Contributed by Hazel Edgar
Twelve IOG members met up at The Chequers in Great Blakenham for an evening stroll on Friday. After some gentle persuasion we left the pub and headed off on our walk which began with a detour through the new housing estate on the site of the old cement works. This was a last minute diversion from my planned route due to overgrown verges and road work signs blocking the way, but it was nice to have a nose at what was there.
Once the housing estate was negotiated, we started along a track between the industrial estate and the recycling/landfill site. We didn’t make it as far and the old chalk pits which is actually quite a site to see (another time maybe) as our route cut off into a small wooded area. We then came out onto a track past Cottage Farm, which I have since discovered is actually part of Blakenham Woodland Gardens (www.blakenhamwoodlandgarden.org.uk).
From here we headed off over fields towards the main road, where we stopped to forage for blackberries (there had to be some food involved somewhere on my walk as someone joked later!). We then crossed the road and headed back into the fields, chatting to some horses on the way and seeing a small bush covered in caterpillars (sorry Nick, I can’t remember what they were called).
After safely crossing the railway line, we made our way across the fields to the river path, with the Energy from Waste plant in our sights. The route took us through quite overgrown hedgerows, under the main road, and under a fallen tree at one point, but we safely made it to the road bridge between Great Blakenham and Claydon and on to the fishing lakes at Barham Pits where there were a few fishermen about .
We then crossed back over the river, went under the railway line and carried on alongside the river back into Great Blakenham, through the churchyard and back to The Chequers for well-deserved refreshments.
This was the first time I have arranged a walk with the group and all seemed to go well; maybe I’ll do another one in the future.