Week 1 – A great start!

First week of a new year.

First week (or part of a week at least!) back in school.

First week to walk some miles towards the #walk1000miles challenge.

First year I plan to do the 1000 miles ‘boots on’.

After my first walk of the year in Essex on Monday (4.02 miles), on Tuesday I managed a walk around Ickworth garden and woodland. It is our local National Trust property and a favourite place for quickly ‘blowing off the cobwebs’.

I had made an early morning trip to Heathrow to drop off our son and when I met my friend for our walk it was raining heavily. So we did what any sensible person would do – went and had tea in the cafe first. It was a fairly quiet day so we were able to spend much longer over our conversation in the warmth of the tea room. By the time we left, the rain had slowed to a few light spots and we enjoyed Lady Albana’s Walk through the trees. (3.05 miles)

On Wednesday I was back at school and so for the next three evenings I went back to walking around the pavements of our estate with my husband in what we call our ‘midnight rambles’. Although it can be a bit cold and windy in places, the fresh air on my face definitely helps me to sleep better and stops me from being a couch potato – after all I have to reach my 10,000 steps per day! (1.9, 0.97 & 2.2 miles)

On Saturday we decided to use our Christmas present – Suffolk: 40 Coast and Country Walks by Darren Flint & Donald Greig. This is a lovely pocket-sized book which took us on a 5-mile circuit around Pin Mill on the banks of the River Orwell near Ipswich.

The Orwell Bridge near Ipswich

We have avoided Pin Mill in the summer because it get so busy, but by using the free parking in Chelmondiston we were able to join the circuit part way around it. Unfortunately we were unable to find an indoor seat at the Butt and Oyster pub in Pin Mill

Butt and Oyster pub at Pin Mill

and as it started to rain we decided to avoid the tables outside.

The beauty of this walk was the wide variety of terrain – village, farmland and parkland,

Woolverstone Church


and woodland

and we eventually managed a drink in the Red Lion pub at Chelmondiston,

A refreshing end to the walk!

so all was not lost! We will definitely go back again later in the year. (5.22 miles)

Sunday was another walk around Ickworth Park. It was rather muddy underfoot in places alongside the river, but on a cold and sunny winter afternoon, it was the perfect place to be. (3.42 miles)

I’m happy with my new year start and I am determined to get fitter, walk with more friends and see new places, both in Suffolk and in other counties. Will you join me?

Total week 1 = 20.78 miles

To reach 1000 miles target = 979.22 miles

2018 – A New Challenge

So it seems that 2017 was a year of not posting (oh dear!) about any of my walks. However, I not only did lots of walking, but I set myself a new target, which I have mostly kept to since 1st June 2017.

I have been following the #walk1000miles challenge for the past three years and when I totalled up the complete mileage for 2017 I found that I completed 1774.35 miles, so I had more than completed the 1000 miles. However much of this was during my normal daily activities, especially in the classroom, so this year I have decided to complete the challenge ‘boots on’ and will only track the exercise miles towards the total.

2018 Pledge

This will include the nightly walks with my husband on our ‘midnight rambles’ around the local pavements as well as walks like the one I completed today with my roommate from university

Along the Essex Way near Fordham

We have been friends for a very long time, so who better to start the year with after completing last year with a walk around Rougham airfield with my husband?

Rougham Airfield

And the target? Completing my 10,000 steps every day. There were only three days I didn’t manage in the 7 months from the beginning of June to the end of December and I plan to make sure that I keep up this target throughout 2018.

So do you fancy joining me? 1000 miles in a year is only an average 2.74 miles per day. Or, like The Proclaimers, you can walk 500 miles (then walk 500 more if you feel like it!).

I would love your company this year and do let me know in the comments if you will be joining me!

Walks around Nowton Park


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.


Snowdrops in Nowton Park


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

Walking with Friends

Panoramic view

Suffolk Panorama near Ixworth

This blog is deliberately named 1000 Miles with Friends as I decided that I wanted this challenge to not only be about walking the 1000 miles, but also about the enjoyment of being with friends as I walk.

So far I have walked with my husband and by myself (listening to a new ‘friend’ in Clare Balding’s “Ramblings” podcasts on BBC Radio 4).

As this is half term week I decided to take advantage of the holiday to go out for a walk with a fellow teacher. We have done a few short evening walks previously and I asked my friend where she wanted to go. She has a copy of an AA book of walks and suggested a route from that book which went from the village of Ixworth past two different types of mill, one is noticeable from the A143 which passes it.

Ixworth Walk Details.

Ixworth Walk Details.

So armed with OS Explorer maps 229 and 211 (guess what – we were on the edge of the two maps again!) and the route guide, we set off on a beautiful morning from the village hall carpark in Ixworth (932703).

Due to the heavy rain we had experienced earlier in the week, the footpath alongside the fields was incredibly muddy and it feel like we were walking on soft sand. We met a few dog walkers, but as we moved further from the village there were just the two of us in a rural landscape.

Ixworth walk.

Ixworth walk.

After we turned south to cross the A143 the first of two mills, Pakenham windmill is perched on the opposite hill. This mill was built in 1831 and is Grade II listed. Restored in 2000, it is in working order and although we did not go inside on this occasion, it is somewhere to go back and visit, along with Pakenham Water Mill, which is only a short distance away.

Pakenham Windmill.

Pakenham Windmill.

Pakenham Water Mill.

Pakenham Water Mill.

The parish of Pakenham is unique in Britain in having both a working watermill and a working windmill. The 18th century watermill, the last working watermill in Suffolk and now owned by the Suffolk Building Preservation Trust, is on a Domesday site.

One sight to make us smile was the collection of topiary, a giant spider, the Pied Piper and crocodiles and rhinoceros beside the mill pond.

Topiary Spider.

Topiary Spider.

African Waterhole Topiary!

African Waterhole Topiary!

A little further on from the mill we found the hide at Micklemere a small wetland reserve run by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Mickelmere Wetlands.

Mickelmere Wetlands.

We spent ashort while here enjoying the sight of the birds feeding at the edge of the water and then swooping in flocks as they were disturbed.

Waterfowl at Mickelmere.

Waterfowl at Mickelmere.

Mickelsmere from the Hide.

Mickelsmere from the Hide.

I think I need to ask for a small set of binoculars for my birthday next month so that I can go back to this wonderfully tranquil spot to watch and identify the birds.

We walked back into the village of Ixworth and after removing our boots, went for a spot of lunch at the Coffee House, the second shop opened last summer by the owners of my local Coffee House. I would definitely recommend both of their establishments having tested them both!

Today’s walk: 5.26 miles

Walk total this year: 33.47 miles

Overall total daily mileage: 169.32 miles

Getting going

I set myself the challenge for the New Year to #walk1000miles. If you break it down that’s just over two and a half miles per day and I knew that I could do that.

The problem comes when finding the time to blog about it and here I admit to not doing it straight away and suddenly two weeks have gone by.

Today was a beautiful winter’s day – with flurries of snow earlier in the morning. By the afternoon the sun had been out for several hours and the skies were a sparkling blue.

Just right for a crisp walk around Ickworth Park – our local National Trust property. Less than five miles away and free for us to visit as National Trust members, we knew that we would have a refreshing and picturesque walk.

Winter Trees

Winter Trees

Winter Trees

Winter Trees

The winter trees were stunning against the sky with bunches of mistletoe obvious in the bare branches.

Mistletoe in the winter tree

Mistletoe in the winter tree

Although the going underfoot was a little muddy as we walked alongside the River Linnett, the puddles still contained ice.

Icy Puddles

Icy Puddles

As we reached the top of the hill the sun was setting behind the outlines of the trees giving a stunning vista before we returned to the car park.

Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset

Then home to a warm house and a hot cup of tea. We have so much to be thankful for!

Bridge over the River Linnet

Bridge over the River Linnet

Today’s walk: 3.04 miles

Walk total this year: 17.12 miles

Overall total daily mileage: 68.65 miles
(This surprised me – just how far I walk throughout the day!)