Melford Hall to Lavenham railway walk, Long Melford, Suffolk

Walking trail

Walk from Long Melford to Lavenham, through woods and open fields, following the route of the old Great Eastern Long Melford to Lavenham railway line.

Along the way enjoy the opportunity to see wildflowers, birds and animal wildlife in their natural habitat. Starting and finishing in these two well-preserved medieval 'wool' towns, you can return to Long Melford by bus, or re-trace your steps if you have the energy. Suitable for those who are fairly active.


Map route for Long Melford to Lavenham railway walk


Melford Hall car park, grid ref: TL867462


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. Starting from the Melford Hall car park, turn right out of the gate, and keeping to the same side of the road, walk 660yd (600m) 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.

Read more
Old picture of a train leaving Long Melford Station in July 1957


Hare Drift continues along a concrete path until joining the main A134 Sudbury to Bury St Edmunds road. The traffic on this road can be very fast, so cross with great care. Go through the gate on the opposite side of the road, and walking straight ahead, follow the footpath, which after 100yd (90m) or so, continues downhill.


At the bottom of the hill turn left and follow the tree line ignoring a footpath sign to the left (St Edmund's Way). You will find an exit through the trees on the right-hand side after about another 100-200yd (90-180m).


Going through the trees, continue across a small bridge over the River Chad, heading slightly uphill until exiting into a plain with scrub to the right. You can see 'signs' now covered with scrub, showing where the path was/should be.

Read more
A group of four fallow deer in a forest glade


Head up the plain for about 200yd (180m) keeping the scrub to your right, until the path runs alongside some woodland to the left.


Follow the path for about 400yd (360m) until reaching a path 'crossroad'. The section after this is a 'permissive' footpath and dogs should be kept on leads.


Keep on for about another 200yd (180m) or so until the path enters 'Lineage Wood' to your left and 'Paradise Wood' to your right. This is the site of an 1891 railway derailment.

Read more
Site of the 1891 Railway accident near Lineage Wood, Lavenham


When exiting the woodland you are now entering a section of railway cutting designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Read more
An SSSI railway cutting on Long Melford to Lavenham Railway walk


You will have reached the end of the 'SSSI' section when reaching the Bridge Street railway bridge. The next section is now known as the 'Lavenham Walk'.

Read more
Bridge Street Railway Bridge on way to Lavenham from Long Melford


Continue on the 'Lavenham Walk' which is now owned and maintained by Lavenham Parish Council after divestment from Suffolk County Council in 2012, until reaching some metal gates.

Read more
Picture of a goldcrest perching on a branch


When reaching the metal gates you have reached the Park Road crossing. Crossing the road, go through the gates, and continue on for approximately 400yd (440m), until reaching Lavenham High Street to the right of the Bury road railway bridge.


Now cross the road, and continue right up High Street, for approximately 300yd (270m), and turning left into Market Lane walk up to the Market Square. Lavenham Guildhall is across the Market Square, and you have now reached the end of your walk.

Read more
Family outside Lavenham Guildhall, Suffolk


Lavenham Guildhall, grid ref: TL916493

You made it

Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.

Melford Hall to Lavenham railway walk, Long Melford, Suffolk


Woodland, tree roots, field paths, public footpaths, permissive paths. Can be quite muddy and waterlogged through SSSI area. Adequate and waterproof footwear may be necessary.

Dogs welcome under close control - on leads where signed. Take care crossing busy main A134 Sudbury- Bury St Edmund's road.

Melford Hall to Lavenham railway walk, Long Melford, Suffolk

Contact us

Melford Hall to Lavenham railway walk, Long Melford, Suffolk

How to get here

Long Melford, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 9AA
By train

Station Road, Sudbury, CO10 6SU, 4 miles (6.5km).

By road

Entrance to car park and grounds opposite village green, A1092 off the A134 - 14 miles (22.5km) from Bury St Edmunds, 4 miles (6.5km) from Sudbury.

By bus

Chambers Coaches route 753 Bury. St Edmunds/Sudbury - Sudbury/Bury St Edmunds.

By bicycle

National Cycle Network Route 13 passes through Long Melford.

Melford Hall to Lavenham railway walk, Long Melford, Suffolk

Facilities and access

  • Melford Hall tea-room and Lavenham Guildhall tea-room (during opening times)
  • Toilets at Melford Hall gatehouse (during opening times) and various other outlets
  • Parking at Melford Hall car park (during opening times), and street parking (free) where available
  • Gift shops at Melford Hall and Lavenham Guildhall (during opening times)
  • Dogs welcome under close control - on leads where signed