Sunday, March 12, 2006

Rede to Hawkedon Suffolk


10.30am 10.5 miles in 1 hour 27 minutes 9 seconds

Week to date mileage 34

Month to date mileage 61

Average weekly rate 31.4

Average Monthly rate 136

Lifetime mileage 8096

Weather: Cold sunshine.

I drove out to The Plough at Rede which is about 6 miles south west of Bury St Edmunds on the A143. Rede is a small village most locals would know because of the lovely public house which is reached after a sharp turn after the church. I was attracted to running from Rede because the ordnace survey explorer map 211 shows a lot of those green dotted lines indicating footpaths.

Behind the pub there is a bridleway which I followed and for the next hour and a half I was transported into a world where the scenery cannot of changed much in the last few hundred years. This was quite simply Suffolk at its best, beautiful scenery, big skies, ploughed fields, hedgerows, lanes and churches seemingly on view around every corner. I am told that Rede is the highest point in East Anglia at 120 metres. Some of the run took me directly across fields and as it was sticky my shoes were caked with 3 inch heels.

I ran through Great Wood oddly named as it was very small in size and then went past a resevoir at Clay Hill. At the time I wandered what the large tower was having looked at the map at home it turns out to be a trig point. I didn't photograph it so I will return soon to do this. From here there is a long straight concrete path which goes to Gatesbury's farm however at the first opportunity I took another footpath of to the left and back over fields which took me past another small lake at Cresslands Farm.

From here I began to run slightly up hill to about 100 metres above sea level. Whenever you do this in Suffolk you are usually guaranteed wonderful views and this was true this time as the view is panoramic and you are able to see miles in all directions. I was able to look down upon a wonderful old house called Hawkedon House. Here there were large numbers of birds that I presume might have been meadow pipits. From there colours they appeared to have yellow streaks and certainly had a jerky flight as I disturbed them from there bushes.

The footpath emerges in the beautiful village of Hawkedon which I am definitely returning to for a drink at a lovely pub on the hill called the Queens Head. This is an idyllic village in a beautiful setting of rolling hills.

St Mary's church at Hawkedon commands your attention and can be seen for miles around. It is an unusual church as it has a wall that surrounds it and a village green beyond this on all sides. I ran past a large 1st World War Memorial and took a path over to Brook's Wood.

In the distance I could see the church of Stansfield Village. Here I turned and with some regret retraced my steps leaving Stansfield for another day.

I switched of my MP 3 player and listened to the sound of the breeze, my footfall and the squelch of mud. If you don't mind a hard run over soft muddy fields then this is the run for you. I have to say this is one of the best runs I have done so far and I will be back!

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