Eight awesome winter walks!
Love the outdoors? Us too, so we’re thrilled to be launching our first ever Muddy Walk Week! Grab your friends or family and try our pick of the prettiest walks in Suffolk & Cambs and beyond - all with dog-friendly pubs nearby.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Feel like stretching your legs over the Christmas period? Us too! Making the most of your precious free time and getting out and about with family and besties is what we love to do on Muddy, so we’ve come up with eight brilliant winter walks (with pubs en route or nearby obvs) so you can really enjoy your down-time.
We’re proud to say that our Winter Walks are part of Joules’ Charity Month – 31 days of fantastic fundraising for their five charity partners. If you want to make a small justgiving donation to take part (a quid is great, and doable even for little people) click here. And please do instagram your beautiful walk or gorgeous pub (yes, you can be in it!) and hashtag with #joulesautumnwalks #mymuddywalks, because we’ll use the best images in our round-up feature.
Details of our favourite walks across all 22 Muddy counties are here so even if you’re going away you can stride out. Plus you can enter our Reader Treat and three lucky subscribers and their families can step out in £500 of Joules coats and wellies.
What else do you want, crisp dry days and blue skies? Don’t worry, I’m working on it.
WALK 1 / STOURBRIDGE COMMON CIRCULAR WALK, EAST CAMBRIDGE
Distance and difficulty: Easy. A perfect 1.5 mile riverside walk for families with buggies, toddlers and dogs that only takes an hour and is mostly flat. View walk here.
Good for: Families with lots of different walkers from buggy-bound babies and quick-to-tire toddlers to parents needing a bit of fresh air without having to drive miles outside the city to get it.
Why we love it: A country walk for city dwellers, where you don’t get the wheels of the pram stuck in the mud or come across a stile that you have to carry a child/ dog/ grandma over. This walk is particularly lovely as it runs alongside the River Cam, there are often grazing animals, and there’s a children’s play area for when the walking boredom kicks in.
Cross over the river at the end of your walk via The Green Dragon Bridge and you’ll find a pub of the same name, The Green Dragon, in Chesterton, one of the oldest pubs in Cambridge. You can follow in the footsteps of a list of illustrious former drinkers – Oliver Cromwell and JRR Tolkien no less. Enough history, we love this pub for its river views, beer garden and cosy interiors where you can work your way through the hearty good old fashioned pub grub menu.
WALK 2 / DEVIL’S DYKE, REACH, EAST CAMBS
Distance and difficulty: Moderate – mostly flat terrain, but the circular route is 5.5 miles taking around 2 hours 10 mins (short cuts are possible). View walk here
Good for: Keen weekend walkers who aren’t going to “need a wee” half way round and history lovers – the majority of the walk is along the intriguing ancient Anglo-Saxon defensive structure known as the Devil’s Dyke and the route takes in pretty Swaffham with its two windmills and two churches.
Why we love it: The views from the up to 10 metres high Dyke are stunning across the vast swathes of flat fenland that this area is famous for. Plus, there are information boards dotted along the route explaining the archaeological importance of the Dyke, so you can come away feeling like you’ve learned something too, before an afternoon in the pub where you’ll forget it all!
This circular walk actually starts and ends at the privately-owned Dyke’s End Pub, that overlooks Reach village green. You can park in the car park here, don your wellies (the fenland part of the walk can be boggy) and then return to your car and the cosy bar area for pints and snacks or the restaurant area for a fabulous Sunday lunch (go on, after a 5.5 mile romp you deserve it!).
WALK 3/ GRANTCHESTER MEADOWS TO CAMBRIDGE, CENTRAL
Distance and difficulty: Easy, flat riverside terrain. You can either do this as a there and back or a circular walk, and to Cambridge and back is around four miles. You could always punt back up the river if you want to cut the walking time in half! View the walk here.
Good for: Families, pub-lovers and for bringing visitors to show off the best bits of Cambridge.
Why we love it: This Grantchester walk is heaving in the summer, but come autumn is just as pretty and much less crowded. Also, it starts and ends in Grantchester, which is without a doubt one of the prettiest and most pleasant villages to while away an afternoon. Oh, and there’s a smidgen of a chance that you might run into Robson Green and James Norton filming here.
Where do we start? You could actually do a pub crawl on this walk with no fewer than four pubs to choose from on the Grantchester end alone. Our pick of the bunch is The Red Lion, for its warming Sunday roasts, friendly service and relaxed atmosphere. It’s a good size too, with different zones, so you can usually get. seat and dogs and muddy wellies aren’t frowned upon at all.
WALK 4/ BARRINGTON TO SHEPRETH RIVERSIDE WALK, SOUTH CAMBS
Distance and difficulty: The terrain is fairly easy to navigate, but this circular walk is around 5 miles so will take you two hours. View the walk here.
Good for: A bit of variety. This walk goes through some of the county’s prettiest villages as well as woodland, a nature reserve and along the river.
Why we love it: There’s a free car park for riverside walks and the chance to sample two pubs along this walk (The Royal Oak Barrington and The Plough Shepreth). It’s also a rather good-looking walk with plenty to pique your interest, and the odd bit of river wildlife, like kingfishers, to keep your eyes peeled for.
Disclaimer – family history has it that my not so distant relatives owned and ran The Royal Oak, a pretty 16th century thatched pub in the gorgeous village of Barrington. That’s not why I’ve chosen it for this walk though… it really is a great place to rest weary legs after this countryside romp. It overlooks the longest village green in England, serves delicious dishes using locally-sourced ingredients, and the cosy interiors invite you to settle in for the rest of the afternoon.
WALK 1 / ICKWORTH MONUMENT WALK, HORRINGER, WEST SUFFOLK
Distance and difficulty: 5.8 miles around this glorious estate doesn’t feel that far, I promise. It’ll take you three hours, but the promise of a pub lunch at the end will see you through. The terrain ranges from parkland to forest and there are lots of lovely bucolic sights to keep you entertained. View the walk here.
Good for: I’ve done this walk dozens of times and love it even more each time. It undulates a bit, but active families and dogs in need of exercise will really enjoy it. Fit types with babies in those new-fangled rucksacks will also be fine as will runners and more experienced ramblers. There are ways to divert off and make the walk shorter if you have mudlets in tow too.
Why we love it: You can’t fail to fall for Ickworth House and the surrounding land – it’s so well kept and the beauty of this walk is that you won’t see a single car or sometimes even another human being once you get beyond the main part of the estate.
Just outside the main gates of Ickworth is the newly refurbished The Six Bells, Horringer. You can divert off and include the driveway as part of this Ickworth walk and then hop across the main road to this pub halfway through. If autumn decides to give us any sun, there’s a large walled pub garden or inside you can enjoy gastro-pub fare in the light, modern interiors with your four-legged friend in tow.
WALK 2/ CONSTABLE COUNTRY AT FLATFORD MILL, SUFFOLK/ ESSEX BORDER
Distance and difficulty: This circular riverside walk is 3.75 miles along roads, field paths and riverside meadows. There are 5 stiles (what is this the hurdles?), but otherwise there’s very little climbing to be done. View the walk here.
Good for: Art enthusiasts and lovers of scenes from a bucolic bygone era. This is the very landscape that inspired John Constable and the entire walk with views over Dedham Vale feels like you’re in The Hay Wain.
Why we love it: This is quite possibly the most beautiful part of Suffolk – English countryside at its very best (alternate opinions are welcome in comments below!). All of the surrounding villages from East Bergholt to Dedham (across the border), where you have to make time for a stop, are picture-postcard pretty and have tea rooms, shops and pubs a plenty.
This walk starts and ends in East Bergholt, where you’ll find the classic Suffolk pink family-run pub, The Carrier’s Arms. Think log fires inside the historic pub on cold days and drinks in the huge beer garden with pond on warm autumn days after a brisk walk.
WALK 3 / CLARE CASTLE COUNTRY PARK, SOUTHWEST SUFFOLK
Distance and difficulty: There are six different circular walks to choose from starting in the town’s park, but for a guaranteed nice stroll choose the intermediate Clare Loop, a 2 – 4.5 mile loop that’ll take you up to two hours. View the walk here.
Good for: Families, and townie types who don’t want to get their new Joules wellies all that muddy.
Why we love it: It might be Suffolk’s smallest town, but it certainly packs a punch in the cultural stakes and we love that you can mix a visit to the town’s antique shops and eateries with a stroll through a park with 13th castle ruins, an old railway line and the River Stour, and then go out into the rolling hills of West Suffolk.
You can leave your car in the park’s car park and walk across to The Bell Hotel, a traditional coaching inn that was given a modern makeover in late 2018, but still has all the open fires and carved beams you could desire. The main pub restaurant is called Latitude 52, which serves more upmarket dishes or you can enjoy gastropub style food in the bar and lounge with your pooch in tow.
WALK 4/ DUNWICH PUB TO PUB WALK, SUFFOLK COAST
Distance and difficulty: A moderate 3.5-mile walk from The Ship at Dunwich to The Westleton Crown, that feels very manageable when you consider there’s a pub at either end. To make it circular, it becomes an 8.5 miler or you’ll need to sweet talk someone into driving you back. The terrain is fairly easy to navigate and flat. View the walk here.
Good for: Celebrations – gather the family together and use the walk as an excuse to visit two of the Suffolk Coast’s best pubs and have a good old knees-up.
Why we love it: A pub to pub walk, you say? What’s not to love! Plus, this walk goes through RSPB Minsmere, National Trust’s Dunwich Heath and the remains of Greyfriars Monastery. Perfection!
Nearby pub(s): This walk was devised by The Ship at Dunwich and its sister pub The Westleton Crown, both of which are well-known for their amazing food and charming interiors. Your choice which you decide to eat in, but we like the idea of a starter and main in one and then pudding once you reach the second.