Melford Hall 'Windmill Hill walk', Long Melford, Suffolk
Get away from the traffic and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Take in the Suffolk countryside with hidden gems, dappled shade in the woodland, open fields and spectacular views of Church of Holy Trinity and Melford Hall, willing you to return. Have a peek in the church and look at the stained glass windows.
A pleasant walk suitable for families.
Melford Hall, grid ref: TL866483
Leave Melford Hall, cross over the road and turn left.
A mellow, 16th-century red brick house with a magnificent stained glass window of Queen Elizabeth I. The garden is laid out in the Edwardian style and includes clipped box hedges and yew trees, ponds and a fountain. It remains the home of the Hyde-Parker family and has connections with visits from their relation Beatrix Potter.
Very shortly, turn right down the bridleway (see signpost) between the car park and the village hall. Follow the wide grassy path.
At the beginning of the walk, this shady path beckons you on, leaving you to wonder what is round the next bend and in the open panorama, just visible at the end.
Go straight over the distinct track junction, with Long Lane track on your right.
Follow the track straight ahead and at the next track junction, observe the three houses at the top of the hill on your right along the A1092.
Pass by the sewage works along the concrete road.
At the barn with the partly-hidden thatched Cranfield Cottage on your left turn left down the track, ignoring the road to your right.
With a metal gate a short distance in front of you, turn right by the small signpost, walking along the fence line, with the open field to your right.
Flora and fauna
The thistle is a typical example of the flora and fauna to be found on this walk. Thistles grow between 12 to 60" (30 to 150cm) tall, flowering from July to October.
When you reach the telephone post right beside the fence, with a wood line 218yd (200m) in front of you, turn right and walk uphill on the right-hand side of the tree line. There's no signpost here. As you move uphill, the path diverts into the wood line by a small signpost on the left-hand side of the wood, providing shade on a hot sunny day.
East Anglia is an important agricultural area where the farmers grow more than a quarter of England's wheat and barley, which is used for animal feed, flour and making beer.
At the end of the wood line, go forward and left across the busy A1092 and walk along Cranmore Green Lane, passing the very well kept Bridge Farm cottage immediately on your right.
Directly opposite Parsonage Farm on your left, follow the signpost on your right entering a wood. Follow the path along, turning left across a small bridge, walking uphill in the open. The path then goes right and then left through a hedge line. At the end of the hedge, which is now on your left, follow the path straight across the field until you reach the B1066.
Turn right and walk on the left-hand side of the road around the double bend for some 330yd (300m). Virtually opposite a field entrance on the right-hand side, across a field to your left you will see a treeline a short distance away running parallel with the road, with a distinct gap at the start of the treeline. A footpath leads off the road to your left straight to the gap. Take that path to the left going straight through the gap or archway.
Follow the track downhill, heading for Holy Trinity church in the near distance. Turn right at the hedgerow, then cross the stream to your left facing an 'open' wooden fence line. Follow the fence line to your left and head straight on up, go over two stiles and through a gate. Go through the churchyard, then passing the Almshouses on your left, with Melford Green in front of you, it's a very short walk across and back to the start.
Holy Trinity Church
A 15th-century church that contains one of the finest collections of medieval stained glass in the country, depicting the local gentry and nobility with their heraldic symbols, as well as a three-gabled Lady Chapel, built in 1496. This picture is a typical example.
Melford Hall, grid ref: TL866483
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