Walk 14 – Longer circuit of Stansfield and Denston
Walk by Roger Medley
This 7 kilometre circuit (4.5 miles) will take about 2 hours at normal pace. The route goes along each side of the River Glem valley giving good views in most directions and passes one of the Landmark properties.
The Landmark Trust is a building preservation charity that rescues historic buildings and gives them new life as places to stay in and experience. Properties include mills, castles, gatehouses, follies and towers. This particular example is a medieval manor house parts of which go back to 1250. This time of the year it is likely to be occupied but is still worth admiring from a distance. The publicity blurb describes the site of the building, Purton Green, as ‘one of the lost villages of Suffolk’.
ROUTE » Park at Denston village hall. Return to the road, turn right across the bridge and right again through Lower Green. Soon after the Gospel Hall you will spot a footpath sign pointing up a bank to the right. Take the left-most of the two options and head towards, and pass, two sycamore trees in the open meadow.
You will find a second kissing gate hidden in the far hedge. This returns you to the road where another right turn is needed. Having reached the corner climb a new stile and continue ahead up a farm track with a hedge on the right. At the crossroad of tracks at the top turn left in front of a wood and head down and up a dip until you reach a T-junction track.
Go straight across under the shade of an ash tree to take an unsigned (from this end) footpath which meanders through a small copse to reach a road. This can be quite overgrown in the active growing season but was clear(ish) in mid August. Continue ahead on a quiet country road through the pleasant hamlet of Assington Green.
Soon after the road junction, and opposite the entrance to Aspen House, take the footpath on the left. This accompanies a hedge and a steadily expanding ditch on the right (almost a ravine towards the bottom). On reaching a small wood follow the waymarked footpath across a sleeper bridge and over a stile into a riverside meadow. Occasionally there is a suckler herd, complete with bull, in this area but the cattle have never shown any interest on the several occasions that we’ve passed by.
The official view is that a beef bull running with cows, as in this instance, should be perfectly safe on a footpath but this is not the case with a dairy bull. Cross the baby River Glem and head for the stile in the corner on the right. All of this section is clearly waymarked. Once over the stile turn left and head uphill. The path disappears through a mature hedge and you should do likewise.
Go up the steps and through several gates and beside the stables at the end. The official right of way continues across the drive, through the churchyard opposite and turns left on reaching the road. If you are fortunate enough to find someone mucking out they will probably give you permission to turn left down the farm drive. This cuts out a short section of uphill road walking.
If in luck take the drive and cross the road at the bottom: if out of luck follow the road uphill and turn left at the top, and then turn right. In either case you will follow the footpath sign (and power cables) down the drive to a white cottage (Purton Ford Cottage). There is a ford at the bottom but also a footbridge on the right. Continue in the same direction past a house and along a field edge path.
At the top caution is needed particularly if your attention is drawn to the Landmark building on the right. Swing sharply round to the left then take the right fork in front of a large dead tree (waymark). Another track joins you from the left and within 25 paces you should swing to the left (this waymark is easily missed). Follow this vehicle track around the edge of the field (left, then right in the corner) into the next field.
Cross a bridge in the valley bottom and wind your way up the other side to reach Clopton bungalows. Turn left at the letter box and walk uphill past what used to be a line of farm labourers’ cottages, but no longer.
Pass a wood and go over the brow of the hill. After a short while turn right in front of a post and rail fence (waymark). Follow the field edge round to the left, skirting a small wood, and turn right again (waymark) in front of the first hedge facing you. Walk along the level for a change and at the end of this length of hedge you will find a gap.
Go left (the waymark on first sighting appears to point straight on) and accompany the hedge on the right downhill. In the corner, on the right, is the exit. Take this and turn left to reach the road. You should now recognise the village hall and car park to your left.
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.