The Ship at Levington

A return to the River Orwell for a winter walk packed with wildlife

Let’s not beat about the bush, 2020 was tough for our pubs, restaurants and hotels. Those that were able to, found ways to diversify, offer take-away menus and even deliveries – cementing our need for hospitality at the heart of our local communities.

Pub Walks with Darcy has long been one of our most popular regular features and so we’re working hard to continue to bring you new routes to explore and great dog-friendly pubs to visit. Before you set out on this new route – or any from the archive of walks on our website – please ensure you check the current COVID guidelines and that the pub you’re heading to is open and has capacity for you when you arrive. Book ahead is our advice.

And so to the route. Regular readers will know that we love a river walk and particularly in the winter. This route from
The Ship at Levington abuts a previous pub walk and can be easily joined up for a longer outing. The first stretch takes us towards the river along a lengthy boardwalk and it’s the first chance to start spotting wildlife. First on our list were deer grazing on open pasture to the west of the path.

A friendly robin joined us along the boardwalk, skimming along the tall rushes, occasionally clinging to a wavering stalk to allow us to catch up. Needless to say there was plenty of birdlife for the twitchers among you, just remember to keep dogs under close control where there is ground nesting.

The stretch of path along the river is like leafing through the pages of a photo album. As many of the trees had lost the bulk of their leaves, the naked branches created frames for our snapshot views of the Orwell. Emerging from Home Wood, Nacton Shore beckons ahead. It’s an ideal place to let your dog off its lead for a run on the beach but stick to the sand unless you’re prepared to get the hose out when you get home, because that mud won’t be detaching itself with a quick rub down, you have been warned!

The Walk

DISTANCE: Approx 3 miles

TIME: 1 hour – depending on pace

TERRAIN: Grassy field, boardwalk and river paths

STOPS: The Ship, Levington

OS MAP: Explorer 197


As always please keep your dog under close control and follow any advisory signs. Always check the map before setting off.

    1. Starting from The Ship Inn exit the car park and cross the road to the path opposite, directly beside the house. Follow the path and as it rounds the corner to the left pass through the gate.

    2. Once through the gate turn immediately right and head down the field. At the bottom of the field the path continues ahead on the boardwalk through the rushes. Stay straight ahead.

    3. At the end of the trail climb the steps on to the river path. Turn right. The path continues all the way to Nacton Shore where we chose to turn. Along the way take care as in places the sandy cliff is very eroded and could be challenging for young children or those less steady on their feet.

    4. Once you’ve taken your fill of the beach retrace your steps to the junction with the boardwalk.

    5. At this point either return to the pub reversing your outward journey or join this walk to our previous route by continuing on the river path. If taking this option we’ve marked the route with a dotted line on the map.