A Sunday Walk
It is simply known locally as “The Three Churches”.
The picturesque villages of Moulton, Gazeley and Dalham have just about everything you could wish for on a country walk. There are three churches (of course) three pubs, woodland, river, chalk upland, very little road walking, and fine views over rolling Suffolk countryside. We like to begin at Moulton
(Click on the map for a larger version).
Our route starts at the Kings Head, next to the Packhorse Bridge, from where we turn right along the path or road (you have a choice on either side of the River Kennett) to reach St Peter’s Church. You can tell it is a St Peter’s, as the weathervane is in the form of a large golden fish (St Peter was a fisherman, y’ see).
Dalham is one of those chocolate box villages, packed with thatched cottages, a fine stately home (Dalham Hall, once owned by Cecil Rhodes) and as peaceful a spot as you could wish for. It wasn’t always so. According to an article in the Times newspaper in the late 1880's it was "full of roughnecks and drunks" and it was “possibly the worst village in the country”. Such was the level of drunkenness and violence that in addition to teaching the scriptures, the vicar used to give the children of the village boxing lessons, “which, he believed, was essential to their survival!”
Turn right and walk along the road, ignoring the right turn signed “To the Main Road”, up the slight hill and take the signed footpath left through a wood, on along a field edge and then left into Blocksey Wood where the path continues through Bluebutton Wood and on to Gazeley, and the last of our three churches, All Saints, and, incidentally the Chequers pub. On the way you may see some waymarks with a stone axe symbol. These represent the “Icknield Way” long distance path which forms part of our route here. It's a very popular part of many routes - as this waymark post shows!
As we walked through the woods, evidence of approaching Spring was there to see in the catkins on the hazel coppices, and the first snowdrops peeking through.
Through the churchyard a path leads between stud farms with some wonderful (and fabulously expensive) horses in the paddocks to a minor road where we turn left to descend back to Moulton, diving through a hedge for a diagonal path across fields and down steeply through trees to emerge into the churchyard at St Peter’s once again. Although not very high, we are high on the tops in East Anglian terms when we reach the road. On a clear winter’s day from here and the upper part of the field path it is possible to see Ely Cathedral, a full 15 miles away.
So there you have it. If you’re down this way, give it a spin. You’ll visit three very pretty villages and have 6.5 miles of pleasant walking - with three pubs and less than 100 metres of gentle ascent. Perfick!
|Catkins - Spring is on the way!|
Labels: Walks and Routes