Well this is it; the walk I have been planning to do for nearly five years!!! The day didn’t start brilliantly, as I mis-read the timetable for the train, so we had to wait another 45 mins for the next one. I’m not doing this walk alone, I’m doing it with my brother Chris, Ozzie and Cassie. We finally got on the train, although both dogs were very unsure of it. We got to Ipswich Station about 10 minutes later, and walked to the start of our walk. We crossed the main road and crossed again to the opposite side of the road to the Railway Pub (how originally named). We walked down the road a little way, and crossed the bridge. The river path just the other side of the bridge was our start point.
We were finally starting! The path here was very easy going as it was tarmac. We carried on along this path until we came to the road, and a pelicon crossing. We crossed the road here and headed left towards the sluice. We took the path on our left as we were looking at the sluice, and headed along the path. The path now was a narrow dirt track, fairly typical of an old towpath. It isn’t a very pretty river, but that is probably due to the fact that it is in the middle of town. After we had kicked our way through mountains of rubbish, we climbed the steps to the road (London Road). We carefully crossed the road and took the path that was on the other side of the river to what we had been walking.
The path goes behind the retail park with Halfords and The Range on. Just after we had walked under the road bridge (well, nearly crawled it was so low), I decided it was a good idea to let Cassie have a swim. The water was a little deeper than I first thought and Cassie disappeared under the water when she jumped in. Once I had composed myself and stopped laughing, I helped a very disturbed and wet Cassie out of the water. She then thanked me by shaking the river all over me.
We carried on walking round, passing the Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate on the opposite side of the river. On our side, we passed a posh housing development. It looked really nice, apart from the view of an Industrial Estate on the opposite bank!!! We then came to the Boss Hall industrial Estate, and then to an Anglian Water plant. It was here that we decided it would be a good time for coffee and a rest. With us and the dogs watered (or coffeed) we carried on along the path. We soon crossed under the A14 and continued until we reached the Sproughton Road.
We crossed the road and carried on walking beside the river, past Hazel Wood until we reached the Bramford Road. It was fairly busy around here, as there is a picnic site and a large grassed area by a small car parking area. We crossed the road and carried on along the same side of the river, alongside a meadow opposite Suffolk Water Park. We crossed under (well, almost crawled again) the railway bridge and came to the road (Paper mill Lane) beside the old paper mill. We turned left and walked along the road a short way until we came to another path on our left.
We took this path and continued along the other side of the river, round the back of the old mill. The path was through a grassy meadow and because it was a summers day, it was SO HOT!!!!!!!!! We stopped under the road bridge at the Claydon interchange for a while and gave the dogs a rest in the shade, and a drink (us and the dogs). We carried on through Meadow again until we reached the Claydon Road.
We crossed the road and continued on the opposite side of the river, walking between the river and the old gravel pits, now used as fishing lakes. We carried on walking round, and just after we crossed the railway again, we came to another resting place near Great Blakenham. The river was quite shallow here so we thought that it would be a good opportunity to give the dogs another swim. Cassie was very unsure about this after her last experience, but after a little persuasion, she went for a paddle. We also took this opportunity to have a drink ourselves. Once the dogs had finished drinking the entire river, we crossed the stile and headed over the bridge away from the river. The path then went right, down beside some houses back to the river.
We passed some very posh houses with riverside gardens, some even having their own moorings. We carried on along the path, passing the wooded areas and old gravel pits on the opposite side of the river. We came to a stile at the edge of a cow field and carefully crossed it while trying to make sure that the dogs crossed quietly. We quickly walked through the field with the river on our right and the Rare Breeds farm just beyond that. We came to the other side of the field and once we had persuaded the dogs to cross the stile, we were on Mill Lane in Baylham. We turned left up mill lane and headed for the railway track.
We got to the railway track and turned right along it (well, the path beside it). This is the only part of the Gipping Way that doesn’t follow the river. The grass and weeds were more overgrown here than the rest of the walk, so we had to be careful of nettles. This path wasn’t very long, and we were back beside the river fairly soon.
We were once again walking beside open meadow with little or no shade. We passed Pipps Ford lock and when the water was a little more shallow, we let the dogs have a swim. They had other plans though. Cassie refused to go in, but drank the water instead; Ozzie just stood in it, wondering what to do! After not being able to persuade them to swim, we carried on, passing more gravel pits on our left and Bosmere Hall on the opposite side of the river. We finally came to the road, crossed it and headed for Needham Lake. We decided that it would be a good time to stop for lunch, so we headed over to the toilets. We sat on the bench on the grassy area and had our lunch before carrying on. Deciding that Ice Cream would be a good idea, we crossed the bridge to the kiosk. With Ice Creams and Pepsi purchased, we were on our way once again.
We followed the path away from Needham Lake, passing the sewage works on the opposite bank. We carried on, passing Alder Carr farm on our right, under the road into a slightly more shaded area. This didn’t last long, as we were soon walking beside meadow once again. We came to a small footbridge when we saw a flash of blue fly into the trees on the opposite side of the river. As we stood watching, a Kinkfisher flew out of the trees and down the river. This was brilliant, as it was the first time that I had seen a Kingfisher in the wild. Once this momenteous occasion had passed, we continued on our walk.
We passed the trees on the opposite bank, and were on our way to Badley Mill Farm. There are normally cows in this field, so we were fairly cautios. We went through the kissing gates and noticed the distinctive lack of cows!!! We were going to let the dogs have another swim, but there were two people having a barbeque where we were going to go. So we carried on to the end of the field where we were greeted by another stile. Cassie jumped over it with no problems, but Ozzie didn’t want to know. After a little gentle persuasion, he made it over and into the next field. It was in this field that Ozzie decided that he had enough walking, and just layed down for a rest. We decided that this was a good idea, so we rested for a while.
We carried on, and came to the road leading to Muntons. We crossed the road, climed the steps and decended the other side. We had to make sure the dogs were on their leads here, as we were walking through Muntons grounds. We carried on through the grounds, keeping the river on our left the whole time. We passed under the A1156 bridge and walked betwenn the ICI (or PPG) sites. We crossed the access road, and coninued beside the river, coming to the old Atco Qualcast factory on the opposite side. We continued on and eventually came to Station Road, where the walk ended with 2 very tired dogs.