A walk around Long Melford

Long by name and long by nature might be one way of describing Long Melford.  Despite having a 16th-century moated Tudor Hall, a grand church of cathedral proportions, a large green and a mile-long street all within its boundaries, surprisingly enough, Long Melford still officially retains village status.  Either side of the main street, which you can explore at leisure, is a mixture of bakers, butchers, bookshops, antique shops and restaurants.

The walk initially follows a route that takes you to Liston Mill, just across the border into Essex.  A delightful stretch then follows through water meadows beside the river Stour.  The distant tower of Holy Trinity church can be seen on most of the walk, seemingly floating above the hedgerows.  Later on, the route crosses the B1064 and proceeds along Bull Lane, where a path leads over an old railway line and eventually down an embankment and up the other side.

Distance  1 or 3 miles.

OS Explorer 196 Sudbury, Hadleigh & Dedham Vale. GR 862455. An easy walk with few stiles, progressing along country lanes, water meadows and field edge paths.

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Starting point The George & Dragon, Hall Street, Long Melford.

How to get there From the Bury St Edmunds direction follow the A1092 and then the B1064.  Carry on almost the entire length of Melford’s main street (Hall Street) and locate the pub on the left.  From Sudbury take the A134 or A131 and follow the B1064 past Rodbridge Corner.  After another mile or so the pub is on the right.  There is a car park at the rear of the pub.

The Pub Standing beside the main thoroughfare through the village, the George & Dragon was once a coaching inn dating from the 16th century.  Nowadays it is a popular hostelry for visitors and locals alike.  Within its spacious interior, you’ll find performances of live music on selected nights.  Popular choices on a daily changing menu includes scampi, cottage pie, steaks and fish dishes.  There are also daily specials along with a large choice of desserts.  Beers include Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen.  The pub also lists a wide range of medium to dry wines.  Meals and drinks can be taken outside in a large garden and courtyard area.  Bed & Breakfast accommodation is available. Open from 7 am (8 am at weekends) to 11 pm.  Breakfast is available from 7 am to 10.30 am.  Food is also served from 12 noon to 3 pm and from 6 pm to 9 pm.  Tel: 01787 371285. 

THE WALK

1  Leave the pub, cross over the road and turn left onto a footway.  Pass St Cahterine’s Road and afterwards turn right to join Liston Lane.  Follow the surfaced lane and carry straight on at the road junction ahead.  Soon grazing meadows appear on either side.  A raised platform, presumably used in times of flooding, is on the left.  Cross the county border sign for a brief excursion into Essex and reach the weather-boarded Liston Mill, a former watermill.

2 Retrace your steps a few paces and turn left through a metal kissing gate to join the Stour Valley Path.  Cross two bridges in quick succession over a weir.  Continue beside the river’s edge, cross a concrete plinth and turn right at the next marker post.  Carry on ahead over pasture, keeping to the right of Melford’s distant church tower and aiming towards the hedge in front.  Look for a depression in the ground and head towards an old metal kissing gate ahead.

3 Pass through the latter and shortly arrive at a point where the path divides.  If you want a short cut back to the start, take the right fork, pass between the cricket and football pitches and afterwards bear left back to the pub.  Otherwise, carry straight on to reach a staggered junction.  Turn left here, cross a bridge and continue beside some garden allotments followed by a field edge.  Bear right in front of a small area of scrubland.  Shortly leave the path and turn right to continue along a bridleway.

4 Continue straight ahead and at the next footpath junction – the church tower now seen to grand effect on the left – turn right along an old earth lane where the hedgerows give a delightful tunnel effect.  At the boundary, go left over a bridge and follow a brick boundary wall leading out onto the B1064.  Cross over the road with care and continue along Bull Lane opposite.  Stay on the footway, cross Cordell Road, with public toilets to the right.  After crossing Shaw Road and Lakforth Road, continue almost to a mini roundabout and then turn right beside a RUPP sign.  Follow a broad rising path through a housing estate to reach a bridge over the old railway line.

5 Continue to a field entrance, take a cross-field path and turn right at the boundary.  Make towards the hedge, turn left and in a few paces turn right down some embankment steps.  Carry on up the other side and pass to the left of a bungalow.  Continue ahead onto a road (Oliver’s Close) to reach a road junction.  Turn left and quickly right and continue along a road named The Limes.  At the far end, swing left and then quickly right into an alleyway.  Follow the latter to emerge beside the George & Dragon to finish the walk.

Places of interest nearby Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury, birthplace of legendary artist Thomas Gainsborough, contains the largest collection of his paintings and drawings on display in the world. Tel: 01787 372958

This walk is just one of fifteen walks featured in Pocket Pub Walks Suffolk by Cyril Francis. Published by Countryside Books. Order online at www.countrysidebooks.co.uk Price £5.99 ISBN 978 1 84674085 5

Or order your copy here…

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