Melford Hall to Sudbury Three Mills walk, Long Melford, Suffolk

Walking trail

A pleasant country walk along part of the old Great Eastern Long Melford to Sudbury railway line, starting from magnificent Melford Hall. Apart from the Hall, visit Melford Country Park, Borley Mill, Brundon Mill and Sudbury Mill, ending at Gainsborough's House and statue in Sudbury. Walk across ancient Sudbury Common Lands. A pleasant walk for families.

Walk along part of the old Great Eastern Long Melford to Sudbury railway line, visiting three old water mills; Sudbury Common Lands and Gainsborough's House en route. Return by bus.


Map route for Long Melford to Sudbury Three Mills 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. Then 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.

View of Hare Drift on a sunny Autumn morning in 2016


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 cross the road with great care. Go through the gate on the opposite side of the road, and turn immediately right, following the signposted path, known as Roydon Drift.

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Image of Roydon Drift on the Long Melford to Sudbury Three Mills walk


After 220yd (200m), 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. Now turn right and follow the road until reaching the main A134 trunk road.

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

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Start of the Melford walk on the Long Melford to Sudbury Three Mills walk


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 660yd (600m), 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 100yd (90m) 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.

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A quiet corner in Melford Country Park


Exiting Melford Country Park, turn immediately left and cross the road bridge until reaching a signed fingerpost 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 100yd (90m) or so look out for a fingerpost, 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.


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.

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Borley Mill on the Long Melford to Sudbury Three Mills walk


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.

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After leaving Borley Mill you are greeted by this view


Turn right following the pavement for 220yd (200m) or so until reaching a fingerpost 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.

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Many swans at Brundon Mill pond on the Long Melford to Sudbury Three Mills walk


Now cross the bridge, and admire the mill to your right.

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Brundon Mill on the Long Melford to Sudbury Three Mills walk


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 Common Lands.

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The Salmon leap on Sudbury Common Lands


Now keeping to the right of the Second World War 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 Mill Hotel, in the distance, with a further bridge to cross on the way.

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An image of Clovers Mill from an old postcard..


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 House.

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Gainsborough's House in Sudbury, Suffolk


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.

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The statue of Thomas Gainsborough in Sudbury market place


Melford Hall car park, grid ref: TL867462

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Melford Hall to Sudbury Three Mills walk, Long Melford, Suffolk


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.

Melford Hall to Sudbury Three Mills walk, Long Melford, Suffolk

Contact us

Melford Hall to Sudbury Three Mills 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 Melford Hall 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 Sudbury Three Mills walk, Long Melford, Suffolk

Facilities and access

  • Food and drink: Melford Hall tea-room (during opening times); café in Cherry Lane Garden Centre; outdoor café in Melford Country park (times vary); many cafés in Sudbury.
  • 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
  • Shopping: Gift shops at Melford Hall and Gainsborough House (during opening times)
  • Keep dogs on leads where signed