Royal Connections: a circular stroll around the villages of Brandeston and Earl Soham

Written by  //  November 5, 2015  //  Upcoming Events  //  No comments

aboutfram walk

This lovely circular walk links two of the prettiest villages in the Deben Valley; Brandeston and Earl Soham, and passes both ‘The Queen’ and ‘The Victoria’ pubs, as well as meandering through (Royal St.) Cretingham Golf Course, so there are plenty of watering holes along the way.

We start in Brandeston and set off in our usual formation; Dads striding out front, then gossiping girls, mums laden with bags, cameras and dogs, and finally, bringing up the rear – the teenagers! Heading up the street, with its pretty row of thatched cottages, we turn right at Mill Lane and after running out of tarmac take a wide, well-trodden path that twists its way along the edge of freshly ploughed farmland. At a sharp corner we re-group next to a vast and heavily laden blackberry thicket, and after an autumnal feast that leaves us with ghoulish lips, turn right and follow the path under some striding pylons. Trying to keep pace with the hoof prints that have been cemented into the mud, we gallop to the end and instead of going round to the right, go through the gateway and bear left.

By the side of a wooded copse, a gap in the hedgerow funnels us into single file and after circumnavigating a drilled field, we reach a plank that drops us onto a narrow lane. Turning left we soon spy the tower of Earl Soham church, already clad in its red coat of creepers, and at the T-junction go left again and walk up through the village. Passing John Hutton Butchers – shut, much to the children’s disappointment who were hoping for a free sausage – we round the corner to the welcome sight of The Victoria. Picking up the pace we are soon sat outside with a round of drinks, and an hour later our empty plates tell their own story.

As the sun starts to slide into late afternoon we retrace our steps to Huttons and join a footpath that runs along the side of the tennis court. After passing some paddocks we come to a wood that is littered its fruits of autumn, and childishly kick conkers through the russet leaves. Beneath an oak tree the map is consulted before we cross an open field to the reassuring footpath sign on the other side, and then hug the hedge until we reach the road. Opposite an overgrown style emerges into a lush meadow that is bathed in the soft glow of the afternoon sun, and the grass, still damp even at this hour, darkens our boots.

Following the path along the edge of a grassy stubble field we then skirt around a moated farmhouse before traversing another field to a hole in the hedge. Incongruous wooden steps bring us out onto the fairway of Cretingham GC and, keeping an eye out for golfers, we walk back to the 1st Tee where an impromptu game of Roly Poly ensues. A gentle path leads us through the course to a footbridge and up across a meadow to another style that spills us out onto the Brandeston Road. Sensing the finishing line and last orders at The Queen, the dads lengthen their stride whilst the mums, who have abandoned the kids to the distractions of a stray golf ball, move up to second place.

www.earlsohamvictoria.co.uk
www.thequeenatbrandeston.co.uk
www.cretinghamgolfclub.co.uk

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