Stoke by Nayland - Withermarsh Green - Polstead - Stoke by Nayland

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This walk was originally contributed by Anne and Brian Sandland. Walkingworld is very grateful for Sid Marks to be taking over this route, January 2021.

Stoke by Nayland warrants careful exploration (as does the equally interesting village of Nayland, not far away beside the A134). If you park outside the church, by its lych-gate, you cannot fail to note the grand old buildings around, including the Guildhall on the opposite side of the road.

But you must not tarry too long, because there is much more to be seen on your walk. The undulating nature of the countryside through which you pass is a considerable surprise when you remember this is East Anglia! There are some quite unexpected ups and downs, but the increased effort is more than repaid by the views. And then you pass through Polstead!

This village was famous throughout the length and breadth of Victorian Britain as a result of a notorious murder, which occurred there or nearby. Known as the Red Barn Murder (because that was where the body of Maria Marten was found following a dream experienced by one of her relatives) it was the subject of melodramas produced in local theatres and music halls throughout the land. The full story is available from many sources, including a booklet available at the church, which you can visit on this walk and where the mortal remains of Maria are buried in the churchyard. From here can be seen the hall which also figures (along with its erstwhile proprietors) in the story. The house where Maria spent her childhood and from which her father carried on his traditional country trade can also be viewed during the course of the walk.

This is one of those perfect circular walks where you begin and end precisely at the same point with no ground needing to be covered twice. You issue from the track which has led you back from the golf course (part of St Edmund Way) beside the Guildhall and exactly opposite the lych-gate where you began. It is also a walk well worth doing in all seasons. But if you decide to do it on a Sunday and want to park at the lych-gate entrance, get there before 11am and the commencement of the grand peal of bells!

England - East England - Suffolk - Countryside

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Lake/Loch, Pub, River, Wildlife, Woodland