Stunning church walks and trails near West Stow
As the seasons change here in Suffolk, the landscape too is always in flux, from early spring snowdrops to summer’s fragrant roses, from bare trees to blossoming ones. However there is one aspect of the Suffolk landscape that remains consistent: the majestic churches and cathedrals that rise up from the rolling hill horizon.
The churches of Suffolk, each with its own unique story, are landmarks that not only bring people together for prayer, but also connect some of the region’s loveliest walking and cycling routes. West Stow’s local churches, for instance, are highlights on the 3.5 mile-long Breckland Walk.
The circular Breckland Walk begins in the village of West Stow, or conveniently from our own West Stow Pods glamping site. From there, walkers can follow a trail that will take them past three local churches, St Mary’s in West Stow, a beautiful 14th century church which underwent restoration in the 19th century; All Saints Church in Wordwell, a rustic Norman church that has also undergone extensive restoration; and St Mary’s Church in Culford, a charming Victorian-era church. The map for this local walk can be found here, courtesy of the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT).
Of course, with so many churches and a handful of cathedrals in Suffolk, there are ample options for those who want to go a bit further afield. One of our favourites is the Towers and Spires Cycle Ride, which departs from St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds and passes the Church of Holy Innocents in Great Barton, St Mary Church in Pakenham, St Peter Church in Thurston, All Saints Church in Drinkstone, St Ethelbert in Hessett and many more. The cycling trail is a more ambitious option, covering between 19 and 30 miles of the Suffolk landscape. The full map can be found here, courtesy of Angels and Spires.
For the long-distance walkers among us, there is also the historic St Edmund Way trail, an eight-day walk covering 79 miles between Manningtree and Brandon, passing through Bury St Edmunds and West Stow. According to The British Pilgrimage Trust, the route honours St Edmund, England’s first patron saint who was martyred in 870AD. The multi-day walk has plenty to offer, highlighting places that would have been relevant to St Edmund, including Bures St Mary, where he was crowned king, and Bury St Edmunds, where he was ultimately put to rest. The path also comes through West Stow from the River Lark Valley path and along Icknield Way through the Anglo Saxon Village. From there, the trail passes via the King’s Forest and onto Thetford, along the Little Ouse and finally to Brandon. The St Edmund Way trail is mapped out here, courtesy of The British Pilgrimage Trust. Those interested in undertaking the journey are welcome for a night of rest at our glamping site!
There are also many other scenic walking and cycling trails right at our doorstep, including some we’ve mapped out ourselves! These include the Lark Valley Walk, the Cadogan Pub Walk, the Culford Walk, the Anglo Saxon Village Walk, the River Lark Walk, the Guiness Arms Walk, the 4 Church Walk and more.