Sylvan Suffolk scenery shimmering sublimely on a stunning sun-splashed Sunday was enjoyed by eighteen two-legged participants and one four-legged companion on 15th October. (For alliteration purposes, shame it wasn’t September and seventeen participants but never mind!)
The centre of Saxmundham with no Sunday parking charges was a good place to begin a stroll which proceeded in a south-westerly direction out of town before crossing the A12 and negotiating a right of way across a large field. How thoughtful of the farmer to ensure his ploughing between the recce and the day of the walk removed any discernible trace of the footpath, but fortunately the very dry conditions underfoot eased the process for us.
Upon passing the church in Benhall parish, David and Julian ventured briefly inside and apparently had free cakes thrust upon them by some grateful ladies within, probably pleased to see signs of life from outside their hamlet. (Note to self – if getting hungry on a walk and low on food, take a peek inside a convenient rural church, the odd scone or cupcake potentially on offer would represent a very acceptable divine intervention.)
The amazing warmth of the mid-October sun without a cloud in the sky meant that some were glad to seek shade when we stopped for packed lunch before a drink stop at the Crown Inn at Great Glemham where it was surely highly unusual for the pub garden to be seeing so much use at this time of year.
Great Glemham was the most westerly point on the walk and so, on departure, we headed briefly north then eastwards back towards Saxmundham via a different route, crossing over the River Alde and disturbing increasing numbers of pheasants and partridges further along the way. The coolness of weaving through Dodd’s Wood was a quite welcome shady interlude.
Rarely will an autumn walk enjoy such beautiful weather. Eighteen people and a dog appeared to head home afterwards in uplifted moods. They spared a thought, however, for unfortunate Cleola and any other people potentially aiming to join us who had commendably chosen the train public transport option to get to Saxmundham, only to be prevented from doing so by the train striking a car at Woodbridge. Hope that she and any others made good use of the great outdoors elsewhere instead.