Richard's Rambles: Sea views and fish and chips ... a perfect summer stroll
PUBLISHED: 10:09 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:26 01 August 2018
Welcome to our regular walks column – and what a perfect way to Enjoy Felixstowe More.
Over the coming months, I will be showing you how to get out and about on the Felixstowe peninsula, an opportunity to explore our wonderful area at all times of the year and get some exercise, too.
There will be a variety of walks of different lengths, some easy, some more strenuous, but hopefully something here for everyone of all ages to enjoy.
Today’s walk is a fairly easy one to start off with – heading from Old Felixstowe down to the picturesque fishing hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry and back.
Distance: 2.25 miles
Route: Good paths, some steps.
Map: OS Explorer 197 – but it’s fairly straightforward and a map is not essential.
Parking: Clifflands (pay and display).
If you are visiting Felixstowe Ferry and are fit enough to walk (and the weather is fine) then Clifflands car park in Cliff Road, Old Felixstowe, is often the best place to park – as parking is limited at the Ferry and can be full on busy days.
From the car park, take the flight of steps in the corner nearest the golf club down to the sea wall below.
Once on the wall, turn left (north) and head towards the Ferry and the River Deben estuary along the firm surfaced prom, which closer to the Ferry becomes a rougher sand and gravel track. There is lots to look at on the way – about a mile – with fishing boats coming and going, yachts, container ships, and at weekends lots of activity from members of the Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club, as well as the ever-changing sea, with its colours, attitudes and patterns. Walk here in summer and it can be milky blue and flat calm, and in winter a raging, pounding roar spitting spume at you.
On the landward side, there are always golfers to watch, as well as fine views of the countryside on the edge of Felixstowe – and even across to the BT Martlesham Heath site.
On this stretch, you pass two Martello Towers – known as T and U – built between 1805 and 1812 as part of a south and east coast chain of 103 similar structures to withstand the feared invasion by Napoleon’s forces. The walls of the fortresses are up to 15ft thick, and they were able to accommodate up to 24 men, stores and ammunition. As defences they were never put to the test. Today some are converted to homes, museums or stand derelict.
Arriving at Felixstowe Ferry, continue on the path until it almost reaches the sailing club when it will swing left and then down a flight of steps to the road.
The next leg is immediately ahead, up onto the river wall. However, it is a good point for a refreshments pit-stop – with excellent food on offer at both the Felixstowe Ferry Cafe, which has a 1950s and 60s theme, next to the car park, or Winkles cafe close to the jetty, and the Ferry Boat Inn, which dates back to the 1400s. As well as fish and chips, breakfasts and brunches, they all have a good range of food and drinks on their menus.
Having refuelled, continue the walk straight across onto the river wall, which was resurfaced last year.
Take a close look at the houseboats as you pass – one has a bunker offering an assortment of homegrown produce for sale, while another has some interesting characters to spot in the mud, particulary divers and a hippopotamus.
Keep walking until the path reaches a gate junction with fine views across the Felixstowe Marshes to the derelict and desolate ruins of Holmhill Farm, abandoned after the 1953 floods. Here turn left – onto a permissive path called the Tomline Wall, a bank built as a secondary line of defence against flooding from the sea. The wall runs between the two golf courses and is an attractive walk with plenty of interesting plants, insects, birds, and lots of golf to watch. As on the river wall, beware of flying golf balls – though these are rarely a problem.
At the end of the Tomline Wall, the path emerges onto Ferry Road and Cliff Road, cross safely and walk back to the Clifflands car park immediately behind the golf club.