Day 313: Orford to Melton
Distance: 26.56 miles
Ascent: 1053 feet
Weather: Sunny Spells with short period of Rain
Accommodation: The Mill’s House, Melton (Kindly Offered)
The weather forecast for today had been terrible earlier in the week, but fortunately it blew through earlier as there was very heavy rain and strong winds through the night but by the morning it was a nice day. Today like yesterday if you saw the map, would head up and down another couple of rivers.
After breakfast, I said goodbye and thank you to Andrew, and Theresa was going to be joining me for the first mile of the day. We headed out of Orford and the weather was absolutely lovely. We joined a track which took us all the way to Sudbourne Hall, or more precisely the estate as the actual hall was pulled down in 1953, and on the way we spooked a small group of deer.
At Sudbourne, Theresa headed back and I continued on the footpath up to Chillesford. I was now across the first river, the Butley River and in fact joined the Suffolk Coast Path which for the first time since I arrived in Suffolk would actually follow the coast for a while. After a short stretch of public lane I was on a right of way following a farm track through a massive pig farm and the track was in a fairly bad way due to all the tractor traffic. After heading through Coulton Farm, I actually came across something strange around these parts an actual hill, Burrow Hill, even though only 15m high it sticks out like a sore thumb and I had presumed it was man made due to the shape but apparently it is an old island that due to the reclaimed land around here is now part of the mainland.
Shortly after Burrow Hill I joined the sea embankment again, and was treated to a very low flypast by a flock of geese. After about 5 miles I came to Shingle Street, a little hamlet right on the beach with the first of the Martello Towers I would be seeing today. In fact from this point I passed 4 Martello Towers in about 2 miles heading along the embankment to Bawdsey, of which 3 looked like they were converted into houses or holiday homes.
I was actually slightly light on food and with no shops till Melton at the end of the day, I googled to see if there may be a café nearby and at first I thought there wasn’t any but then noticed The Boat House Café near the Bawdsey Ferry about 2 miles away and was hoping it would be open.
The weather changed for this section and it started raining not too heavily but heavy enough to require full waterproofs for about 20 minutes or so. In fact, it was just stopping as I reached the ferry landing and café. It was so annoying seeing the ferry carrying some people across as I would probably have about 24 miles to get to the other side only about 250m apart at this point due to walking up the river. I had a nice lunch in the quaint café and checking my phone had made swift progress so though I may actually arrive in Melton an hour earlier than expected.
The rain had stopped by the time I left the café and I was hoping to follow the sea embankment for the next 3 miles or so all the way to Ramsholt, even though it was not shown as a public right of way. I started on top of the embankment but this became very overgrown, so I decided to drop down onto the edge of the sort of mud flat/salt marsh area which though a bit sticky and damp made for easyish if slightly slow walking. About half way along I spotted a very old bizarre footpath sign (see photo below) that had sunk into the ground and now appeared to be directing straight into the river. As this isn’t now a public right of way either this sign was very old from a time there was a path here or it had floated down the river and somehow ended up vertical.
Finally I made it to Ramsholt and I was glad to join firm ground again, and there was a lovely pub here overlooking the estuary. I didn’t stop however tempting and joined a footpath from here that followed the river on a very scenic though also very slippy due to mud path. In fact I almost had a spectacular fall on a short couple of meters steepish decline I started to slip and the path turned at the bottom and there was a sort of pond straight on and I honestly thought I was going straight into the water but just managed to grab some reed and miraculously stayed upright and manged to skid around the corner.
The path did actually improve up until Cliff Farm but suddenly whereas it appeared a well trodden path before here suddenly it became overgrown and felt like very few people had walked it though the going wasn’t too tough. It became more hilly and despite not the greatest signage and one path that went straight through a crop of maize that the farmer hadn’t cut the public right of way through the crop, meaning I had to push my way through and got pretty wet, I made good progress to the National Trust woodland just shy of Melton.
It was getting dark but I didn’t have far to go, I saw so many muntjac deer in this wood and even some roe deer swinging a pheasant feeder to get food out of it. I left the wood at the main road and followed the pavement across the bridge and to the station car park shortly after. I met Nat (old uni friend) and her partner Ali her as well her Uncle Rob who was kindly driving me the short distance to his house.
At the house I met all the family, aunties, parents, cousins and the 3 dachshunds. The lads watched the rugby highlights, and after we had a lovely dinner courtesy of Nat’s Auntie and we had a merry evening before very tired we all retired to bed.
A long but good day, and very grateful for this lovely location for my rest day and great to have friends join on my rest day.
NB - 16 photos as couldn’t cud down to 12.