Alton Water - Holbrook Bay - Harkstead - Holbrook

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The walk starts with flat, level terrain on paths that are shared by cyclists around the Alton Water reservoir. Set in beautiful Suffolk countryside, Alton Water is the largest area of inland water in Suffolk. You walk along the southern bank path of the reservoir and leave the path at the visitors' centre, first chance for a tea break. The route then takes you off towards the River Stour and the Royal Hospital School. This is no ordinary school, mark my words. This is where those binoculars would come in very handy and a chance to put to good use that new camera you got for Christmas. Breathtaking views can be had of the Stour and of the wildlife that takes advantage of the water in this area. You then head for the pub. Lunch can be had in this Suffolk pink pub called the Baker's Arms. From here we walk along quiet country roads which could include the odd farmer's field if the weather has been kind. I've had the displeasure of trying to navigate a sodden, ploughed field and the weight gain on the feet is not to be underestimated. A great pastime if mud-smuggling is your thing. The route takes you to Holbrook, another pub if you need the toilet or have acquired a taste for real ale. The route takes you through All Saints Church. Take a look inside if the church is open, because there is an interesting story to be told. Just the other side of the church is Holbrook Fire Station. Ladies may have to be led away from the fire station due to a phenomenon called 'what women want'.

The route now heads back towards Alton Water, going past the wiring and clunking parts of the reservoir otherwise known as the 'workings'. Once back at the reservoir you pick up the northern path that heads back to the car park. There are plenty of opportunities along this route to pop down to the water's edge and take in your surroundings and the wildlife that is in abundance. This section can get rather muddy in sections, so either a walking-stick or a good balance would be beneficial. This section also contains some steep assents and descents, but these are on good-quality paths. The only other real hazard in this area would be the cyclists. If you still have some energy left then you may wish to visit Jimmy's Farm as featured on BBC TV. All you need to do is turn right out of the car park and head for Ipswich along the A137. The farm is signposted along this route.

England - East England - Suffolk - River Walk


Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Mostly Flat, Nature Trail, Pub, Restaurant, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
10/5/2019 - Sid Marks

Re-walked this after 9 years to the day,and still remains one of my favourites. Both car parks situated either end of the bridge are now free to park.At waymark 13,the house to the right of the path is owned by Griff Rhys Jones,as mentioned to me by a few locals as I walked past. No updates required as all paths are clear and the walk instructions still remain correct. Walk distance came in as 13.5 miles

4/1/2013 - Claire Sparrow

Walked this route on Good Friday. I made it 14 miles with my pedometer which is pretty accurate and it took us 4 hrs 30 mins. The going was good with just a few muddy places although we did stick to the main route and didn't take any shortcuts. The tide was in so we didn't walk along the shore of the Stour after the Royal Hospital School. Not a particularly dog friendly route as they must be kept on leads around Alton Water but very enjoyable none the less.

10/5/2010 - Sid Marks

An excellent walk with superb views; perfect walk instructions too. The Bakers arms pub at waymark 25 is an excellent stop. Get there before 2.30, and they serve up 2 meals for £10. Highly recommended walk.