Long Melford to Sudbury Three Mills walk

Melford Hall, Long Melford, Sudbury, CO10 9AA

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Roydon Drift in late winter/early spring © Michael Graham

Roydon Drift in late winter/early spring

Start of the Melford Walk © Michael Graham

Start of the Melford Walk

A peaceful view in Melford Country park in January © Michael Graham

A peaceful view in Melford Country park in January

Borley Mill on a sunny day © Michael Graham

Borley Mill on a sunny day

Follow the telegraph poles after leaving Borley Mill © Michael Graham

Follow the telegraph poles after leaving Borley Mill

Swans on Brundon Mill pond © Michael Graham

Swans on Brundon Mill pond

18th century Brundon Mill, now a private house. © Michael Graham

18th century Brundon Mill, now a private house.

Salmon leap on Sudbury Water Meadows © Michael Graham

Salmon leap on Sudbury Water Meadows

Sudbury Mill from an old postcard probably from the late 19th century © Unknown

Sudbury Mill from an old postcard probably from the late 19th century

Gainsborough’s House the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough © Gainsborough House Society

Gainsborough’s House the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough

The statue of Thomas Gainsborough in Sudbury market place © Michael Graham

The statue of Thomas Gainsborough in Sudbury market place

Route overview

A pleasant walk from magnificent Melford Hall to Gainsborough's House in Sudbury, walking part of the old Gt. Eastern Long Melford to Sudbury railway line, visiting three old water mills and Sudbury Water Meadows en.route. Return by bus.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Melford to Sudbury Three mills walk
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Melford Hall Car Park TL867462

  1. Before you start, if you have the time, visit magnificent Melford Hall - home of the Hyde-Parker family, or have a coffee in the tea room . Then starting from the Melford Hall car park, turn right out of the gate, and keeping to the same side of the road, walk 600 metres until reaching until reaching the Cherry Lane Garden Centre. Entering the garden centre walk just past the building entrance and look for the public footpath sign in front of you. This is known as Hare Drift.

  2. Hare Drift continues along a concrete path until joining the main A134 Sudbury to Bury St. Edmund's road. The traffic on this road can be very fast, so crossing the road with great care go through the gate on the opposite side of the road, and turn immediately right, following the sign-posted path, known as Roydon Drift. Roydon Drift is an old green lane, now a bridleway leading to Acton Place.

    Show/HideRoydon Drift

    Roydon Drift is an old green lane, now a bridleway leading to Acton Place.

    Roydon Drift in late winter/early spring © Michael Graham
  3. After a 200 metres, Roydon Drift heads away from the road across fields on a slightly diagonal route along a delightful tree-lined path until reaching a small copse. Walk through this copse - cross an old stone bridge and then turn immediately left. Now continue past a small sewage works (on your right) until reaching the road at Acton Place. Acton Place was a large country house dating from the 16th century - mostly demolished in 1825, Turn right and follow the road until reaching the main A134 trunk road.

  4. Now cross the busy A134 road (again) with great care, and heading down the road opposite, after a few yards/metres on the left you will find the entrance to the section of old railway track now known as the 'Melford Walk'.

    Show/HideMelford Walk

    The Melford Walk is part of the old Great Eastern to Sudbury railway line This section skirts the eastern edge of Long Melford, with the mood of the walk varying along its length, and is an escape into a secretive, hidden world! It is maintained by the Long Melford Open Spaces Group, a new group set up in 2012 to look after the open spaces around Long Melford, after divestment by Suffolk County Council.

    Start of the Melford Walk © Michael Graham
  5. After about a mile or so (without turning off anywhere), the track exits onto the Long Melford to Sudbury road (B1064). Cross the road and continue left for about 600 metres, passing the old Long Melford railway station and maltings, look out for a public footpath sign on the right by the postbox. Turn along this path for about 100yds/metres and the path then bears left along another part of the old railway line. After a short while you will arrive at the old railway bridge across the River Stour at Rodbridge. Opposite you is the Melford Country Park.

    Show/HideMelford Country Park

    Melford Country Park on the site of old gravel pit workings, is well worth exploring and again is currently being maintained and restored by the Long Melford Open Spaces Group, in conjunction with Long Melford Parish Council.

    A peaceful view in Melford Country park in January © Michael Graham
  6. Exiting Melford Country Park, turn immediately left and cross the road bridge until reaching a signed FP on the left, which is another section of the old Long Melford to Sudbury railway line. Enter this section and continue until reaching the Borley road. Cross the road continuing on the old railway track, now known as the 'Valley Walk'. After 100 yds/metres or so look out for a finger post, on the left, and some steps up to a kissing gate. Go through this kissing gate and after a few yards through another kissing gate and turn right.

  7. Ahead of you is Borley Mill. Keeping to the right of the mill, follow the signed path (with wall on your right), passing through two small gates, until exiting onto water meadows running alongside the River Stour

    Show/HideBorley Mill

    There was a mill here in the 14th century a lease dated 1483 suggesting that there was a corn and fulling mill on the same site, and is shown on the Chapman Andre 1777 map as a corn mill. Milling continued until 1969 when all production ceased. The current building is of mid 18th Century weather-boarded construction; is Grade 2 Listed, and is now a private residence.

    Borley Mill on a sunny day © Michael Graham
  8. Turn left through the gate and head along the row of telegraph poles until reaching a footbridge. Cross the footbridge and wander along the river bank to the left, following the path round to the right until reaching another bridge leading up to the main Sudbury road.

    Show/HideLeaving Borley Mill

    A terrific piece of countryside..

    Follow the telegraph poles after leaving Borley Mill © Michael Graham
  9. Turn right following the pavement for 200 metres or so until reaching a FP sign to your right just past a pedestrian crossing. Turn right and follow this path (which is also a small road so look out for traffic), until reaching Brundon Mill pond. Be ready to be amazed by the sight of many swans.

    Show/HideBrundon Mill pond

    The Mill pond now appears to be a breeding ground for swans, and as many as 20 or 30 can often be seen here. A glorious sight at any time of the year

    Swans on Brundon Mill pond © Michael Graham
  10. Now cross the bridge, and admire the mill to your right.

    Show/HideBrundon Mill

    The watermill existed as far back as 1086 DB; is shown as a mill on the Chapman Andre map of 1777, and was originally used as a fulling mill in the medieval period. From the medieval period, the fulling of cloth was usually undertaken in a water mill. Fulling was a process of beating and cleansing cloth in water, making it a denser fabric. A steam engine was installed in 1857 but cereal milling finished in 1923, The current building is 18th Century; Grade 2 listed, and is now a private residence.

    18th century Brundon Mill, now a private house. © Michael Graham
  11. Leaving the mill, follow the path round to the left until reaching a kissing gate. After the gate a small length of fenced footpath will take you to another kissing gate which in turn will take you onto the ancient Sudbury Water Meadows and Common Lands

    Show/HideSudbury Common Lands

    The Sudbury Common Lands are managed by sixteen Trustees, and was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1990 and a County Wildlife Site in 2007. The land is managed within environmentally sympathetic agricultural schemes without the use of chemicals, and summer grazing continues to hold the key to it's maintenance and management. The salmon leap in this picture was built in the 1960's as part of a programme to introduce salmon and sea trout to the Stour. Despite some initial success, the idea was largely unsuccessful and abandoned.

    Salmon leap on Sudbury Water Meadows © Michael Graham
  12. Now keeping to the right of the WW2 Pillbox in the distance, head towards a kissing gate by the salmon leap and a small bridge. Crossing the bridge head slightly left towards the old Sudbury Mill (Clover's Mill) now the Legacy Mill Hotel, in the distance, with a further bridge to cross on the way.

    Show/HideSudbury Mill (Clover's Mill)

    A watermill was recorded here in 1086, and it was likely that there were two or more mills throughout the medieval period, at least one cereal, and one fulling. The present mill dates from about 1890, but was purchased by the Clover family in 1850 and owned by them until 1964 by which time it was just producing animal feed. The mill closed around 1967 and became a hotel in the 1970's.The water wheel (from 1889) can still be seen in the restaurant.of the now renamed Legacy Mill Hotel.

    Sudbury Mill from an old postcard probably from the late 19th century © Unknown
  13. Now head up to the main road; turn left onto Stour Street, and follow the road until reaching the road junction with Gregory Street (to the left) and Gainsborough Street ahead. Cross the road into Gainsborough Street and continue along the pavement until reaching Weavers Lane on the left. You have now reached Gainsborough's House.

    Show/HideGainsborough's House

    Gainsborough's House is the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough and is the only museum in Britain dedicated to the works of a single artist in the house where they were born.The building is owned by the Gainsborough House Society, an independent charity with educational aims. The museum has an interesting garden and a newly refurbished gift shop.

    Gainsborough’s House the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough © Gainsborough House Society
  14. After leaving Gainsborough's House continue along Gainsborough Street until reaching Market Hill and the Market Place. Cross the market place to the right of the statue of Gainsborough and head down until reaching the small shopping precinct on the right. The bus station will be found at the far end of the precinct and your return bus journey to Long Melford

    Show/HideThomas Gainsborough

    Thomas Gainsborough's statue in Sudbury market place, was originally unveiled on 10th June 1913. To commemorate the 100th year anniversary, a re-enactment of the unveiling took place on 10th June 2013, with people in costume, attended by about 300 people to watch the ceremony. The statue is in front of the now redundant St. Peter's church. The building is mostly used for indoor markets, concerts etc.

    The statue of Thomas Gainsborough in Sudbury market place © Michael Graham

End: Melford Hall Car Park TL867462

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 5.5 miles (8.85 kms)
  • Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • OS Map: OS Map: Landranger 155 TL867462
  • Terrain:

    Field paths, tree roots, grassland. May be muddy - suitable footwear necessary. Not suitable for wheelchairs. Pushchairs possible in dry weather. Some gates. Cross the busy A134 with extreme care. Dogs on leads where signed, and particularly on Sudbury Water Meadows when livestock are present.

  • How to get here:

    By bike :  Route 13 passes through Long Melford

    By bus:  Chambers Coaches  route 753 Bury. St. Edmunds/Sudbury - Sudbury/Bury St. Edmunds

    By train: Station Road, Sudbury, CO10 6SU 4 miles

    By car:  Entrance to car park and grounds opposite village green, A1092 off the A134 - 14 miles from Bury St Edmunds, 4 miles from Sudbury.

     

  • Facilities:

    • Parking : Melford Hall car park (during opening times). Street parking (free) where available.
    • Food and drink : Melford Hall tea room (during opening times).Other outlets available in both towns.
    • WC's : Melford Hall gatehouse (during opening times), and various other outlet
    • Gift Shops : Melford Hall and Gainsborough's House.

     

  • Contact us