Welcome to the VIRTUAL
Suffolk Walking Festival 2021!
Saturday 22 May – Monday 31 May
The Suffolk Walking Festival is one of the country’s largest and longest running walking events. In May we normally have over 100 walks and events for you to enjoy over a 3-week period. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we have cancelled this year’s guided event, but are delighted to launch the very first VIRTUAL Suffolk Walking Festival!
The new 10-day virtual festival will have a changing daily programme and sees the launch of a brand new Suffolk Walking Festival podcast.
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED – Complete our survey to enter the draw to win 4 tickets to next year’s festival, a year’s subscription to the Suffolk Magazine and £30 of vouchers for the East of England Co-op!
I hope you enjoy the first Virtual Suffolk Walking Festival and we look forward to greeting and leading you again in 2022.
A message from our patron
Although the Suffolk Walking Festival can’t happen as a group activity this year I`m thrilled it’s going ahead online. Walking is something most of us have been able to do through the lockdowns and so hopefully more of you than ever will have a look and head out on some of the walks that are featured.
I know many people have discovered places near to their homes that they had never enjoyed before – and this is an opportunity to get out and discover bits of our lovely county that you’ve not visited before. It’s also a chance for you to tell us about your favourite bits of Suffolk. Getting into our countryside and enjoying the birds, flowers and wildlife is so good for the soul as we have learnt. Thank you David Falk and team for making this happen.
Producer/Presenter BBC Radio Suffolk
Thursday 27th May
Beyond the Waveney Valley
Welcome to day 6 of the Virtual Suffolk Walking Festival!
Today discover Suffolk’s northern edge along the Waveney Valley. Walk with Nick along the Angles Way, uncover stories of buried treasure in Hoxne, and dip into The Broads at Carlton Marshes.
Suffolk Walking Festival Podcast
If you love walking and Suffolk, then this is the podcast for you! In our brand new Suffolk Walking Festival Podcast, David Falk (Festival Director) walks and talks with all sorts of people including authors, broadcasters, wildlife experts, and academics to discover why walking in Suffolk is so special.
For our third episode David went to Trimley Marshes for a chat with the Editor of Suffolk Magazine Jane Lindill about living and working in Suffolk, writing plays, and the varied walks available across the county.
walk of the day
Every day we will introduce you to a different fabulous place to walk in Suffolk. We will tell you a bit about it (including the approximate distance of the walk and roughly how long it might take) and you will be able to download the full Discover Suffolk walks leaflet for a map and other suggested routes in the area. You can find all of the Discover Suffolk walks, plus loads more information about getting outdoors in Suffolk, on the Discover Suffolk website.
Day 6 – Hopton cum Knettishall – A Grand Day Out!
Distance = Approx. 8.5 miles (13.5km)
Time = Approx. 4 – 5 hours
The parish of Hopton cum Knettishall lies within Suffolk on the Norfolk border. The rural village of Hopton boasts a host of local amenities including a pub, a large convenience shop with post office, a fish and chip shop, three churches and a bowling green. Knettishall, with its beautiful nature reserve and heath is about 2½ miles away.
The walks start at All Saints Parish Church, Hopton and follow footpaths, tracks, quiet lanes and pavements, varying from a gentle 2¾ mile stroll to 8½ miles for a fuller day out. All the routes are signed with coloured waymarker discs. There is only one stile, which is along “A Grand Day Out”.
These walks also include three sites managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust: Knettishall Heath, Hopton Fen and Market Weston Fen. The Suffolk Wildlife Trust has three easy to follow waymarked routes around Knettishall Heath to help you explore and enjoy this wonderful landscape; details can be found on the information boards in the main car park or on the Suffolk Wildlife Trust website.
Knettishall Heath is at the junction of three long distance routes: the 92 mile Angles Way footpath from Great Yarmouth, the 110 mile Icknield Way from Bedfordshire (the oldest road in Britain) and the 46 mile Peddars Way to North Norfolk.
easy going trail of the day
Discover Suffolk has developed 18 easy to follow trails to help everyone get close to nature in Suffolk’s countryside. Each trail is designed to be straightforward to follow and on generally level ground. You can find information about all of the Easy Going Trails on the Discover Suffolk website.
Each day throughout the festival we will pick one of our favourite easy going trails and will tell you a bit about it and give you a link to download the full leaflet. We will also tell you what facilities are available to make your trip easier.
Day 6 – Carlton Marshes – The Broads in miniature!
Distance = 1 mile (1.6km)
The walks around Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s centre at Carlton Marshes, part of the Suffolk Broads, get you into the heart of marshland. Located in the Broads National Park, this is flower-studded grazing marsh, fen and peat pools at their best. See kestrels hover above your head and dragonflies dart about as cows lazily graze.
There are a variety of walks to do of varying length and ease. All have large accessible kissing gates. You could even go all the way to Nicholas Everitt Park, on the outskirts of Lowestoft. However, it is the path closest to the Education Centre, across the car park and through the kissing gate into the first marsh, which makes for a very pleasant easy walk. Wander in dappled shade with views over the reeds.
There is a small Education Centre with toilets and information on hand.
- Free parking
- Accessible toilets
- Picnic area
A Walk with Nick Along the Angles Way
Join Nick Sanderson from the Broads Authority, on his favourite walk from Carlton Marshes (Suffolk Wildlife Trust) to Beccles along an 8 mile stretch of the The Angles Way. See the wide open views over arable land and marshes along the River Waveney, and find out how the landscape has been shaped over the last 2,000 years, through the interaction between human land use and wildlife. Nick also tells us all about the wildlife that can be spotted along the route throughout the year, including the Fen Raft Spider!
Find out more about the Broads National Park at www.broads-authority.gov.uk
where am I?
Every day throughout the festival we will be asking you to guess ‘where am I?’ We will give you facts about our mystery location and you can find out the answer the following day.
BIG CLUE: all the destinations have Discover Suffolk walk leaflets…….
- In this village evidence has been found of nomadic hunters, wild horses and elephants from 350,000BC.
- It was here that in 1992, a hoard of the greatest find of 4th and 5th century Roman coins were dug up, now displayed in The British Museum.
- This is where the martyrdom of Saint Edmund took place, and where a wolf was found in a bramble thicket guarding his severed head.
You can download your free FAB40 guide (opens a PDF document in a new window) and tick off your activities as you go.
The guide may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Contact us to ask for help and request an accessible format.
ACTIVITY 6 – Look out for frogspawn in your local pond
It’ll soon be time for tadpoles and tiny frogs! Check out the water’s edge for tell-tale signs now.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust has loads of fascinating information about frogs on their website.
stop and listen……….
Take a mindful minute to relax and immerse yourself in a beautiful sound bath every day
Hoo Goes There? Owls on the Prowl
Today we have a podcast about the wonders of nature in the Broads, with Nick Sanderson (Broads Authority) chatting to Jon Tyler (Wild for Woods) about barn owns and tawny owls out and about in woodlands and on the Broads.
Thank you to the Broads Authority and Jon Tyler for letting us use their podcast!
my Suffolk your Suffolk
Every day throughout the festival we’ve asked people to tell us about their favourite Suffolk walk. Here, we will bring you their personal stories about what makes it special and why they love it.
Today we hear again from David Falk (Festival Director) about the Challenge Walk from the 2014 Festival – walking 80 miles along the Angles way in 6 days!
The Challenge Walk started in 2011 when someone suggested there should be a nice long walk in the festival programme. They meant something about 20-miles long, but I came up with the idea of a multi-day walk following one of Suffolk’s many long distance trails. Over the years we’ve followed 8 different trails but my favourite was in 2014 when we followed the Angles Way.
The Angles Way stretches from Great Yarmouth to Thetford and we started where it enters Suffolk at Fritton Lake. Over the next 6 days we walked through the grounds of the impressive Somerleyton Hall, followed the banks of the River Waveney, walked through Beccles, Bungay and Diss, and experienced the beautiful nature reserves of Redgrave and Lopham Fen and Knettishall Heath.
Along the 80-mile journey we met many experts, learning about hill forts in The Brecks, coming face to face with a Great Fen Raft Spider, and having a special tour of St Peter’s Brewery. Our journey ended with a cream tea at Elveden Courtyard with goodie bags handed out to all and winner’s medals for those who’d completed the full challenge.
The Challenge Walk is a key part of the festival and has become very special to all who take part. The biggest challenge now is thinking where we should walk next year!
Coronavirus (Covid-19) advice
If you’re using Suffolk’s public rights of way or open access network please stay local, stick to areas you are familiar with, and make sure that you comply with government social distancing guidelines at all times. Please stick to the public rights of way and avoid trespassing.