On a warm, overcast Saturday morning, IOG members met at the recreation ground in School Street, Stoke-by-Nayland for a 10.5 mile countryside adventure, led by Sarah and Simon who had walked the route last summer.
The beginning of the walk took us past St Mary’s Church and through the village – where a profusion of hollyhocks, ablaze in coloured columns, adorned the footpaths and gardens.
Having departed Stoke-by-Nayland, we walked a small section of the Stour Valley Path before passing through Withermarsh Green and Polstead – where we stopped for a rest and a group photograph on the green. Along the route, we encountered quite a number of young people who, maps in hand, were diligently pursuing their Duke Of Edinburgh’s Awards.
For the first half of the walk, the rain was an intermittent light drizzle, which saw wet gear donned and doffed a few times. However, by the time we stopped for lunch in a high meadow, the sun had made a welcome appearance, and stayed with us for almost the remainder of the walk.
The wet weather of past weeks has certainly encouraged ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower’ – to the extent that an abundance of recent growth was in evidence everywhere; not only in the fields of ripening crops, but also along the trail. We encountered poppies, marigolds, honeysuckle, daisies, cow parsley above head height, and others too numerous to mention.
We completed our journey’s end with a welcome drink at the salubrious (but expensive) Crown pub & restaurant in Stoke-by-Nayland.
Text and pics contributed by Patrick Meehan.
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