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Arger Fen and Tiger Hill

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Arger Fen and Tiger Hill
Author: Steve Hallam, Published: 30 Mar 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Arger Fen and Tiger Hill Walking Guide star1 Arger Fen and Tiger Hill Walking Guide star1 Arger Fen and Tiger Hill Walking Guide star1 Arger Fen and Tiger Hill Walking Guide star0 Arger Fen and Tiger Hill Walking Guide
Suffolk, Bures
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Arger Fen and Tiger Hill
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Arger Fen and Tiger Hill Walking Guide boot Arger Fen and Tiger Hill Walking Guide
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19 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 21 mph SSW
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This circular walk of just over 4 miles is located about 7 miles north of Colchester, in south Suffolk. It encompasses a rich variety of different landscapes and habitats, including some that are quite unusual for East Anglia. There is even a little valley that feels as if it has been misplaced from the hills of the West! Much of it traverses either nature reserves or land set aside for nature conservation, where work is ongoing to improve its wildlife value. Look out for the delightful and isolated Assington Mill, with a revolving water wheel.

Some sections of the route are likely to be muddy or boggy in all but the driest conditions. Cattle will be encountered at one point. This is a beef suckler herd with a bull, but they are Charolais, so are both pretty and usually placid. Having said that, the combination of cattle and nature habitats means that this is a walk for dogs happy to be under close control. You will need to negotiate several kissing gates and the section with cattle involves six stiles. Around a kilometre of the route is on quiet, tarmac, country lanes. Allow 2 hours.

The walk starts at the main car park for Arger Fen and Spouse's Vale nature reserve, managed by Suffolk Wildlife Trust, at postcode CO8 5BN. The nearest bus services are to Bures, which is 1.6 miles away. These are the Chambers bus routes 753 and 754 between Colchester and Bury St Edmunds.

Walk Sections

Start to Leavenheath Farmhouse
Start to Leavenheath Farmhouse

Start point: 51.9823 lat, 0.8095 long
End point: 51.9914 lat, 0.8287 long

From the car park, enter the nature reserve through the wooden kissing gate and follow the wide path that runs straight ahead, along the top of the ridge. Ignore the two paths that turn off left, down into the wood. Just after you have passed (and ignored) a wooden kissing gate on your right, you will come to a junction of paths. Take the path that forks right, leaving the one that runs straight on. Follow this path, which can get very muddy, to an open part of the reserve, where a thicket of saplings has sprung up on both sides of the, now grassy, path. Keep straight on across the open area, ignoring paths that run off both left and right.

At the far side of this area, you will come to a large gap in a mature hedge. A yellow footpath arrow on a post directs you to turn left, once you have gone through the gap. Obey it! Follow the path along the field boundary, keeping the hedge to your left. The rather scruffy looking field to your right is in the process of being turned from an intensively farmed arable field into a wildflower meadow. Give it time. The path continues alongside the hedge, keeping a scrubby and banked area to the right. This is actually the bank of an old irrigation reservoir. Follow the path past the reservoir and then on, keeping along the side of the field until you come to a wooden five bar gate and a wooden kissing gate. This is the boundary of the nature reserve, as indicated by the information sign.

Go through the kissing gate and continue straight ahead along the mud track in front of you. At the point where the track turns into a tarmac lane, and the houses start, you have reached the start of the next section.

Leavenheath Farmhouse to Assington Mill
Leavenheath Farmhouse to Assington Mill

Start point: 51.9914 lat, 0.8287 long
End point: 51.9965 lat, 0.8181 long

Follow the lane past Leavenheath Farmhouse (the one with the black, self-standing sign in front of the brick wall) to a crossroads. At the crossroads turn left, to leave the village on a tarmac road. Follow this road, turn right when it does, and then (just past the first house after the bend) look out for a green metallic Public Footpath sign on the left side of the road.

Take this path. It is narrow and fenced at first, and then opens into a meadow, running down the slope to a wooden five bar gate. Go through this gate, and then the next one you come to. Follow the path through a strip of woodland and then over a wooden footbridge to reach Assington Mill. Admire the mill pond, and the all round lovely setting. And, yes, your route goes right through the middle of the buildings.

Assington Mill to End
Assington Mill to End

Start point: 51.9965 lat, 0.8181 long
End point: 51.9824 lat, 0.8096 long

As you walk through the collection of buildings at the mill you will see a still turning water wheel on your right. I am not sure if this is the original one, or a cosmetic addition! Follow the track up the slope to where the track turns sharp right. Do NOT follow it. Your route goes straight on, along a grassy path that crosses flat arable land. (If you prefer, you can turn left at this junction, taking a path that follows the valley back to Arger Fen. It is very pleasant, but you will miss arguably the best bit of the walk.)

At the end of the grassy path, cross straight over the tarmac road and take the field path that starts dead opposite. Follow this to a stile leading to a grass pasture, and hop over it (ignore the paths running to the right and left). You may note the sign about the bull. The next two fields are part of a beef unit. But panic not, unless a) your dog chases the cattle, b) someone in your party steals a new-born calf from in front of its mother, or c) someone takes up your dare to tickle the bull's testicles. Avoid these actions and you should be OK.

From the stile, keep straight on, walking alongside the fence on your left. Once over the stile into the second field, head for about 11 o'clock, passing to the LEFT of the telegraph pole in the middle of the field (so that the pole is on your right). Once over the crest you will see a stile in the fence running in front of you. On this stile is a yellow footpath arrow that shows the direction to head across the third field.

You will drop down into a dip in the field that runs down to a stile. On the far side of the stile is a delightful little valley with a stream running down it. At this point the valley is comprised of wet grassland and marsh. As you follow the path down the valley, Oak woodland takes over. The path hugs the left side of the stream all the way through the wood, which feels most unlike East Anglia. On the slope above you is a rare area of acid grassland, although there is no public access to this.

At the end of the wood you pass through a metal kissing gate and into a grass field. Continue on down the side of the stream, until it meets a larger stream. Do not cross this larger stream, but turn left and follow the stream through two grass fields to a tarmac road. Turn right onto the road and negotiate the ford as best you can (there is a pedestrian bridge). Carry on up the road until you see a wooden kissing gate on the left-hand side. At this point, you can also see some cars in the start car park, further up the road. One option is simply to walk back up the road to them. But a nicer one is to go through the gate and then take the path that leaves the right side of the picnic area and runs down a slope. After a few yards, turn right at a path T-junction. Follow this path up a steep little slope to another path T-junction, where there are two steps to help you. Turn right here and you are almost immediately back at the car park where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by iFootpath and the author SteveHallam 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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