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

You need to log in as a member of Walkingworld to access the details for this walk. Join or log in above if you are already a member. Access is available to Walkingworld subscribers or you can buy the walk individually for £1.95 once you are logged in.

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


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Lake/Loch, Pub, River, Wildlife, Woodland
05/07/2019 - Sid Marks

Decided to re-walk this walk after 7 years,still a lovely walk with great views. Just a couple of updates At waymark 4,the sign post after Thatcher's cottage is completely hidden in the undergrowth. At waymark 8 after crossing the bridge,you take the left track uphill,not the middle one which is a dead end. At waymark 9 the marker post past the farm house is missing. At waymark 12,the easily missed path on the right is just before a black iron gate. At waymark 17,the damaged stile is no longer there. At waymark 21,take the 2nd sunken track. At waymark 25,the directions across the golf course are as follows. Enter the course by the 2nd entrance as mentioned,not the 1st one,follow the marker post straight ahead heading south on the right of the 16th fairway,trees on your right.There are marker posts all the way to the top.When you reach the gravel track at the top, turn left and follow it to the end,Continue ahead,passing a pond on your right along side the 3rd green,which is also on your right.Pass behind the 3rd green,cross straight over the 7th tee to arrive at the gap in the hedge on to the track.

09/11/2014 - Sarah Smith

A very enjoyable walk, with plenty of ups and downs. A reasonable amount of road walking, all but one on very quite country roads. Agree with the previous comments regarding the confusion on the golf club, it did have us going round in circles a little.

15/12/2013 - Margaret Baldry

16.12.13 Certainly a lovely walk with plenty of ups and downs and variety of countryside which we will definitely do again. Still some navigation issues : the ploughed field at 10 has a wide track around the edge, so no need to have mud-caked boots. The directions at 18 were confusing: the dilapidated stile did not seem to exist and we could not find a path to follow if we turned right. Its probably better (and more interesting) not to go through the squeeze gate, but to turn right as you reach it and take the path up the field and come out at the top of the village. At point 23,having turned left into Keepers Lane you need to bear right rather than follow what appears to be the road with priority. The instruction at point 24 seems to be redundant. There were some waymark posts across the golf course, which we followed, but the gap through on to the track is not obvious.

21/10/2012 - Sid Marks

A very nice walk with great views. As previously said in the comments, we also got completely baffled by the directions on the golf course, there are waymarked arrows across the course but led us to a dead end, a GPS unit is required here to complete the walk. Some other pointers to look out for on the walk are, at the start there is a free car park to use 50 yards down from the church. After crossing the stile at waymark 6, you turn left on the track to reach the farm buildings. The path at waymark 10 across the field is now a ploughed farmers field resulting in thick mud. At waymark 16 after you have crossed 3 stiles you pass through a kissing gate, cross a large wooden footbridge and up some wooden steps to continue the walk, not 2 more stiles as stated. At waymark 17, if you fancy visiting the Cock Inn pub, turn right on the path which says to ignore, follow it to the road, turn left and the pub is 50 yards on the right. Retrace your steps to continue the walk.

28/03/2011 - John Read

This is a good varied walk with villages, open fields, woodland and streams. We started from the pond in Polstead (easier parking with a small motorhome. The only problem we encountered was going across the golf club. The point where you start across the course is not marked as a footpath, the only sign being a golf club sign showing the way to the next hole. Once on the course there is a complete lack of footpath signs and I have written to the secretary of the golf club on this point. We were using a gps device with OS mapping otherwise we might have had problems. But still a wonderful walk which we are likely to do again in another season.