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 will take two hours without stopping and starts with a flat section alongside the river, which is often hidden, climbs up the hill to Gazeley, then travels along a ridge before dropping back to Moulton. Refreshments and seats can be found half way round in Gazeley.
ROUTE : 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 recreation area. Bear half left and go through another gate to leave the recreation area. Continue ahead to follow the track beside attractive cottages until reaching the river. Turn right and accompany the river 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 through a small wood, along the edge of a field, to eventually find a track which passes the water treatment works.
Regular readers will know that sewage farms are compulsory on my walks. Continue in the same direction until just before reaching the road. You must turn left but you have a choice of terrain. The locals, both on foot and on horse, seem to prefer to follow the headland of the field uphill.
The alternative, for the more adventurous, is to take a narrow path which meanders through the ribbon of wood between the field and the road. If you tackle this at the right time of year – March/April – you may spot some of the biggest violets in the area. This path eventually joins the headland track at the same place as a narrow strip of woodland coming in from the left.
Continue uphill until you have to turn right to reach the road. There is an electricity pole on the left. Turn left heading for the safety of the pavement leading into Gazeley. Pass, or stop, at the ‘Chequers’ (open at midday everyday but only serves food from Wednesday to Sunday) then 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 a stud farm.
This section and that leading out of Moulton would be much more relaxing if a few non compliant dog owners joined the majority and cleaned up after their pets. The path joins the Gazeley to Moulton road at a bend. Continue straight ahead and soon start going downhill. There is really only one place where you are likely to go wrong on this circuit and this is it.
Just after the second electricity pole on the right you need to 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 this, taking in the views across the valley. 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 and through a stable area to reach the road. Turn left and continue downhill to the packhorse bridge. Having admired this carry on along the road for a few minutes to reach the car park.
If these notes are confusing or inaccurate or the information is wrong, please let me know. If they are helpful, or if you have any other comments, likewise.
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.