cereals, grains and a short meander through a field of smiling pigs.

Following heathland and forest paths, the Sandlings Walk element of the landscape was more interesting than I anticipated, taking us via Leiston to Thorpeness (past the windmill and the House in the Sky) where we we stopped for lunch.

Parting company for an hour, my fellow-walkers opted for a post-lunch drink at The Dolphin pub watering hole, whereas with the temperatures at 32°C, I opted for a different kind of watering hole and had a swim in the sea, devouring my lunch afterwards.  Average sea temperature was hovering around 19.5°C, so a perfect day for a swim. There was a grand swell too, so lots of waves to bob about in. Given the number of people holidaying at home due to Covid, the beach was quite busy – but social distancing seemed to be priority for most, and a small reminder of what a great county Suffolk is in many ways.

So, refreshed and nourished, we walked along the beach from Thorpeness towards Aldeburgh and turned inland after a short time to meet the Sailor’s Path (part of the Suffolk Coast Path) to return to Snape for a pint of soda at the Plough and Sail.

The final distance as per OS maps totalled 14.2 miles.  A great day out, at a fairly brisk pace (despite the heat), and a recommended route for interesting land and seascapes.  If you’re walking it before the end of summer, do throw your swimming togs in  – just in case.


Glen’s West Suffolk Walk – Sunday 9th August

Text and pics contributed by Christina

Braving high summer heat, on Sunday six of us enjoyed a truly lovely walk in West Suffolk of around 10 miles, observing social distancing rules. Here, we discovered rolling panoramas, taking in part of the River Glem valley and passing through Hawkedon, Denston and Stansfield villages. Some impressive ponds and lakes too.


Once again, Glen’s choice of area and organisation did not disappoint – we went to a lovely pub for a drink in their pub garden which offered splendid views onto more rolling panoramas.

No need to go to Spain, we have the Mediterranean heat and wide open spaces to enjoy right at our door step !🏜😀


Preston St Mary Walk – Tuesday 4th August

Text and pics contributed by Raj

We had a very enjoyable walk on Tuesday organised by Sarah and Simon from Thorpe Morieux to Preston St Mary and back. The total distance covered was 9.06 miles / 14.58 km.

We were joined by Sally and Phil who made up our group of 6 walkers. It was great to see everyone after the long break.

On the way back after lunch we came across a small safari park of African animals statues. Look out for the crocodile 😎


A day out on High Street – end of July 2020

Text and pics contributed by Lou

Route Map:

Is it really a Roman Road?

We booked a week in the Lake District just before lockdown easing was announced. Of the several family walks we did, High Street was the highest. Despite it being a linear “there and back” walk, the route very conveniently passed just by where we were staying in Troutbeck and looked on the map to be very straightforward. It was even marked ROMAN ROAD on the OS map, so surely there would be no difficult steep inclines?

We decided to do this walk on the day when the weather was due to change from wet to sunny. We would put up with some rain in the morning in the hope that the clouds would clear in the afternoon to reveal stunning views from the top.

It started very gently, with 3 miles of ambling along a very good track in the valley. Although there was low cloud hanging over the hills, we didn’t have to endure any rain. As we neared the end of the valley, the clouds were still lingering and only part of our route was in view. The good track ended and we started a steep ascent on what could no longer sensibly be described as a road. As we got higher, the cloud engulfed us and we could see neither where we were going nor where we had been. At the top of the Kentmere valley, the most direct route skirted a precipitous drop which swirled with clouds and the occasional view down to the Kentmere Reservoir far below. The clouds started lifting as we walked along the fairly flat summit plateau, also known as Racecourse Hill. No horses were in evidence, although we did meet a shepherd on a quadbike. At the summit trig point I took the usual selfie photo, but instead of stunning views in the background, all was mist and murk.

As we sat and ate our tiffin (it has become a tradition in our family to have “tiffin at the top”), the clouds started lifting and we finally got a good view of Hayeswater to the north-west. We made a slight detour on the descent to check out the large cairn atop Thornthwaite Crag, labelled “Beacon” on the OS map. It had a prominent notice warning not to sit near it as it was liable to fall over at any time. I got the kids to sit next to the notice for a photo.

The views really opened up on the way down, with the cliff-like face of Threshthwaite Crag looking rather forbidding. To the west of that is Caudale Moor, where we had made a very chilly ascent to Stony Cove Pike last year. The Kentmere Horseshoe was close by to the East with Ill Bell being the most prominent. I guess it was there on our ascent but I couldn’t see it then.

We saw some sheep being rounded up by a team of shepherds and dogs, bouncing down the steepest part of the slope to the valley below. It looked like they needed shearing.

Once down the steep part, the final 3 miles along the valley was a good cooldown, and once back at our holiday park we stopped at the pub for a well-earned pint or two.