Rendlesham Forest and Staverton Woodland walk

Explore the diversity of forest plantation and one of Suffolk’s few ancient woodlands.

Technical sheet
No. 3958026
A Capel St. Andrew walk posted on 02/09/20 by Aurelie-21. Update : 03/09/20
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h40[?]
Distance Distance : 12.43km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 38m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 32m
Highest point Highest point : 31m
Lowest point Lowest point : 4m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Capel St. Andrew
Starting point Starting point : N 52.083437° / E 1.430396°
Download : -

Description

(D/A) Starting from the main car park. From the information point in the main car park turn left along the car park entrance track. On reaching the main Forest entrance road cross over and continue straight ahead towards the Forest camp site. When the road bears right to the camp site, carry straight on join the Sandlings Walk (SW).

This is a long distance path from Ipswich to Southwold which celebrates what remains of the once extensive Sandlings Heath. Much is now fragmented and lost to plantation, housing and intensive farming, but landowners and conservationists are working hard to restore and maintain what remains of this rare and special habitat. The SW route is marked by silver plaques with the logo of a Nightjar which is a rare ground nesting heathland bird that hunts for moths and insects at dusk and dawn and the male makes a very distinct churring noise.

(1) At a crossroads of paths continue straight ahead leaving the SW which goes to the left. Remain on this Bridleway until you reach a metalled road where you turn left.

(2) On your right across the fields you will see Oak Wood and in the distance Water Wood. These private woodlands host many bluebells and wild daffodils in the spring. Buzzards are often seen soaring over the trees. Between the woods, buildings of Abbey Farm can be seen where Butley Priory once stood.

(3) At the end of the lane turn left at the T-junction towards Melton. You can walk on the wide grass verge. At the next T-junction turn right onto the busy Woodbridge Road towards Orford. After passing a small cottage set back in the trees on your left enter the woodland, known as The Thicks, at the Footpath sign. Cross over the track that leads to the cottage and continue through the woodland remaining on the defined path.

(4) On leaving the woodland follow the footpath, which heads north, and joins a sandy farm track to continue past Staverton Park on your left. After approx. 600m you will pass a track on your left which leads to the Shepherds Cottage, an 18th century thatched building hidden in the trees. The lakes then become visible on your left.

(5) As the farm track bears right turn left onto a bridleway to re-join the SW. (You remain on the SW until you reach the main entrance road into Rendlesham Forest in approx. 3 miles/4.8km). On your right you will pass the fence line of former Royal Air Force (RAF) Bentwaters. Used by the RAF during the Second World War and by the United States Air Force (USAF) during the Cold War, from 1951 to 1993. Bentwaters Park is now a commercial enterprise park and offers unique locations for film and television. Continue straight along the gravel access track and bridleway which borders the northern boundary of Rendlesham Forest.

(6) Take a track on the left which is signed for the SW and head south into the Forest. The path descends through open woodland and wet areas and crosses a small stream. Cross the busy Woodbridge Road and continue south.

(7) At a T-junction of tracks turn left, at the next T-junction turn left and then bear right. The grass track joins a wide gravel track which leads to the main Rendlesham Forest entrance road, on reaching the road leave the SW and turn right to walk past the end of Woodbridge Airfield and Folly House.

(8) Just past the free car park area turn right onto a concrete forest ride. The term “ride” means a track wide enough to allow a gap in the tree canopy through which sunlight can reach the ground, its original use is based around deer hunting in forests. Take the first ride on your left and continue straight ahead until you reach a T-junction. Turn left and head back towards the main forest car park and toilets.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 20m - Main car park
1 : km 0.88 - alt. 19m - Crossroad
2 : km 1.9 - alt. 13m - Field
3 : km 2.79 - alt. 15m - End of the lane
4 : km 3.98 - alt. 28m - Woodland
5 : km 5.94 - alt. 4m - Farm track
6 : km 7.7 - alt. 19m - Track
7 : km 9.83 - alt. 23m - T-junction
8 : km 11.16 - alt. 26m - Free car park
D/A : km 12.43 - alt. 20m - Main car park

Useful Information

Terrain : Mostly flat. Route follows Public Rights of Way footpaths and also permissive paths. Includes a 0.5 mile (800m) stretch along a busy road with no verge and approx. 1.5miles (2.4km) along a Quiet Lane and a road with wide grass verge.
Caution : Routes can be muddy in places. Please adhere to any Forestry Commission notices about felling operations and follow diversions.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

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