Back in November 2020, in the midst of a national Covid lockdown, we set out to do a different circular walk each week. At some point, this turned into a project to complete 52 different walks (one for each week of a walking year) and to document those walks on this website. Well, given (thankfully) all the disruptions of a return to a more normal life, it has taken us almost two years. But this week we achieved our target!
Our walking project
You can find more about our walking project, including the full list of all 52 walks (and more, as we continue), HERE.
Read on for the blog on this week’s walk…
30 Sep – Moulton – Three churches walk
6.9 miles. Part of walk S27 in the Suffolk Circular Walks book. From Moulton, following the Three Churches Walk route to Delham and Gazeley.
To west Suffolk for our milestone 52nd walk. We followed the ‘Three Churches’ route, well described in the OS Suffolk walks book, although 7 miles was enough for us today, so we missed out the additional loop to Denham castle. We started out at the 15th century Packhorse bridge in Moulton – a quirky edifice, though seeming somewhat stranded these days, with the river Kennet now reduced to barely a drainage ditch.
It was one of those Autumn days that had you adding layers when the wind picked up under low, grey skies, and shedding them when the sun occasionally threatened to break through. But this would be a good walk in most weathers, with well-waymarked paths in good nick, passing through woodland and rolling Suffolk fields, punctuated by those three churches – St Peter’s at Moulton, St Mary’s at Dalham, and All Saints at Gazeley.
The Dalham church is approached through parkland up an attractive avenue of horse chestnuts that was bombarding us with conkers today. It sits next to the imposing Dalham Hall, which has the dubious distinction of being the childhood home of Cecil Rhodes and today houses a racing stud (we are just a few miles from Newmarket here) owned by the ruling family of the UAE.
The interior of the final church at Gazeley offers a rather spectacular set of medieval roof carvings. Unfortunately, they are too high up to see properly, though photos in the church show beautifully-carved animals, humans, monsters, and, in one case, a man’s backside being bared in what is tactfully described as “an act of defiance”. Speaking of acts of defiance, whoever wrote the slightly bizarre inscription on the tomb set prominently before the altar obviously had a score to settle. Here, we are told, the pious Alice Peer “lies at rest (secure) from all her Enemies”.
The last mile or so of the walk back to Moulton is the least charming, being mostly on a country lane with fairly regular passing cars. But this was more than compensated by arrival back in Moulton, which took us to the excellent Packhorse Inn, where we took advantage of the bar and the ‘grazing menu’.
When we started this project back in November 2000, the pubs were locked. We couldn’t manage a spontaneous pub-stop on one of our walks until Mildenhall the following May. We’ve been making up for lost time since. Now we’ve “finished”, what next? We’ll keep walking, and keep recording new walks here. But maybe we’ll actually go back and do one or two of the 52 again – particularly those where the pub was closed first time around!