Suffolk's Hidden Gems: Nature Trails and Walks Near Sudbury
19th September 2023
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Suffolk is renowned for its natural beauty, and Sudbury and its surrounding areas are no exception. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or someone just looking for a leisurely stroll, there are several picturesque trails to explore. Let's discover some hidden gems in Sudbury, Clare, Lavenham, and Long Melford that offer the perfect backdrop for your next outdoor adventure.

Sudbury Water Meadows

Right in the heart of Sudbury, the Water Meadows provide an idyllic setting for a walk along the River Stour. This charming area inspired many of Thomas Gainsborough's paintings, and it's easy to see why. The lush landscape offers multiple paths, suitable for all ages, and is perfect for picnics or a quiet afternoon of birdwatching. Park up in the long stay car park next to Kingfisher Leisure Centre and start your walk at the Valley Trail. Your walk can take you to Kings Meadow and the Mill Hotel or you can continue through to Rodbridge and you can enjoy a pint at Nethergate Brewery. You can download the map and info here

Sudbury Talbot Trail

Embark on a journey through Sudbury's storied past with The Talbot Trail, a captivating circuit featuring 14 distinctive statues. Each sculpture offers a unique window into various significant moments in the town's rich history. As you traverse this trail, you'll encounter an array of Sudbury's time-honoured natural landscapes, historical landmarks, and architectural wonders along the way.

Begin your exploration with the first statue, named 'The Town Gaol,' situated just behind Sudbury Town Hall in Gaol Lane. This starting point is conveniently located adjacent to the grand Victorian entryway that leads into the Sudbury Heritage Centre & Museum. You can download a map here

Clare Castle Country Park

Located in the historic village of Clare, this country park is set around the remains of Clare Castle. The park offers a variety of walks, including routes along the River Stour and through beautiful woodland areas. There's also a playground for kids and a café for when you need a refreshment break. The Castle Park also host a weekly Park Run. You can find more info here

Lavenham Walks

Lavenham is well-known for its medieval architecture, but it also has some delightful walking routes, including circular walks or the Railway Walk that takes you all the way to Long Melford. The trails offer a mix of scenic views and historical sites. Choose from a number of routes, including walks through open fields and ancient woodlands, taking you past some of the village's most iconic timber-framed houses. Pop into the Lavenham’s Village Hub near The Guildhall to pick up a free footpath maps.

Long Melford

The Long Melford Circular Walks are a collection of walking routes, thoughtfully curated by local community members to enrich the experience of both residents and tourists. Each pathway is meticulously planned to showcase the stunning landscapes of the village and its neighbouring areas. To immerse yourself in the scenic charm of Long Melford and its surrounding countryside, simply download a guide for your selected walk and set out on your adventure.


Hartest is a quintessential English village a few miles from Long Melford. I wrote about a lovely 5 mile walk that starts and finishes at The Crown. You can read it here. It would be a lovely walk to do on a Sunday that finishes with a delicious roast dinner. 

Where to Refuel: Cafés, Tea Rooms, and Pubs Near the Trails

After a refreshing walk, there's nothing better than enjoying some local cuisine or a hot cuppa. Here are some recommendations based on the walking routes:


David’s: David’s is a little gem of a café, with home cooked delights and fabulous coffee. Please note that children under the age of 15 aren’t allowed.

The Secret Garden:Located near the Water Meadows, this café offers a selection of homemade cakes and fresh coffees. Perfect for a cosy afternoon.

Painters at The Angel – just a few minutes from the Valley Path, past the Quay and Cricket Club, you and your furry friends will get a warm welcome. Cakes, coffee and a selection of homemade cakes await you.


Platform One Cafe: Situated within Clare Castle Country Park itself, this tearoom offers a wide variety of refreshments, from ice creams to full English breakfasts.

Small Town Coffee and Bakery in the centre of Clare, is a small independent café and bakery.


Lavenham Blue Vintage Tearoom: A short walk from most trails, this traditional family run tearoom offers a quintessential English experience with a selection of cakes and a variety of teas. With a welcoming atmosphere and great customer service, this is a real treat for any walkers!

Long Melford

You are spoiled for choice for refreshments in Long Melford. You can’t go wrong with Long Melford Tea Rooms,  Eliza’s Tea Room is just down the road. The Crown is good for pub lunch and a pint, and of course, there's Nethergate Brewery serving their beers from their Tap Room, with street food available on Fridays and Saturdays.

Whether you're local to Sudbury or visiting from further afield, these nature trails and walks provide a wonderful way to experience the charming landscapes that Suffolk has to offer. Each location has its own unique attributes, making them perfect for repeated visits throughout the year. So, lace up those walking boots and discover what makes Sudbury and its neighbouring villages a walker's paradise!


About the Author

Penny W

Member since: 17th March 2014

Hello! I'm Penny from thebestof Sudbury, shouting about the best local businesses from Hadleigh through the Clare. When I'm not doing that, you'll find me knitting socks or tending to my 6 chickens

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