This walk through ancient woodland and open, upland country, links two of the prettiest river valleys in High Suffolk. There are fine views, interesting and aged vernacular buildings, and a stretch of Roman road, making this an interesting walk, with or without company.
c.5.5 miles; 2.5 hours
Park in a layby just beyond the former Church of St Peter, Ubbeston, and take the signed footpath below the church, heading west along the lovely Ubbeston valley and the headwaters of the River Blyth (often dry in summer) through ancient woodland and out onto the road (the Low Road between Heveningham and Laxfield). In half a mile turn left on a track to Grove Farm and continue on a signed path to the B1117. Here turn right along the road and soon left on a farm track to impressive and beautiful Boat Hall (GR324726). Continue on the same line across fields until, going through a hedge, the footpath is diverted eastwards and then south for some distance round Wood Farm between electric fences. The path is clearly signed but tends to be a little overgrown in summer.
On regaining the footpath on the map, continue to the top of a ridge overlooking the wide and open Yox valley with views across to Peasenhall. Here (GR327702) ignore the footpath sign and turn left along the right hand side of the hedge, through a wood and continue along the ridge above the Yox to a shaw through which you join a main track, turning left for Low Grange Farm appearing between the trees, with its fine pargetting.
From Low Grange Farm follow down the metalled track to cross a stream and climb gently to the left reaching Heveningham Long Lane after a mile. Turn left along the Roman road (a busy road, so take care), crossing the B1117 to continue uphill on the Roman road (now a grassy track) and descend back into the Ubbeston and Blyth Valley. In regaining the road, turn left and return to the car.
BE AWARE: the last field before regaining the road usually has cattle; if they are at the ends of the field you are safe! Check before starting the walk.
Boats Hall is a Grade II listed Manor Farmhouse dating back to the 16C, and moated. The listing mentions an ‘..intact slatted cheese room..’.
Ubbeston Hall is a Grade II listed early 18c building with important historical connections.
And just for fun, here is an extract from Joseph Hodskin’s map of 1783 showing the same area.