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Sunday, 15 August 2010

An Amazing Adventure to Westleton Barrel Fair 2010

An Amazing Adventure to Westleton Barrel Fair 2010
A 9 mile return Suffolk walk from Leiston to Westleton to attend the annual Westleton Barrel Fair
This isnt a walk that I would normally include as it is not really a true circular walk, but Westleton Barrel Fayre is worth the mention in itself! Each year Westleton Village organises the mid-August fayre and rather than driving to the event it is just as easy to walk the 4.5 miles. You can walk down the lanes from Leiston to Eastbridge, but as there had been so much rain in recent days, we decided to keep to the road. There is a pavement out of Leiston, then the road to Eastbridge is a one lane track with little traffic. Then it is a pleasant walk through the woods. Westleton Barrel Fayre was a most excellent adventure

Date of Walk: 2010-08-15

Start point: Leiston

End Point: Leiston

Start Time:11:30

End time: Get to Westleton 13:00, return 16:00 arrive Leiston 18:30

Distance: 9 miles

Walkers: Griffmonster, Kat

Weather conditions: Sunny spells, brisk wind

Path taken: Main road from Leiston to Eastbridge turn, backroad to Eastbridge, continue towards Minsmere and take the track and path through the woods to Westleton. Walk down Mill Lane to come out opposite Westleton Green

  • The Crown Beer Tent  ( An excellent range of local ales with four from Green Jack, Rusty Bucket from Brandon brew and one from Earl Soham. We opted for an elderflower brew called Summer Dream from Green Jack brewery (  which was most refreshing then followed by this with an Earl Sohams Gold ( Top marks for this and long may this beer tent continue!
  • The Eels Foot, Eastbridge. ( An Adnams house and consequently expensive but nothing wrong with the ale. Explorer was nice. The name Eels Foot comes from a cobblers tool I believe, the pub sign is of an eel wearing a boot.
All-comers race - contestants came from far and wide, Dorset, Sussex, Germany, Brazil and USA to name but a few.

Notes:The walk was, as usual, a pleasant affair - I have wandered this way on many occassion, usually as part of other walks. With the recent damp weather the roadside verges and woods were awash with fungi of all manner of sorts and sizes. Very pretty to look at but I would never even chance picking one unless I had an expert fungi person with me. Westleton Barrel Fayre ( usually happens on the middle weekend in August. The fayre is a mixture of stalls, music, beer tents and the highlight which is the barrel racing. Contestents are given an empty firkin and an oak pole and have to guide the barrels all the way down the village green and back again. It is not an easy task and blocking your opponents appears to be a legal part of the race. Barrels are not easy to control so it isnt long until you witness collisions and pile-ups and contenstants going head over barrel which just adds to the entertainment. Races are open for Westleton inhabitants, all-comer races for anyone plus there are ladies races and childrens races. It is an excellent day out and well recommended by anyone who is visiting the area.
Collisions and pile ups always happen - it's great!

Social Comment: On the return, a couple of hundred yards before the Eels Foot at Eastbridge, we passed a quad bike rider - we stood aside to allow him past and he nodded his appreciation. We continued to the pub and on ordering the drinks some chap came running into the pub declaring the quad bike rider had crashed into the ditch and he needed an ambulance urgently. Pub customers ran to his aid with blankets and the ambulance was sent for. There was nothing we could do but sit outside and sup our beer. I do not know the collective noun for police cars, but an entire plethora of police cars with blue lights flashing came down the lane to attend the accident. We slowly supped our beer. After 30 mins we had supped up and were ready to continue our journey. As we gathered ouselves ready to leave, the ambulance arrived. It is quite disturbing that an ambulance takes so long to arrive but also disturbing that it takes so many policeman to officiate such a minor accident and annoying that Leiston is currently suffering a spate of vandalism which the police appear to have no control over, probably because they are all attending accidents down back roads. Thats it, I will step down from my soap box now!

Equipment: None but returned with a second hand book about long distance walks

Accommodation: None

Public transport: None


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Last Updated: 2014-01-02Z


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