May is the month to discover more walks in Suffolk as it is when the Suffolk Walking Festival is held, and this year some guided walks are of special interest to church lovers.
Seventy walks are planned between 13 and 29th May in 2023 and each has a walk leader who can interpret the landscape, knows about the history of the area or has specialist knowledge for that walk.
“We have the launch on 13th May at the beautiful Thornham estate with five walks in one day,” David Falk the Festival Director explained. “The Henniker family have been there since the 1800’s so we have a walk about the history of the estate, two foraging ‘tasting walks’, nibbling food as we go, there is a night safari, and a walk from Thornham to Mellis Common, along Cow Pasture Lane, a 1000 year old droving trail, coming back via the 14th century St Mary’s church, at Thornham Parva with its frescos.”
Simon Knott on his website Suffolk Churches says,
“You have to step inside to discover Thornham Parva church is one of the most remarkable small churches in East Anglia, a treasure house, an aesthetic pleasure, a delight. …A church that attracts visitors from all over the world. If it were in the Victoria and Albert Museum, we would willingly travel to London to see them and pay handsomely for doing so.”
There the walkers will see a depiction of the martyrdom of St Edmunds and learn more about the 14thcentury church.
There are two church-related walks for Rogation Day, when on 15th May a long distance walk will leave St Edmundsbury Cathedral to follow the parish boundary of St Mary’s with St Peter’s. You can also join in with ‘Beating the Bounds’ for Rogation Day on 20th May with a challenging and varied walk following the boundaries of the ecclesiastical parishes of Exning with Landwade, St Agnes Exning and St Mary Newmarket.
Some of the 70 Festival walks are free and for some there is a small fee which go towards covering the cost of organising the Festival, and any specific expenses, such as transport or refreshments. Most of the marketing and all the ticket sales are now online and the advertised walks state the length, time it will take and level of difficulty.
More details will be on the walking festival website at https://suffolkwalkingfestival.co.uk/
Ticket sales open on 1st March 2023.