The Fynn Valley
On the outskirts of Ipswich we’ve discovered a web of walks leading to a natural playground for lovers of the countryside; The Fynn Valley
Winding its way from Witnesham to Woodbridge the Fynn Valley Walk is well known and well documented. It follows the River Fynn across country to the north and east of Ipswich however despite being approximately eight and a half miles long it needn’t be tackled in one go. Part of the positivity of lockdown has been getting to know the countryside on our doorsteps and so it’s been a joy to discover the myriad of entry points to this rather wonderful hidden valley, just a stone’s throw from our county town. Here we’re concentrating on the stretch from Witnesham to Playford and in particular a figure of eight circuit accessed from Rushmere St Andrew.
On the map you’ll find the main Fynn Valley Walk marked in orange with our route in red. When out walking the main Fynn Valley path is well marked so adding an extra mile or two will be very easy should you choose to. We’ve also noted some of our favourite dog friendly refreshment stops nearby. With current restrictions, if the weather is poor it’s best to check availability for a seat in an indoors dog-friendly area before you arrive. However all three have plenty of outside seating so if it’s a dry day why not call in for some well earned refreshments?
The valley itself is the perfect place to reboot your mental energy. Along Strugglers Lane from Witnesham to Tuddenham the Fynn Valley Walk follows fenced paddocks and farmland but once you cross the road at Tuddenham there’s a more open feel to the landscape. Our route centres around this area. Although when traversing west to east the overall route profile of the main path is downhill the very nature of a river valley means there are localised rises and falls which can at times be challenging. It’s possible that you’ll come across livestock so make sure you keep your dog on a close lead.
As the starting point for this walk is not (as we usually would) from a pub car park, please take time to ensure that you choose a parking spot with thought for local residents.
DISTANCE: Approx 5 miles (shorter options possible – see map)
TIME: 2 hours – depending on pace
TERRAIN: Sandy / grassy paths and woodland
STOPS: Fynn Valley Terrace, The Swan (Westerfield), The Fountain (Tuddenham)
OS MAP: Explorer 197
START POINT OS REFERENCE: 202 466
As always please keep your dog under close control and follow any advisory signs. Always check the map before setting off.
From the dead end of Holly Lane take the path ahead through the trees. After approx. 300m cross a slightly staggered junction with a path meeting you from the left and continue ahead with the motorcross track to your right. Continue under the railway bridge.
As you emerge from the railway bridge turn right and head through the gate. As the grassy hill rises take care under foot as there are lots of rabbit holes. After approximately 300m the path continues through a gate into a wooded area. Keep straight ahead, eventually crossing a small wooden bridge. The path emerges and follows a field edge, again stick to the well-trodden path which weaves its way back over another small wooden bridge, the path bears sharp right and joins Playford Lane.
Turn left and follow the lane for a short distance until you reach another gate and foot path sign on your left.
Pass through the gate and follow the path (you’re on the Fynn Valley Walk) for approx. 1 mile, running along the opposite side of the valley from where you have just walked.
Option 1: If you wish to follow the single loop short route, turn left and follow the path passing point 2 (on your left) and retrace your steps back under the railway bridge to the start.
Option 2: To continue on the second loop of our figure of eight turn right and take the track uphill. After about half a mile the track starts to descend down towards the village (Tuddenham) and eventually becomes Fynn lane. Beware of traffic as this quiet road serves a number of houses.
Just before you reach The Fountain (public house), take the footpath signed on the left and pass through a metal gate into a field. You’re back on the Fynn Valley Walk. At the end of the first section of meadow pass through the gate and continue ahead. You will eventually reach a second gate and arrive at a bridge over the stream.
At this point the official Fynn Valley Walk takes you to the left and will return you to point 5. We suggest keeping straight ahead, walking through the wooded area. As you leave the trees the path runs along the side of the meadow, passing through a gate and returning you to the junction of point 2.
Turn right, passing under the railway bridge and retrace your steps to the start.