10 great winter walks in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex. Easy countryside walks for the whole family.
When the turkey has been demolished, the wine has run dry and you can’t face another mince pie, work off those Christmas calories with a countryside walk.
Wandlebury Country Park
Wandlebury Ring, Gog Magog Hills, Cambridge CB22 3AE
Enjoy the beautiful scenery of this Cambridgeshire country park. Walk under the canopy of trees, along the footpaths and into the open spaces. Wellies recommended. Parking onsite costs £3 per vehicle. www.cambridgeppf.org/pages/category/wandlebury-country-park
Wander around the pretty village where the ITV drama is filmed, before heading down to the river and walking along the footpath. Take in beautiful scenery and the free roaming cows. The river gets muddy so make sure you have appropriate footwear. There’s free parking in the village or park at The Red Lion if you plan on having lunch.
Cambridge City Centre
With its stunning architecture and grand colleges most walks in Cambridge are good. However make the most of this vibrant city with a circular walk along The Backs, which takes in the river Cam, colleges and Jesus Green. Plan your walk at www.gps-routes.co.uk/routes/home.nsf/RoutesLinksWalks/cambridge-backs-walk-walking-route
Audley End Park
Saffron Walden, Essex
Start your walk at the Abbey Lane Gates entrance, here you’ll find free parking on the road. Veer to the right and follow the path through grassy fields, lined with a stream and trees that run parallel to Saffron Walden Golf Course. At the end, follow the path in a circular motion so you are now on the other side. Here you can continue straight or cross the stream for an extended walk up the hill and pass the grounds of Audley End House. Follow the path downhill and you’ll be back to where you started. The walk takes approximately 50 minutes and is very dog-friendly. Well behaved dogs can be off lead the duration.
Dedham, Essex, CO7 6DE
There’s beauty at every turn in this village. For a walk the whole family can enjoy, park at Mill Pond Car Park, a reasonable £1 for two hours. Follow the pavement to the meadows and walk along the river. Cross the bridge to loop back on yourself. Veer to the left and you can take an exit back into the village or walk straight and you’ll reach The Sun Inn, a nice cosy pub for a bite to eat. Read our guide to the best Essex villages.
Saffron Walden, CB11 4NE
Saffron Walden isn’t short of the country walks, there’s plenty of ground to cover. Visit Elmdon for a beautiful, family and dog-friendly walk. You can park along the main road, which is very quiet, then walk up across the cricket pitch and to the woods. Walk through the forest and you’ll come out in Chrishall. There is a great little pub called The Red Cow perfect for a spot of lunch. You can then walk back the way you came or go the long way through the most beautiful racehorse stud farm, the playful foals follow you along the fence lines. You come out back on the cricket pitch in Elmdon. This is a great walk and can be shortened or lengthened depending on time and fitness levels.
Suffolk, IP23 8HH
Thornham Walks is a landscaped parkland criss-crossed by 12 miles of paths allowing you to really explore this magical location. Highlights include the restored Walled Garden (open weekends and holidays) with its fruit trees and colourful herbaceous borders, a bird hide, a folly and the pet cemetery with its intriguingly named pets. There’s an easy 1.3 mile trail ideal for families that starts just beyond the car park and features a children’s play area. Full details at www.discoversuffolk.org.uk/assets/Walks/Easy-Going-Trails/Thornham.pdf
The Quay, Fen Lane, NR34 9BH
The 1.5 mile walk is a combination of tarmac and natural paths. Park for free at the Quay and start your walk from here as there’s a useful information centre. Wander along the paths amongst the grazing meadows and walk along the River Waveney. Find out more at www.discoversuffolk.org.uk/assets/Walks/Easy-Going-Trails/Beccles.pdf
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
School Road, South Walsham, NR13 6DZ
If you fancy some fresh and a gentle stroll, visit Fairhaven. There’s 130 acres to explore and it’s suitable for all times of year. The Garden is an eclectic mix of native and cultivated plantings with a network of dyke systems and a private broad. There are four miles of woodland pathways and boat trips, which are great for spotting local wildlife. Admission is £6.22 per adult, £3.59 for children and under 5s go free. Dogs on leads are allowed with an entry fee of 25p (poop scoop provided). www.fairhavengarden.co.uk
Beach Rd, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1DR
There’s nothing like fresh sea air to blow the cobwebs away, however winter winds often whip up sand making beach walks a distant memory. Don’t worry, you can still enjoy a sea breeze at Wells-next-the-Sea. Park up at Wells Beach car park, which costs £2 for up to one hour. Rather than follow the steps to the beach and huts, walk towards the back of the car park and through the gate to the nature reserve. Pass the pond and follow the gravel path into the pine forest. Here you’ll be sheltered from the elements.