Walks around Nowton Park

Pond

Pond in Nowton Park

Nowton Park is owned by St Edmundsbury Council and covers almost 200 acres which was landscaped over 100 years ago. The park was once part of the Oakes family estate and is now a wonderful place for leisure and recreation.

It is a place we have visited many times. When the children were small they loved to run around amongst the trees and to use up their energy in the play area. As they got older our son would take part in football training on the all weather pitches. Now it is a place that I enjoy walking around with both my husband and my friends.

I have already taken a couple of rather muddy walks around the perimeter of the park, a distance of about 2 miles, but I have also walked into the park from outside, so my mileage has been increased.

The beauty of the park lies in its variety. Last week, volunteers were busy planting young trees

Planting Saplings

Planting Saplings in Nowton Park

and the sun shone beautifully on the snowdrops and some of the 100,000 daffodils which are beginning to turn the The Lime Avenue bright yellow.

Snowdrop

Snowdrops in Nowton Park

Daffodils

Daffodils in The Lime Avenue at Nowton Park

It is a place for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy. I have pushed my elderly aunt around in her wheelchair before we visited the cafe for a light lunch. On Saturday mornings there is a regular park run and I have run around the park whilst competing in the Race for Life. Although there is a small parking charge it is a great place to visit in all seasons and one that I shall continue to enjoy, with its wildlife ponds, arboretum and a maze in the summer.

Often some of the best walks are on our doorstep.

Walk: 3.42 miles

Walk total this year: 28.29 miles

Overall total daily mileage: 205.8 miles

2015 Update and a new start in 2016

BSE tower

St Edmundsbury Cathedral Tower from the East

Ok I admit it – I rather fell off the posting side of this blog after the first three months last year 🙁

However, on the brighter side I did keep on walking. Perhaps not as much as I would like to have done, but better than in previous years, so I am giving myself a pat on the back and am moving onwards and upwards in 2016.

For those who are interested:

Walk total in 2015: 1366.69 miles

Overall total exercise mileage: 192.78 miles
(though I think my Fitbit may have missed some out in July)

So overall I beat the #walk1000miles challenge by 366.69 miles.

On the exercise front I managed almost 200 miles so only 1/5 of the total, but it was a good start and I am determined to do better this year.

On that note I took my first walk of the year this afternoon. A straightforward walk around Bury St Edmunds. It was a bit of a grey day, but I spent most of the walk listening to a podcast and I even walked down a road I had never been along before. That’s what I love about getting out on foot.

I was also able to wish fellow walkers a Happy New Year and smile at many of those I met. However it saddens me to see so many people walking around with a frown on their faces, refusing to look at those they pass. I realise that some people have other things on their mind, but my additional challenge this year is to smile at and say hello to as many of the people I meet or pass on my walks as possible. A smile will always make a difference and a new year is as good a place to start as any.

Abbey Ruins

Ruins of the Benedictine St Edmunds Abbey

Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2016!

Today’s walk: 4.40 miles

Caution: This path may be slippy in wet conditions.

Lavenham Church in beautiful Suffolk Countryside.

Lavenham Church in beautiful Suffolk Countryside.

St David’s Day and a bright, sunny but windy morning. We were finally able to take a walk, suggested by a friend, along the former railway line at Lavenham.

We had hoped to take this walk last weekend, but we were unable to get out on Saturday and so had done a shorter local walk around Nowton Park. We thought that we might do the walk yesterday, but the forecast was not particularly good and the weather became wetter and more miserable as the afternoon progressed.

I’m glad that we waited until today – when I saw the state of the path after yesterday’s rain, we would have been wading through a river if we had come yesterday!

Rather muddy Lavenham Walk footpath.

Rather muddy Lavenham Walk footpath.

Lavenham is one of the best preserved medieval villages in the UK with 320 listed timber-framed buildings. Lavenham’s wealth was built on the wool trade and by 1524 it was the 14th richest town in the country. The size of its church and timber-framed buildings still bear witness to this and it is a popular tourist destination.

We parked on the side of the road

Lavenham, Suffolk.

Lavenham, Suffolk.

and walked to the bridge where there was an entrance to the old railway line.

Entrance to the Lavenham Walk.

Entrance to the Lavenham Walk.

The Great Eastern Railway line came to Lavenham in 1863 as part of the Long Melford to Bury St Edmunds branch line; it was closed to passsengers in 1961 and goods traffic in 1965.

The site of the the old Lavenham Station is now being redeveloped for housing.

Redevelopment of the old Lavenham Station site.

Redevelopment of the old Lavenham Station site.

We were very glad of waterproof boots this week (there is a story there from last week!) and the sign (even with its spelling mistake!) made me smile as someone had crossed out ‘may’ and replaced it with ‘will’.

The path WILL be slippery when wet!

The path WILL be slippery when wet!

As we were to find out, it was not just wet, but a running stream in places.

Running stream down the footpath.

Running stream down the footpath.

Running stream down the footpath.

Running stream down the footpath.

However, despite the slippery and muddy conditions, it was an enjoyable walk, sheltered from the wind by the trees and there were several benches alongside the path.

As we came to a bridge which carried a minor road over the railway we were faced with something of a dilemma – did we continue on or go up onto the road?

Approaching the bridge.

Approaching the bridge.

Water under the bridge!

Water under the bridge!

Being intrepid adventurers, we pushed on, although it required careful manoevering around the watery fence. The path became more overgrown, but was still very muddy and we considered turning back to the bridge.

Avoiding the mud and water.

Avoiding the mud and water.

I’m glad that we didn’t though, as we soon came across another pill box, also on the same Eastern Command Line of defensive structures that we had seen two weeks earlier further north at Cavenham Heath.

Pill box on the Eastern Command Line.

Pill box on the Eastern Command Line.

We also found that we were now on the St Edmund Way, an 80-mile long distance path travelling from South to North across Suffolk (this will be one to follow more of later in the year, I think).

St Edmund Way marker.

St Edmund Way marker.

This time we had to take a higher path as the main one really was more like a river and we emerged alongside a field with a broad edge used as a path. We were then able to take a harder surfaced track (thankfully with the strengthening wind at our backs) up to a farm and on to the minor road which led into Lavenham.

Track to the farm.

Track to the farm.

We had some stunning views across to the church of St Peter and St Paul.

View to Lavenham Church.

View to Lavenham Church.

The village was much busier (we had only encountered six people and two dogs during our walk), but was a pretty end to our 4.5 mile walk.

Lavenham village signpost.

Lavenham village signpost.

Church of St Peter and St Paul, Lavenham.

Church of St Peter and St Paul, Lavenham.

With several tea shops, the Swan Hotel

Swan Hotel, Lavenham.

Swan Hotel, Lavenham.

and the lovely National Trust Guildhall, Lavenham is a beautiful place to visit.

The old railway walk is beautiful too and I look forward to returning in the summer, when hopefully the conditions underfoot will be less wet and muddy!

Today’s walk: 4.5 miles

Walk total this year: 42.11 miles

Overall total daily mileage: 210.44 miles

On My Doorstep

St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

After yesterday’s rain, today’s sunshine revived my spirits and as I had to take a trip into town, I decided to walk rather than taking the car and paying for parking (though parking is free after 3pm on a Tuesday!).

Bury St Edmunds is a beautiful market town with its medieval grid of houses, a new shopping complex but also streets of independent shops, the Abbey and is named in the Telegraph as the 13th best place in the country to bring up a family. No wonder I love living here.

Safe footpaths and cycle paths lead into town and a walk through the spacious Abbey Gardens always lifts my spirirts.

Safe footpath / cyclepath into town.

Safe footpath / cyclepath into town.

Abbey Gardens - Dovecote

Abbey Gardens – The Dovecote in the Abbot’s Garden.

Walking through the varied shopping streets and up to Moyse’s Hall Museum, the oldest building in town, a former gaol and police station which has been on the market place since 1180.

Angel Hill

Angel Hill

Moyse's Hall Museum.

Moyse’s Hall Museum.

Back through the historic grid to the Norman Tower which houses the cathedral bells and down to the River Lark through No Man’s Meadows.

The Norman Tower

The Norman Tower housing the cathedral bells.

No Man's Meadows

No Man’s Meadows Local Nature Reserve.

Past the Rugby Club and alongside The Leg of Mutton field, which had been one of the vineyards for the Abbey in the 13th Century and has recently been the heated subject of possible development.

Bury Rugby Club.

Bury Rugby Club.

The Leg of Mutton field.

The Leg of Mutton field.

Almost 4 and a half miles on a bright, sunny afternoon. What better way to spend some time recharging my batteries during half term?

Today’s walk: 4.44 miles

Walk total this year: 28.21 miles

Overall total daily mileage: 161.97 miles