Saxmundham Family Trail
The Saxmundham Family Trail is a 2.35 mile circular walk that joins all four corners of the town. It passes through the high street where there are various shops and cafés to visit. Along or near the route there are six play areas and several open spaces which are ideal for exercise or picnics. The walk can be started at any point and can be travelled in either direction. The guide below highlights a few points of interest along the route to consider exploring further. The following text assumes travel in a clockwise direction and starts at the north-west corner of the Brook Farm housing estate.
The trail starts at a pair of footpath bridges. The little brook flows into the River Fromus to the East. At the bridges, there are footpaths which go north to Kelsale and west to Rendham. The Saxmundham Family Trail takes the track east towards Brook Farm Road, or you may take the path south to find a small open green and the Thurlow Close playpark.
Take extra care when crossing Brook Farm road between the footpath marker posts here. The track from the west turns to a paved path east and heads towards the school, with a picturesque lining of trees and brook to one side. On the south side of the paved footpath is an open meadow
Here the footpath splits, with a separate footpath that goes south to join Tennyson Road. The Saxmundham Family Trail crosses the brook over a wooden bridge and runs parallel between the Saxmundham Primary School playing field and the brook.
At the intersection at the corner of the school, the Saxmundham Family Trail goes in a straight line west to east. There is a footbridge that goes south towards Henley Close and a path north that goes over Brook Farm road via a zebra crossing, which leads
At the entrance to Carlton Park there is a nature and wildlife information board, and beyond this is the large Adventure Playground.
The Family Trail footpath takes a slight “S-bend” as it crosses the cul-de-sac at Felsham Rise, and a wooden footbridge crosses the brook onto Deben Road. There is a small section without a footpath, but this end of the cul-de-sac is quiet. Keep on a straight course and parallel to the brook. To the south is the Grade II listed Fairfield House, the east side of which is a holiday home available to rent.
Here the Brook Farm footpath joins the B1121 at the North Entrance. Set back from the main road is Brook Farm Dairy, a Grade II listed boarded structure preserved as a reminder of the former use of the area. If you head north from here you’d reach an entrance to the Sports Club, and past this is an industrial estate which houses a soft play centre and a gym. The Trail continues along the Main Road.
The Saxmundham Family Trail heads along the High Street, where there is a range of local shops, cafés and various other services, so be sure to take a break here and enjoy everything on offer. Near the railway bridge you’ll find Saxmundham Museum.
The Trail passes through an alleyway from the High Street and crosses the River Fromus over a cast iron bridge to join up with the Priors’ Grange housing estate.
Here there is a play park with picnic benches and an open green area. On the North and South sides of this area there are monuments with recipes for sloe gin and blackberry jam respectively. The Saxmundham Family Trail joins the cycle path before joining up with Church Hill to the south.
On the South side of Church Hill is St John’s Church, the oldest building in Saxmundham, having been recorded in the Domesday Survey of 1086. To the East is the B1119 road to Leiston and to the west is Saxmundham High Street via a crossing over the River Fromus.
At the High Street crossroads is a Saxmundham Town Sign, post office and a number of other shops and services. The trail heads back along the High Street through the centre of the conservation area. .
Where the High Street meets Station Approach is the Bell Hotel and Market Hall, which hosts a variety of community events, so be sure to check the noticeboards at the entrance. The market place is just to the north of Market Hall, and features the old Town Pump and a weekly market held every Wednesday. The Saxmundham Family Trail heads along Station Approach and past the train station.
Just around the corner from here is Albion Mill, a Grade II listed post mill constructed in 1824 that is now a private residence. On the opposite side, further east down Rendham road, is the old 1915 fire station, now also a private house. A bit further east where Rendham Road meets Chapel Road is the Saxmundham United Reformed Church and Masonic Lodge. The Trail takes an alleyway from the corner of Albion Street through to Mill Road; please take extra care on the steps.
Here at the heart of the Mayflower estate is a play area and an open green area to the south. The Saxmundham Family Trail continues along Gilbert Road, where there is an entrance to Memorial Field just opposite Drake Close, and the trail continues along and joins with Montagu Drive.
To the North is the new Police and Fire Station, and just past this is a play area. The play area adjoins Memorial Field which includes a skate park, mini football goals, scouts hut and a pillbox. Memorial Field, opened in 1921 for use by the local community, is a memorial to the people of the town who lost their lives in the Great War. The Trail footpath continues behind the water tower and Memorial Field, and the path to the next marker is again narrow.
Here at the heart of the Mayflower estate is a play area and an open green area to the south. The Trail continues along Gilbert Road, where there is an entrance to Memorial Field just opposite Drake Close, and the trail continues along and joins with Montagu Drive.
Marker 16 & 17
Here Montagu Drive joins with Rendham Road, which the Saxmundham Family Trail crosses at the staggered junction. This road can be busy as it joins the A12, so please take extra care. There is a bench to take a well-earned break by Marker 17. There is a cut-through into Brook Farm to the north and an entrance to Memorial Field off Rendham Road to the east. The Saxmundham Family Trail crosses Brook Farm road and links with footpath track to the west.
Marker 18 and the end of the Trail
Here you’ll see a “Lest we Forget” soldier silhouette and a shaded spot with a bench. This isn’t the quietest spot to take a break due to the A12 traffic, but there is a stream and vegetation behind which provides a nice place to enjoy the nature and wildlife. The Saxmundham Family Trail crosses the brook over a footbridge and continues past the playpark and back towards Marker 1.