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The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park

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The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park
Author: adnams, Published: 10 Apr 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park Walking Guidestar1 The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park Walking Guidestar1 The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park Walking Guidestar1 The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park Walking Guidestar1 The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park Walking Guide
Suffolk, Pin Mill
Walk Type: River or lakeside
The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park Walking Guide boot The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park Walking Guide
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A 5.5 mile figure-of-eight pub walk from the Butt and Oyster in the hamlet of Pin Mill, Suffolk. The Butt and Oyster sits right on the banks of the River Orwell and is renowned for its Adnams ales, good food and great views. The walking route consists of two loops from the hamlet, meaning you can complete the entire walk (5.5 miles) or just walk the first loop into Cliff Plantation (2.5 miles) or the second loop into Woolverstone Park (3 miles). There’s huge variety throughout the walk with dense woodland, cliff-top views, quiet farm lanes, formal parkland and the harbours and marinas along the River Orwell.

The route has steady gradients throughout plus one steep (but short) climb within Cliff Plantation. There are steps, gates and stiles to negotiate on both loops. There is just one stile within the first loop (with open fencing to the side for dogs to pass through) and four stiles within the second loop (all with purpose-built dog gates at the side). The paths can be fairly muddy after rain and in winter. The paths through Woolverstone Park cross fields that are likely to be holding sheep so take care with dogs. The hamlet of Pin Mill gets very busy at peak times (weekends, holidays) so it might be best to time your walk for a quieter day. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours for the full walk.

Pin Mill is a small hamlet on the south bank of the River Orwell, about 4 miles south-east of Ipswich in Suffolk. The walk starts and finishes from the Butt and Oyster pub, right on the waterfront. The pub does have its own small car park, but while you’re completing the walk, please use the pay and display village car park (on the left before you reach the waterfront), which is 30p per hour (correct Spring 2014). If this car park is full, you can park in nearby Chelmondiston and adjust the walk to start at Chelmondiston Church. Approximate post code IP9 1JW.

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Walk Sections

Start to Cliff Plantation
Start to Cliff Plantation

Start point: 51.9964 lat, 1.2124 long
End point: 51.9959 lat, 1.2137 long

Standing alongside the Butt and Oyster with your back to the river, walk straight ahead along the village lane, heading back towards the public car park. Just a few yards after passing the car park entrance on the right, you’ll come to a footpath crossing the road. Turn left and follow the path up the flight of concrete steps.

Keep ahead along the tarmac driveway and continue on to the grass path between garden fences. Follow the fenced path as it swings left with horse paddocks to the right. Pass through the metal kissing gate to enter the National Trust woodland, Cliff Plantation.

Cliff Plantation to Clamp House
Cliff Plantation to Clamp House

Start point: 51.9959 lat, 1.2137 long
End point: 51.9951 lat, 1.2319 long

Keep straight ahead on this path through the stretch of cliff-top woodland (well in Suffolk terms, this is a cliff!), with the Orwell Estuary visible through the trees down to the left. As the fence on the right ends, simply keep ahead in the same direction. At the first signed junction of paths keep straight ahead again.

Continue on the path winding downhill and you’ll pass a cunningly placed bench on the left should you wish to sit and enjoy the peaceful setting which includes an amazing carpet of bluebells in the spring. The path then climbs up a short steep slope (take care as this can be a little slippery) to continue its journey through the woodland. Continue some distance further on the meandering and undulating path. At the next signed junction, keep ahead again. Eventually the path leads you out of the woodland, swinging right to reach a junction of paths alongside a private property, Clamp House.

Clamp House to Chelmondiston Church
Clamp House to Chelmondiston Church

Start point: 51.9951 lat, 1.2319 long
End point: 51.9908 lat, 1.2097 long

Turn right along the woodland track, heading directly away from the river. Pass through the kissing gate, alongside the vehicle entrance gate for Clamp House, and you’ll come to a junction of tracks. Keep straight ahead, ignoring the track off to the left. The track passes a reservoir to the left and then winds uphill, with an open field to the left.

Where the woodland on the right ends, keep ahead on the track which winds between open crop fields. Take time to enjoy the expansive views from this point. The track leads you past Hill Farm. Keep straight ahead on the bridleway between hedges which leads you steadily downhill to a junction with the village road.

Cross over with care to take the lane opposite, Hollow Lane. Follow the lane climbing steadily and as it swings left you’ll see the church tower ahead. Follow the road as it swings right and then left to reach the entrance gate for Chelmondiston Church on the left.

Chelmondiston Church to Brickyard House
Chelmondiston Church to Brickyard House

Start point: 51.9908 lat, 1.2097 long
End point: 51.9965 lat, 1.2102 long

The original St Andrew’s church was built here hundreds of years ago, but after some years of neglect it was almost completely rebuilt in the 1860s. In 1944 the church was destroyed by a V2 rocket and it was not until 1952 that this replacement was commissioned.

With the church on the left, turn right into Collimer Close and after just a few paces turn right again down a gravel drive signed as a bridleway to Pin Mill. The track leads you past a number of properties and then down to a gate. Cross the stile alongside this gate (or you might find the gate open) and follow the path at 1 o’clock. The path soon leads you alongside a fenced paddock to the right with the village allotments visible beyond.

At the end of the field, pass through the gate and follow the path across a stream. Fork left through the pretty picnic area and you will emerge back to the car park entrance lane. Turn right and then left to follow the village road back towards the river.

Should you wish to finish the walk now, simply keep ahead to the Butt and Oyster. For the full walk, about 50 yards before the waterfront, look for a footpath sign on the left. Follow this path in front of the modern timber-clad house (on the left) and keep ahead onto the narrow footpath between hedges.

Follow this path along the back of a boatyard and over a stream. At the path junction, keep ahead and you’ll emerge out with the boatyard office, Harry King and Sons, ahead. Turn left for a few paces and then right to join the gravel drive with Brickyard House to the right.

Brickyard House to Yacht Club
Brickyard House to Yacht Club

Start point: 51.9965 lat, 1.2102 long
End point: 52.0058 lat, 1.1982 long

Go ahead along this drive and, as you approach the boatyard ahead, follow the hedge on the right as it swings right to reach a junction of paths (alongside a double garage). Turn left here onto the signed bridleway. Follow this track between hedgerows with the boatyard to the left.

At the next junction of paths, keep straight ahead (ignoring the bridleway off to the left). Follow this track along the edge of crop fields for some distance, crossing a stream along the way. Take time to enjoy the views over the estuary which open up occasionally to the right. Eventually, beyond a small belt of trees, you’ll come to a choice of two paths across an open crop field. Take the right-hand of these two paths.

At about 11 o’clock you’ll see the mansion at the centre of Woolverstone Park sitting on top of the hill. Woolverstone Hall was built in 1776 for William Berners, a property developer from London. Unlike many 18th century houses, the mansion is as attractive from the back as it is from the front and is considered to be one of England’s finest examples of Palladian architecture. In 1950 the hall became a boarding school for boys and in 1992 it became an independent school for girls. Notable former students from the boarding school for boys include the comedian Phil Jupitus, the author Ian McEwan and the rugby player Martin Offiah.

The path leads you over a small pretty stream and to a fork, keep right here signed for the Stour and Orwell Path. The path continues with woodland to the left and marshes/mud flats for the Orwell on the right. Take care as this section can be a little boggy. You will eventually emerge out to a concrete slipway with the Royal Harwich Yacht Club to the left.

Yacht Club to Woolverstone Church
Yacht Club to Woolverstone Church

Start point: 52.0058 lat, 1.1982 long
End point: 52.0021 lat, 1.1892 long

Keep right for a few paces and then left onto the grass path along the back of the beach. Immediately after passing the yacht club, you’ll come to a T-junction with a concrete track. Turn left and follow it as it swings right, passing the distinctive Cat House on the right. The story goes that, in the 18th century, a supporter of the smugglers on the river displayed his stuffed white cat in a window here to let the smugglers know they were safe from customs men – hence the name.

After passing the double garage for Cat House, turn left down the signed footpath, a fenced grass path with the boatyard/car park to the left and woodland to the right. The path will lead you through a section of woodland and then out into playing fields. Keep ahead to follow the path, staying close to the fence for Woolverstone Church on the left. Follow the fence as it swings left to reach the church entrance on the left.

Woolverstone Church to End
Woolverstone Church to End

Start point: 52.0021 lat, 1.1892 long
End point: 51.9966 lat, 1.212 long

With the church entrance on the left, follow the tarmac lane as it swings right and then take the first stile on the left. (Note: there are two stiles into this field, so make sure you take the first one, not the second.) Keep straight ahead though this field, which is likely to be holding sheep, following the line of the fence on the left.

Across to the left you’ll see the front view of Woolverstone Hall. At the end of the first field, go over the stile, cross the park’s entrance drive and take the stile opposite into the next field. On the left you’ll pass the old stables. The tall central water tower was a later addition to the building.

The next stile leads you into the open estate land. Continue on the path which initially follows the fence on the left. When the buildings on the left end, simply keep straight ahead on the path through the centre of the crop field. The path leads you through a belt of woodland passing a large pond on the right. Beyond this, keep ahead on the track with woodland to the right and an open crop field to the left. Halfway along this field, follow the track as it forks right through the edge of the woodland.

As the woodland on the right ends (where the track swings right), keep straight ahead on the path though the crop field. At the far side, keep ahead to join the path along the left-hand edge of the next field. (You are now retracing your steps on the path back to Pin Mill). Follow this path all the way to the end of the fields and then keep straight ahead on the bridleway, passing the boatyard to the right.

At the T-junction alongside a double garage on the right, turn left along the bridleway. Follow the track as it swings right, passing Pin Mill Sailing Club on the left and a row of pretty coastguard cottages on the right. Keep ahead for just a short distance to reach the Butt and Oyster 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.


1 responses to "The Butt and Oyster, Cliff Plantation and Woolverstone Park"

Edward L: Fabulous, going back again in a few weeks to see the bluebell display.

By Facebook on 2016-03-27 18:08:57

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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