The Sandlings Walk - Bromeswell Village Walk
A very easy 2 mile walk around the Suffolk Village of Bromeswell
The Sandlings Path avoids the busy road between Melton and the footpath across the Heathland to Rendlesham Forest by navigating around the quiet village of Bromeswell. Although only a short distance, it is worth taking ones time to explore this quiet village with its typically East Anglian church of St Edmund.
Bromeswell Turn to Melton Walk - Essential Information
- Bus Service
- First Group
- Service Number
- 64, 64A and 65
- Suffolk On Board Website
- First Group 64, 64A and 65 service forms a circular route from Ipswich to Saxmundham via Wickham Market(64), Saxmundham to Aldeburgh via Leiston (64A) and Aldeburgh to Ipswich via Rendlesham(65) runinng in both directions. Through tickets are available throughout although many drivers seem unaware of this. You should not need to need more than one ticket between any two points on the route. This has been clarified by First Group and if in doubt ask the driver for a through ticket.
- Date of Walk
- Start Time
- End time
- Weather Conditions
- Overcast with light rain showers
The Sandlings Path, along with the Suffolk Coast Path are probably my most walked long distance paths. Living in the area means that most sections get walked multiple times throughout the year. However, despite this, until this walk I had never wandered around the short section through Bromeswell. There may be a couple of reasons for this, firstly the river walk from Melton through to Woodbridge does not lend itself to extend across the bridge and up to Bromeswell, which would be going out of ones way. Secondly the section through Rendlesham Forest starts at the bus stop on the opposite side of Bromeswell leaving the village as just a short lane linking these two sections.
Looking at the OS map the official path appears to go out of its way just to go into the village but this is intentional as the direct route along the B1084 is definitely not advisable. This road is a very busy highway without any pathway, presenting a clear hazard to walkers. Therefore the quiet single track lanes through Bromeswell are a natural choice and if you venture up these you will not be disappointed by this typical Suffolk Village.
This particular occasion was a Saturday in late Autumn and with a planned visit to Ipswich Hospital scheduled for 3pm it left a few spare hours to find something worthy to occupy the time. Therefore, not having the time for a full scale long walk a day ticket on Anglian Buses was purchased with which I could explore the route of the 165 service between Leiston and Ipswich as I pleased. This is a fantastic way to get to see this part of Suffolk allowing one the freedom to come and go on the hourly buses as one pleases. So, with Bromeswell an unexplored village, this was definitely the main contender for the days adventures. I could alight at the Bromeswell turn by the junction with the Orford/Rendlesham roads, walk through to Melton where the bus then picked up at the railway station. From here, dependant upon the remaining time, I could continue a walk at any point onwards knowing the the Sandlings Path ended at the hospital. There cant be many hospitals that have a long distance path at their entrance!. Note that as of June 2013 the Anglian Bus service was discontinued. First Group now operate their combination of services 64, 64A and 65 which roughly follows the same route. An Ipswich Zone 2 day ticket can be purchased for unlimited travel on First Group buses within this zone.
As I was researching this post I discovered that Anglian buses have announced that they are to discontinue the 165 service due to unsustainable losses which are the result of the removal of County Council subsidies. The service will end on 28th June 2013. This is a very sad loss to the area in my opinion. This service gives public transport access to the Sandlings Path all the way from Ipswich through to Knodishall. Without this service there will be an extensive walk from Melton to Leiston to get any connecting public transport. This is a 25+ mile hike. This is not the only aspect that will be missed. In general the Anglian drivers are a friendly bunch and go out of their way to accommodate their customers. The buses are always clean and well kept. The service only takes just over an hour from Leiston to Ipswich whereas the corresponding First Group Service which follows the A12 route takes a tour of every single East Suffolk housing estate on route which results in a journey of 1 hour 45 minutes. A very sad loss.
Included in this walk is the Wilford Bridge pub which is just over the bridge across the Deben. Unfortunately it was not open by the time I arrived, Rather than waiting half an hour for the pub to open and with the bus arrival imminent it seemed pertinent to continue my journey and stop for refreshments further along the route.
A simple walk following the lane into Bromeswell then out to Melton
There is a bus stop at the Bromeswell turn, just beyond the junction with the Eyke and Orford roads from where the Sandlings waymarker directs one up the lane on the north side of the road. Follow this lane into the village and the Church can be found along Church Lane on the right. Continue along the road through the village until there is a junction centred with a triangle of grass. Turn right and follow the lane out of the village.
As the lane approaches the Melton road look out for a waymarker on the right which leads onto boardwalks. Keep to this until there is access up to the road. Cross the river bridge, cross the road and follow the path alongside the river bank. Keep to this until the river bends around to the left. At this point there is access down to the car park. Walk out of the car park, turn left and cross the railway line. Melton Station is located on the left and the bus stop is adjacent.
The Wilford Bridge, Melton
Prior to being known as The Wilford Bridge, this pub was known as the Railway Tavern, a name that dates from the building of the East Suffolk Railway Line between Ipswich and Great Yarmouth in 1859. Records show that the pub predates this but there is no indication as to what it was known as prior to the coming of the railway.
Currently owned by the Deben Inns group, this well presented establishment offers restaurant food, a patio area and cask ale
Did not visit on this occasion
St Edmunds Church View in OS Map | View in Google Map
It is thought that a church has occupied the present site in Bromeswell since Saxon times. This would most likely have been a structure of wattle and daub or wood. The Normans rebuilt the church and there is evidence from this era with the 11th century slit window in the north wall of the nave and a 12th century south doorway. The rest of the building dates from other eras with the tower and nave being constructed in the 15th century, the south porch in the 16th century and the chancel in the nineteenth century when the whole church was altered.
The north side of the church, which faces the road, is curious in the fact that it has few windows and a bricked up door given the appearance of a blank wall. A path leads around to the south entrance. According to Simon Knotts Church Website the modern vestry was built on ground that had a number of burials. As this was the north side of the church it was assumed that the unearthed skeletons were those of either suicides or the unbaptized and as such they were reburied without ceremony.
The most striking sight on entering the church are the angelic figures clutching shields that protrude from the roof timbers. The two at the east end of the church are wooden carvings whereas the rest are fibreglass copies. The two original ones were carved in the 1920's by the vicar of Eyke, the Reverend Darling. The intention was to mount them in Rendlesham church but they turned out to be the wrong size and were donated to St Edmunds.
At the west end of the church, there are holes the size of a fist on opposing walls. These extend into the wall, though not through it. IT is not known what these were used for and they appear too low down to be for a supporting beam for a floor.
The tower originally contained three bells, but the smallest fell down and broke and was sold. Of the remaining bells, the smallest is known as the Mechlin Bell having been cast by the Mechlin foundry in Belgium. The bell is decorated with two scenes of rosary mysteries, the Annunciation and the Presentation, as well as the flight into Egypt, and St Michael confronting a dragon. On it, in old Flemish, is written Jesus am I, cast by Cornelis Waghevens in the year of Our Lord 1530. Illustrations can be found in Church Bells of Suffolk, an 1890 publication by John James Raven.
Links and Bibliography
Below are a selection of images taken from from the photo album for this walk. Feel free to browse through these or click on any image to view a larger version in the Gallery.
Below is the route depicted on the OpenStreetMap, Ordnance Survey Map and Google Map. Links to full page versions are found in the Essential Information
Summary of Document Changes
Last Updated: ... 2014-12-12