Walk 13 – Moulton
Walk by Roger Medley
Cross the flint bridges of Moulton
Moulton boasts a four-arched 15th Century Packhorse bridge which spans the River Linnet. Built of flint and stone it is narrow and the parapets are intentionally low to allow goods, such as corn, cloth, poultry, fish, salt and hops, to overhang. The bridge was on a major route between Bury and Cambridge. Pack horse trains could number up to 50 animals and were the main long-distance transport in this part of the country up to the 18th century.
The walk includes both this bridge (the climb is surprisingly steep) and an easier pedestrian version just along the river.
The whole circuit, shown on OS Explorer Map 210 Newmarket & Haverhill, will take two hours without stopping. Start with a flat section alongside the river, which is often hidden, climb the hill to Gazeley, then travel along a ridge before dropping back to Moulton. Seats can be found half way round in Gazeley and just above Moulton church.
Moulton Village Stores is open every weekday until 5.30pm and Saturday until 12.30 and offers tea, coffee and fresh bakery items.
Park in the village hall car park. This is not the largest car park in Suffolk and if you are unlucky enough to clash with a hall function there is an alternative area just below the church. Let’s assume that you are in luck.
Go through the gate to the right of the Hall into the playing fields. Bear half left, avoiding the swings, and go through another gate to leave the recreation area. Continue ahead to follow the track beside attractive cottages until reaching the river (more of a brook really). Turn right and accompany the water until reaching the second bridge, an old flint pedestrian version. Cross this and then follow the river which is now on your right. Pass the ford, the gate to the church and continue in the same direction into a wooded area.
Follow the path along the edge of a field into another wooded area. Soon after passing Gazeley water treatment works you will reach a road. Turn left and walk uphill. Eventually you will reach the safety of the pavement leading into Gazeley. Pass the ‘Chequers’ and head into the churchyard. Follow the path that leads left of the church through a kissing gate (without a gate) and find a waymarked footpath leading between hedges and through gates. The path leads out to the open and soon joins the Gazeley to Moulton road at a bend. Veer left and shortly start going downhill. There is really only one place where you are likely to go wrong on this circuit and this is it. Where the electricity lines cross the road look for a partially hidden footpath sign and stile on the left. Climb this and follow the path leading half right to another stile in the distance. Cross the second stile, and maybe make use of the seat on the left to appreciate the views across the valley, and continue in much the same direction. Enter a small wood via another stile and go steeply downhill in a tunnel of greenery. When the church comes into view and instead of climbing the next stile turn right and follow the narrow path along the edge of a horse paddock. This leads across rough concrete, past a new house, and through a stable area where you are faced with a solid wooden fence. If the main gates are closed there is a small pedestrian gate to the left. Continue to the road. Turn left and continue downhill to the packhorse bridge. Having admired this carry on along the road passing the ‘The Packhorse Inn’ (01638 751818) to return to the car park.
The side door of the lofty, light and spacious St Peter’s church is sometimes unlocked; if not the key holders can be found nearby.
and again August 2018
The Wickhambrook W.I. Walking Group meets every Wednesday morning at 10am starting from the MSC car park for walks in the village or slightly further afield. We walk for about two hours and cover about five miles, depending on how much chatting is taking place. There are usually six of us, although we have had a dozen occasionally, dogs are welcome too.