Richard's Rambles: An autumn walk with river views
PUBLISHED: 17:37 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:37 28 October 2018
This stroll takes you through some little-used country paths in Trimley St Martin to Levington Marina and on to Trimley Foreshore.
Distance: 4.75 miles
Map: OS Explorer 197
Parking: Plenty of on-street parking in the Cavendish Road and Mill Lane area of Trimley St Martin.
It was a grey and gloomy autumn morning when I last did this walk earlier this month, but it was still a joy to be away from my desk, the traffic and busyness of the working week.
Set off down Grimston Lane bearing right into Thorpe Lane and go over the level crossing – checking carefully and listening for any trains first. Follow Thorpe Lane ahead and then swinging right and then left to the Goslings Track. Just past the track sign, take a right and go through an old five-bar gate (signed footpath only, no horses) and take the downhill path through the trees. Be sure to stop a short way down to admire the fine view of the fishing lake to your right. At the bottom the path passes the old pumping station, now converted to a lovely home, and then climbs uphill with views left of the River Orwell.
The track passes some cottages and the edge of Woodruff Grove, then an old war-time pillbox near a field entrance, before going right along Hill Cottage Track to the junction with the Morston Hall Track, just before the Morston Hall level crossing. Take the Morston Hall Track to your left and follow the path past old farm byres and barns into open country.
At this point there is a sharp downhill drop into a gully at Fire Hill and quick climb out again before the footpath runs between fields (with a hedge on your right). Keep an eye out for deer in the fields just here – always a lovely sight, even if it is just fleeting as they are easily spooked in such open countryside.
Continue straight along the path until it reaches the tarmac driveway to the Suffolk Yacht Harbour, or Levington Marina as most people call it.
Turn left and head the for the marina – when you reach the entrance barrier, pass through but immediately turn left and take the wooded path downriver with the Orwell on your right. There are excellent views of the many yachts berthed in the marina, with the striking contrast of the Port of Felixstowe’s Trinity Terminal and its massive container ships beyond.
Work on the Suffolk Yacht Harbour began in 1967, the vision of chartered surveyor Michael Spear working with landowner Charles Stennett, to transform 12 acres of flooded marshland into berths for local yachtsmen.
The first berths were ready in three years and since then the marina has expanded and grown to a first-class facility able to accommodate 550 boats of all sizes and includes services such as chandlery, sailmaking, sales, engineering, rigging, and a sailing school. Its success put the Orwell and Stour on the map for sailing.
The footpath eventually emerges at Loompit Lake, where there is plenty of wildlife to see throughout the seasons.
Cormorant are a common sight and there are also snow white little egrets, often seen foraging on the marshy wetlands and tiny islands on the river edge. The fishing lake is home to tufted duck, little grebe, gadwall, wigeon, geese and terns among others, and there is always the exciting chance of spotting a kingfisher.
Here the path is a fragile barrier that keeps the freshwater lake separate from the mixed water of the tidal river – a strange spit that at its end has Trimley foreshore, a popular place in summer for generations for family picnics, playing and swimming. Turn left here and head up the gently rising path (Goslings Track) which eventually gives fine views to the left across the area first walked, and the old pumping station nestling in the valley below, before passing through a farmyard and then making your way back along Grimston Lane to the level crossing.
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