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.

David Falk

Festival Director

Image of Leslie Dolphin in a blue and white floral top. She is smiling and standing in front of a large white rose bush and a blue sign

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.

Happy Walking!

Lesley Dolphin

Producer/Presenter BBC Radio Suffolk

Follow us on facebook, twitter, and Instagram and come back to the website to see brand new exciting stuff everyday for 10 days from Saturday 22 May until Monday 31 May.

You can also find everything from the previous days too, so there’s no need to miss out on any of the fun!


Sunday 30th May


The East

Welcome to day 9 of the Virtual Suffolk Walking Festival!

Today enjoy the east of the county with a walk of the day around the gems of Badingham and Wickham Market, an easy going stroll at Alton Water, and two wonderful and contrasting videos at RSPB Minsmere.

Brandon Country Park sign

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 forth episode David went to the beautiful Brandon Country Park, for a chat with Dr Mike Brock, Senior Lecturer in Microeconomics at the University of East Anglia. Listen in for a fascinating discussion about peoples’ differing attitudes and approaches to walking in the countryside, and how behavioural economics can influence them.

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 9 – Badingham – The Churches and Halls Circuit

Walk distance

Distance = Approx. 6 miles (9km)

Estimated time

Time = Approx. 4 hours

Badingham lies in the beautiful Alde valley in rural high Suffolk, an undulating landscape of arable fields, secluded homesteads and pretty churches. This is an area of clay soil uplands that until the Saxon period was full of oak forests, later cleared for meadows and fields.

The village has a fascinating history. The course of a Roman road, finds of a Roman settlement and the ruins of a Roman villa reveal that this area has been occupied for at least 2,000 years. Badingham also lies near the source of the River Alde, which winds its way across east Suffolk to meet the North Sea at the coastal town of Aldeburgh.

The most populated part of the village is Low Street running northwards towards Laxfield from the A1120. At the northern end of the village is the church of St. John The Baptist. Dating from the 13th century, this is one highlight not to miss.

This walk begins at Badingham Church in Low Street, and takes in Colston Hall, St Peter’s Church, and Oakenhill Hall along its route.

Click to download the full leaflet

Badingham leaflet
Alton Water leaflet

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 9 – Alton Water – Suffolk’s largest lake!

Walk distance

Distance = 1.5 miles (2.4km) each way

Wheelchair accessible

Wheelchair Accessible

Pushchair accessible

Pushchair Accessible

Alton Water is a surprisingly diverse destination with small ponds, broad leaf woods, small inlets and bays, marshes, bird hides and a very active sailing centre.

During the year the lake hosts many events from the Great East Swim to the Alton Water 10k race, but remains a wonderful haven for peaceful walks, picnics and bird watching throughout the whole year.

There is also an 8 mile (13km) circular path offering many different views of the lake, the surrounding landscape and the wide variety of wildlife. During the day you will see many ducks, geese and swans. At dusk look out for barn owls, silently flying around the lakes’ edge looking for their next meal.


  • Parking – charges apply
  • Accessible toilet
  • Cafe (open seasonally)
  • Picnic Area

Click to download the full leaflet

did you know……..

A booming Suffolk fishing industry in 1913 saw 600 fishing vessels sail from Lowestoft, a lively fishing port!

You can see lots of photographs and find out find out loads more information about Lowestoft’s past on the Lowestoft History website

Lowestoft fishing boats

Fishermen and their boats in Lowestoft

Image from Lowestoft History website

Join Ian Barthorpe and his colleagues at RSPB Minsmere, and see returned avocet (the logo of the RSP), along with many other varieties of birds and insects that make their homes on the Scrape. We also explore the now rare habitat of the Sandlings, and see the otter in the hen reedbeds!

Video produced by RSPB Minsmere and photographs courtesy of Charles Cuthbert, David Naylor, and Steve and Davene Everett.

You can find out lots more information about RSPB Minsmere here www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/minsmere/

A Wing and A Prayer

Watch this fascinating video by Tim Curtis of Video East, all about the glass art installation by Arabella Marshall at Minsmere Chapel on the RSPB reserve there.

Stone bridge and white railings
Octagonal church tower
Row of old houses

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…….

  • The East Anglian Agricultural Show (the forerunner of the Suffolk Show) was held in this village in the 1800s.

  • The church has the only octagonal tower in Suffolk.

  • Here you can find a 250 year old dovecote.

  • A nearby wood was once the site of gallows, last used in 1699!

yesterday we were in…………. MELTON!

Why not download the full Discover Suffolk leaflet and go exploring!

At Discover Suffolk we have come up with 40 FUN and FABULOUS seasonal activities to inspire your family to leave the living room behind and get exploring Suffolk’s great outdoors.

We have chosen one activity for each day of the Festival, but you can find all 40 over on the Discover Suffolk website!

cartoon boy laying on his back in a meadow
Suffolk's Fab40 logo

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 9 – Discover the beauty of butterflies on a meadowland stroll

Peacock Butterfly on a branch

Admire their different colours and wonderful wing patterns. Are there 3 different types to identify in your meadow? Suffolk Wildlife Trust has lots of information about all sorts of invertebrates on their website!

stop and listen……….

Take a mindful minute to relax and immerse yourself in a beautiful sound bath every day

East Suffolk Lines Logo

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 Aaron Taffera from the East Suffolk Line Walks tells us about a walk through the beautiful Fynn Valley, from Woodbridge to Westerfield

View of the lush green Fynn Valley

The route starts at Woodbridge train station alongside the river with a hive of activity and specular views out across the River Deben.

As we head out of town the hustle and bustle quickly fades away, replaced by the sounds of wading birds looking for a meal from Martlesham Creek. A quick jaunt under the A12 and peace and tranquillity lie ahead. Lush meadows along the River Fynn are replaced by a big arable field with a single mighty Oak pointing the way. At Little Bealings you realise what it’s like to be off the beaten path in the depths of the Fynn Valley. Up on the hill a train passes in the distance while cows graze below. A bench appears just in time for lunch.

One section of the route is almost tunnel-like; in summer the growth overhead provides 15 seconds of respite from the August heat. A sluice on the approach to Tuddenham breaks the silence, and lush meadows reappear. A field of buttercups to the right are followed by a herd of Alpacas. Another left and the gradient increases, the sound of the barriers, and Westerfield station is straight ahead.

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.

Our Partners

The Suffolk Walking Festival could never happen without the generosity of so many throughout the county, and this year is no exception. Thank you to all our contributors, supporters and partners – we couldn’t do it without you!

Suffolk Secrets logo
BBC Radio Suffolk logo
EADT Suffolk logo
East of England Co-op logo
Clare Castle Country Park logo
Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB logo
Dedham Vale AONB logo
Churches Conservation Trust logo
Natural England logo
National Trust logo
East Suffolk Lines Logo
Southwold Town Council logo
Landguard Partnership logo
Norfolk and Suffolk Long Distance Walkers Association
Walkers Are Welcome logo
Thornham Walks logo
Suffolk Archives logo
RSPB logo
Walking on Air logo
Nordic Walking East Anglia logo
Big Sky Mind Mindfulness logo
Sudbury Town Council logo
Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers logo
Broads Authority logo
Babergh Mid-Suffolk Councils logo
West Suffolk Council logo
Visit Suffolk logo
Ipswich Borough Council logo
East Suffolk Council logo
The Ramblers logo
OneLife Suffolk logo
Screen Suffolk logo
Discover Suffolk logo
Blue and white logo for Suffolk County Council
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