Walk 19 – around the Thurlows and Little Bradley
Walk by Roger Medley
This 3.7 mile circuit runs from Great Thurlow to Little Bradley and back alongside the River Stour. There is a choice of routes for the last half mile but these directions give the ‘high street’ alternative which takes in several interesting buildings such as the Olde School built in 1614 by Sir Stephen Soame (one time Lord Mayor of London) to provide free education to sons of local farmers who were taught ‘English, Latin and Ciphering ’(arithmetic). The Ordnance Survey map covering this area is Explorer 210 Newmarket & Haverhill. Target walking time is between 90 and 100 minutes.
Park at Great Thurlow recreation ground which can be found south of the village on B1061 Haverhill to Newmarket road. Find your way to the far side of the tennis courts and then take the track that runs between the courts and an old wooden shed. This leads to the road. Turn right and go over the bridge and after passing pink Bridge Cottage take a footpath on the left. Go through the lower edge of the cemetery following the waymarks, cross one small paddock (this may contain cattle) a field, and enter a wooded area. In wet weather this next short stretch can be muddy so appropriate footwear is advised. Walk beside the river, ignore the bridge on the left and soon after branch right towards a field. Follow the course of a regularly used field edge path around the sewage works (left at the end of the wooden fence) along the concrete access drive eventually reaching the minor road that runs between Thurlow and Stradishall. Turn right and make use of the wide grass verge to reach the houses of Little Thurlow Green. Ignore the footpath signs to both right and left. You then lose most of the verge so take care going round a blind bend to the left and then right. Take the footpath on the left immediately before the white barrier rails. Accompany the hedge on the right until you reach a five bar gate. Go through and continue in much the same direction, being watched by hopeful horses in enclosures, towards the farm buildings. Go through another gate (metal 6-bar) and then take the concrete drive straight ahead through barns and stables. Reach a minor road and turn left. Follow this as it winds through the village of Little Bradley past the attractive round tower flint church. Instructions for obtaining a key are in the porch. Cross the bridge over the River Stour and turn left past a sign saying ‘Little Bradley Gate’ to follow the footpath that runs beside the gently flowing waters. On reaching the road go across (footpath sign) and follow the shingle path that runs though the churchyard. At the fence turn right and left (following the Stour Valley Path) to take a track between paddocks into a small field. Continue ahead to a kissing gate beside the school. Go through and continue until you meet the ‘high street’. Turn left. After 150 paces you will find on the left the Olde School with its imposing entrance. The ground floor, which was the classroom, was designed so that it was not possible to see out of the windows while sitting down. The next building on the left, one of Manor Farms Barns, has a replica of a Wellington bomber on the thatched roof. This is in memory of a Second World War tragedy when a plane trying to reach Chedburgh aerodrome clipped the end of this building and crashed in the field behind killing the New Zealand crew. Continue along the road past the ‘Thurlow Cock’ (which appears to be open only in the evenings), the village hall and the garage until you reach the offset crossroads. Go straight across and in another 100 paces you return to the car park.
Originally walked 10.10.2007
Re-walked on 11.06.2015
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.