Suffolk Walking Festival 2023 Newsletter 5
‘Beating the Bounds’
Revive an Ancient Tradition
‘Beating the Bounds’ is an ancient tradition which takes place on a ‘rogation day’, one of the three days before Ascension Day. In England, since Anglo-Saxon times and before the invent high quality mapping, beating local landmarks with branches was a method of maintaining a shared knowledge of a parish’s boundaries within the local community. The tradition also had a religious aspect as blessings would have also been offered upon the land whilst navigating the boundaries of the parish.
In 2023, the Suffolk Walking Festival programme features a couple of longer walks based around this ancient custom:
Monday 15th May
Walk 15. A Parish Boundary Walk for Rogation Day
Take part in an ancient tradition, “Beating the Bounds”, on this long-distance walk, following the parish boundary of St Mary’s with St Peter’s. “Beating the Bounds” is an ancient tradition which takes place on a “rogation day”, one of the three days before Ascension Day. The walk, which will be led by the curate of St Mary’s Church, will include short stops for rogations (supplications) and snacks. It will finish at St Mary’s Church where there will be teas and coffees provided (and toilet facilities). A detailed description of the walk, including rogations, will also be provided.
Bury St Edmunds
Saturday 20th May
Walk 35. Rogationtide ‘Beating the Bounds’
Revive an ancient tradition, “Beating the Bounds”, on a challenging and varied walk, following the boundaries of the ecclesiastical parishes of Exning with Landwade, St Agnes Exning and St Mary Newmarket. The terrain varies from tracks and bridleways to Newmarket High Street, and by kind permission through the Exning Estate at Landwade.
Key to Symbols
Walk start location
Car parking (charges may apply)
Bring a packed lunch
Family-friendly. Children under 12.
Dogs on leads allowed
Easy – suitable for all
(short walk at slow pace)
Moderate – used to walking
(longer distance and steady pace)
Hard – experienced walker
(full day’s walk at strong pace)
Own pace – whatever pace you feel comfortable at
Slow pace – a gentle stroll
(up to 2mph)
Medium pace – a steady pace
(up to 3mph)
Fast pace – a strong walk