Story contributed by Glen; pics by Christina.
Gloomy skies and insistent rain forecasts failed to deter 22 hardy souls from turning out at Monks Eleigh for the start of a Brett Valley stroll, including two ladies making their IOG walk debuts – welcome to Sofia and Heather. It was pleasing that rain held off for a couple of hours.
Walking is renowned for improving one’s mental health but several people commented on the loopiness of the route as we got very familiar with hidden paths as we crisscrossed around Monks Eleigh and Chelsworth. By the time we reached Bildeston some participants had gone utterly nutty with enthusiastic gathering of fallen walnuts beneath our feet. It’s not just members who come out of their shells on our rambles!
Prior to this, in the gently undulating Chelsworth hinterland we safely negotiated our passage past a flock of sheep and bramble-arched path and through a horse grazing field surrounded by an electric fence. The buzz of conversation was undeterred.
We said goodbye to 7 people partaking in the 5.5 mile option before a near-perfectly timed lunch stop in the excellent covered-seating facility within Chelsworth Woodland while the heaviest spell of rain fell. A few people walked (perhaps strutted would be a more apt alternative!) to the Peacock pub drink option instead but managed to bring back 3 extra human participants and two canines for the second instalment of the overall circa 11 miles full walk.
Fortunately the weather gods decided to smile upon the second part of the stroll and rain disappeared, though it did leave us with a mud legacy from a wander down the hill away from Bildeston’s curiously towered hilltop church.
A dignified tea shop stop at the end of the day at Bridge Farm Barns was notable for impressive cake slices. The member who proudly showed us a photo of her own stunning home-made, three-tiered Victoria Sponge was warmly encouraged on a future walk to substitute the image with the real thing!