Day 49: English Coastal Path


Thursday 27th June 2021

Today miles: 15.9 Total miles: 759.2

Gemma’s a broken woman and she decided to give today’s walk a miss, she’s going to rest her sore feet. Alfie is also going to stay behind and keep Gemma company. Before putting her feet up however, she drove me down to Aldeburgh and dropped me off at the end of the A1094. The first part of today’s route meant a walk inland for 2 miles between the A1094 and River Alde towards Snape. It’s a busy road but fortunately there’s a footpath all the way. This is still officially part of the Suffolk Coast Path and also the Sailors Path. I put my headphones in to drown out the sound of the irritating, heavy traffic until I reached Black Heath Wood. This section of The Sailors Path towards Snape is really pretty and I was losing myself to the changing, autumnal views around me.

Legend has it that The Sailors Path was trodden down by local sailors. Finding themselves stuck in the Snape Maltings mud at low tide they would simply abandon their craft and instead walk into Aldeburgh. I didn’t have any particular reason to go into Snape so instead I just stuck to the right of way to take me directly to The Maltings. When I arrived on the fringe of Snape I heard, then saw a huge group of around 100 people all excitedly getting ready for their days walk, a local ramblers group I guessed. The next mile and a half towards The Maltings was as pretty as the previous two miles and I eventually arrived at The Snape Malting arts complex. The collection of buildings known as ‘The Maltings’ was previously created for the processing of barley but when that function ended in the 1960’s it became an established concert venue, several shops and more importantly a cafe. It’s very, very popular. I waited patiently in the queue, bought myself a coffee and took an extended refreshment break looking out over the River Alde.

The next 6 miles towards the South bank of the River Alde opposite Aldeburgh Marshes was attractive and uneventful. I was amazed at how quickly the crowds around Snape and The Maltings had all but disappeared. It was a little depressing when I looked out towards the coast and could see that Aldeburgh was only about a mile away despite having already walked over 11 miles to this point. I climbed up the embankment to again stand on yet another grassy sea wall. I took another long break and ate some snacks whilst watching the crowds moving along Sudbourne Beach. I also saw my first Martello Tower (more on these structures later).

For the next 4 miles I found that my eyes would be continually drawn to the left as my attention was pulled first towards the old, defunked Orfordness transmission station and then secondly the Orfordness Lighthouse. I contacted Gemma with about 2 miles to walk and we arranged to meet up in Orford. We actually bumped into each other about a 1/2 mile outside of Orford and walked into the town together. After a brief amble, we settled down for a cold drink at the Riverside Tearooms.

All the last four days I’ve walked close to 57 miles. It’s was nice to have some company and nice to be able to sit down at a cafe or a pub and enjoy a drink. I’ve got lots of other walking planned over the next few months, including completing my last Munro, bagging a few more Corbetts and walking the West Highland Way. I’m hoping to be back to walking the English Coastal Path later in the year.

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