Day 317: Shotley Gate to Bradfield
Distance: 15.62 miles
Ascent: 978 feet
Weather: Sunny Spells
Accommodation: DiNa & James’ House (kindly Offered)
I slept well though still felt quite under the weather when I woke up but not so bad I couldn’t walk. Joe very kindly laid out breakfast and then dropped me back down to the pier at Shotley Gate. The weather was nice once again and the path from Shotley directly followed the river for the first 6 miles or so all the way to the Royal Hospital School.
This school has a very impressive frontage slightly reminiscent of the one in Greenwich where it used to be based. The Stour and Orwell Path actually heads inland a bit here up towards Stutton but as it was low tide after briefly joining a seawall I dropped down onto the foreshore to continue following the river directly to Stutton Ness where I rejoined back up with the path.
After a few more miles I neared Cattawade where the path crossed the railway line on a bridge, before heading around the back of the industrial building prior to reaching the bridge across the Stour.
I had received a couple of phone calls this morning offering accom or lunch or both presumably based on my hosts from both last night and the night before spreading the walk which was very kind. Ursi from Bradfield had offered lunch and I was hoping to get there by about 1:30.
After walking over the Stour I reached Manningtree which was a sizeable place with some interesting architecture. There were plenty of food shops but I didn’t need them today and after barely leaving Mannigtree I was in Mistley. There were some sizeable industrial looking buildings down by the quay which I guess were some sort of grain stores in the past. In fact the little quay has been quite controversial with the apparent landowner recently fencing off the quay wall and surrounding area which has always been subject to public use before. The locals took him to court and in the end have got the quay area declared a village green so they are now allowed some access again but horrible fences still appear to block access to the water.
I had heard the road from Mistley was quite busy and narrow so I diverted onto the Essex Way a little inland which took me across some muddy fields and into Bradfield. Here I found Ursi’s house, and what a magnificent house, who had kindly offered me lunch. We had a chat and she made me lunch and in the time I was there I managed to persuade myself that it might be worth actually stopping early today due to the fact I was still feeling under the weather and Dina another friend of the people I stayed with last night had actually offered a bed only a few hundred yards away. In not too much time I had made my mind up to stop early.
So after a nice break at Dina’s I whipped my bag back on and walked for literally only a couple of minutes down to Dina’s house. This could not be a more different house but equally beautiful with the most amazing views over the Stour. Dina cooked a lovely dinner and after chatting with everyone (James and her son) I retired to bed to recuperate hoping I would feel better in the morning.
A rare day for me in that I shortened it, but it was definitely the right decision. A sunny, scenic day with unbelievable amounts of kindness.