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Bells and White Horses: The Middleton and Westleton Pub Trail

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Bells and White Horses: The Middleton and Westleton Pub Trail
Author: adnams, Published: 08 Apr 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Bells and White Horses: The Middleton and Westleton Pub Trailstar1 Bells and White Horses: The Middleton and Westleton Pub Trailstar1 Bells and White Horses: The Middleton and Westleton Pub Trailstar1 Bells and White Horses: The Middleton and Westleton Pub Trailstar0 Bells and White Horses: The Middleton and Westleton Pub Trail
Suffolk, Middleton
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Bells and White Horses: The Middleton and Westleton Pub Trail
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Bells and White Horses: The Middleton and Westleton Pub Trail boot Bells and White Horses: The Middleton and Westleton Pub Trail
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A 4 mile circular walk taking in two Adnams pubs in Suffolk; The Bell Inn in Middleton and The White Horse in Westleton. Apologies if you were expecting a connection with the ‘Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross’ nursery rhyme! With a pub at the start and one half-way round there are endless excuses for lunch, dinner or just sampling the ale. The route follows the farmland and heath paths connecting the villages, taking in this peaceful stretch of the Suffolk countryside.

There are just a few gentle gradients and some of the unmade paths can become quite muddy after rain and in winter. There is one kissing gate and one stile on route (the stile has an open fence surround for dogs to pass through), but both the gate and stile can be avoided if you need, with just a short diversion along the village road. There are a couple of sections of walking along country lanes plus one section along the edge of a busier road – so take particular care of traffic at these points. Approximate time 1.5 to 2 hours.

Middleton village is located about 5 miles north-east of Saxmundham in Suffolk. The walk starts and finishes from The Bell Inn pub on The Street, which has its own car park. Approximate post code IP17 3NN.

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Walk Sections

Start to Vale House Farm
Start to Vale House Farm

Start point: 52.2549 lat, 1.5579 long
End point: 52.2579 lat, 1.5619 long

Leave the pub car park via the vehicle entrance and turn left along the village lane, taking care of any traffic. Follow the road, Rectory Road, as it bends right and on the right you’ll pass the village school with the village church behind. It is not unusual for schools, churches and pubs to be in close proximity within a village – an area at the centre of the village often described as providing education, salvation and damnation!

Just a few paces after the school, turn left onto the signed footpath which passes to the left of the Old Church Room cottage. The path continues through a (sometimes boggy!) area of scrub. Keep ahead and then cross a footbridge over a stream to continue on the rough grass path. You will emerge out to a T-junction with a tarmac lane at Vale House Farm.

Vale House Farm to White Horse Inn
Vale House Farm to White Horse Inn

Start point: 52.2579 lat, 1.5619 long
End point: 52.2663 lat, 1.5749 long

Turn right along the lane, passing a range of outbuildings and a converted barn on the left. About 100 yards later, turn left along the stone track, signed as a footpath. Follow this surfaced track steadily uphill with open fields to the left. Over the brow of the hill you’ll pass a small wind turbine on the right. Simply keep straight ahead on the obvious track as it winds between fields. The track will eventually lead you to a T-junction with Yoxford Road.

Turn right here along the road, taking care of any traffic. After passing the property The Grange on the left (and the adjacent track – Wash Lane), fork left over a stile into a field. (Note: if you wish to avoid this stile and the gate at the far side of the field, just keep ahead to the road junction, turn left and then continue until you see the gravel drive on the left up to the church. This is just before the war memorial. Now pick up the instructions from the last paragraph in this section).

If you’re following the field path, cross the field diagonally to the opposite corner and pass through the kissing gate into the church yard. The fourteenth-century thatched village church of St. Peter in Westleton was built by monks from Sibton Abbey near Saxmundham. It is Grade II listed. Keep right, passing the church to the left. Follow the gravel drive down to the road. Turn left along the road.

Follow the pavement, passing the village hall and war memorial on the right. On the right you’ll see the White Horse Inn, turn right down the stone driveway before it and you’ll come to the garden entrance on the left. Take time for a pit stop – you are almost half way round this walk.

White Horse Inn to King's Farm
White Horse Inn to King's Farm

Start point: 52.2663 lat, 1.5749 long
End point: 52.2637 lat, 1.5846 long

When you are ready to continue, return to the stone track between the pub and its car park. Standing with the pub to the left and the car park to the right, turn right along the village road and you will pass the village pond on the right.

You will reach the crossroads in the heart of the village. If you glance to the right you’ll see the village stores and also Chapel Books, the aptly named second-hand bookshop based in a converted chapel. Westleton is a thriving village and received national publicity after it was revealed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had spent the night preceding their first wedding anniversary here.

Go straight ahead into Bakers Lane. Continue over the brow of a small hill and then, after passing Briar Cottage on the right, turn left onto the signed footpath into Westleton Common. After just a few yards you’ll reach a crossroads with another track, turn right along this through the mix of gorse, heather and grassland.

Soon the path swings left to leave the common and passes under a tunnel of hedgerow plants with fenced fields each side. With hawthorn, elder and brambles, this sort of ancient hedgerow is a favourite with foragers! Beyond this tunnelled hedgerow you’ll come to King’s Farm on the left, with its converted barn topped with a cat and mouse weather vane.

King's Farm to Treatment Works
King's Farm to Treatment Works

Start point: 52.2637 lat, 1.5846 long
End point: 52.2566 lat, 1.5752 long

Keep straight ahead along the gravel driveway. You will emerge out to a T-junction with a quiet lane. Turn right along this, taking care of any traffic. After just one field length, turn right again onto the signed bridleway, a pretty grass lane known as Hardpiece Lane.

You will come to a junction with Mill Road. Cross over and take the main grass path directly opposite. Keep ahead along this grass and stone track through another section of Westleton Common, lined each side with dense gorse. The grass track emerges from the common and continues with fenced fields each side. Note: the wire fencing is very open and the fields are likely to be holding cattle so take care that dogs don’t stray into the fields. On the left you’ll pass a sewerage treatment works.

Treatment Works to End
Treatment Works to End

Start point: 52.2566 lat, 1.5752 long
End point: 52.255 lat, 1.5583 long

Keep straight ahead on the wide surfaced track continuing between fields. You’ll emerge to a T-junction with the main road, Reckford Road. (Note: this next section of the walk follows the edge of this busy road – take extreme care of the traffic, using the grass verges where possible and crossing over where necessary to make yourself visible within the bends.)

Turn left along the road edge. Follow the road over the river at Reckford Bridge and a little further along you’ll pass the 30mph speed restriction signs marking the start of Middleton village. Follow the left-hand grass verge until you reach the sharp left-hand bend in the road. Cross over with extreme care to take the side road signed to Middleton village. Follow the quiet village access lane ahead, keeping right at the fork to pass The Old Rectory on the right. The lane will lead you past the school and church and beyond this you’ll come to The Bell Inn for some well-earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author adnams and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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