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walking in sudbury

covid-19 restrictions

We look forward to welcoming visitors back to Sudbury when COVID-19 restrictions allow. Take a look here for UK Gov's Roadmap out of lockdown, if you are local we hope you find this guide handy for exploring Sudbury on foot.

If you have any questions about a future visit, please get in touch with our Visitor Information team who will be happy to assist.  If you have a trail that you'd like to add - please get in touch!

Background photo credit: Sue Longhurst

From riverside walks along the Stour, gentle ambles across Sudbury's ancient water meadows, town trails taking in Sudbury's unique history and architecture to fascinating strolls along lost railway lines there is something for avid ramblers, wildlife spotters to curious culture buffs alike.

Sudbury is surrounded by breathtaking landscape accented by the River Stour and ancient Water Meadows that have inspired the some of the world's most celebrated artists - among Sudbury's very own Thomas Gainsborough.

With excellent transport links, some wonderful independent cafes, restaurants and pubs, and accommodation, Sudbury is the perfect place to find refreshment or rest up on your longer walking routes - both the Stour Valley Path and The St Edmund Way pass through Sudbury. 

Take a look below for free maps, guides and tips to help you make the most of your Sudbury exploration. If you'd prefer a bit more guidance why not book on one of our guided town tours? Perfect for the first time visitor!

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enjoy some sudbury hospitality

Looking for places to eat, drink, visit or stay in Sudbury as part of you walking trip? Plan ahead at Sudbury's Virtual High Street with a wide selection of independent restaurants, cafes and pubs for your mid ramble break! If you're walking on a Thursday or Saturday don't forget to drop in on Sudbury Market on route.

go car free

With excellent public transport links and a range of amentities in the town centre, Sudbury is perfect start or end point for further exploration. Sudbury is the terminus station on the scenic 'The Gainsborough Line', a bus network also connects Sudbury to many nearby rural towns and villages. Cycling to Sudbury? Take a look at this handy cycle route map.

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walkers are welcome

Sudbury is working towards national 'Walkers are Welcome' accreditation. ​Our WaW committee actively promote walking in Sudbury. We are also a dog friendly town, many of our high street businesses will welcome you and your pooch with open arms (and complimentary dog treats). Local to Sudbury? Pledge your support for Sudbury's WaW accreditation campaign.

let us guide you!

You do the walking, we do the talking...Mix up your Sudbury exploration with tales of Sudbury's fascinating history From Saxon settlements, artistic inspiration, peasants revolts to Sudbury Silk. Book on one of our Guided Tours to find out more about Sudbury's unique heritage. 

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suffolk (virtual) walking festival 2021

Sudbury is proud to take part in this annual celebration of walking in Suffolk. The 2021 Festival will be virtual taking place 22 - 31 May, with daily tips and trails shared by walk organisers. Take a look here for updates.​

sudbury SELF GUIDED trails & stour valley exploration

Walk in Gainsborough's footsteps, discover Sudbury's industrious past and present and the buildings that characterise the wealth of The Wool Towns, walk along lost railways, discover Sudbury's Silk Weaving heritage and the ancient watermeadows - a haven for wildlife. These fascinating self-guided trails are easy going and perfect for anyone who likes a mix of town and country on their walks!

GAINSBOROUGH TRAIL

MEADOW WALK

Circular route - 4 miles / gentle 

Start Point:

Kingfisher Leisure Centre Car Park, 

Sudbury, CO10 2SU

The Meadow Walk is the first section of the Gainsborough Trail, named after the famous Painter Thomas Gainsborough who was born in Sudbury and spent much of his formative years as an artist sketching Sudbury's inspiring landscape.

The Meadow Walk features Sudbury’s ancient water meadows, which, having never been farmed, are a rich source of biodiversity for a wide variety of wild flowers, insects, birds and mammals. The meadows are carefully managed by the Sudbury Common Lands Charity who continue the old tradition of summer cattle grazing. Along the route you will also discover remnants of Sudbury’s industrial heritage and stunning views that vary throughout the seasons.

Footage following Gainsborough Trail: Meadow Walk.  Credit: Joe Jackson, LakeDistrick-Walks.co.uk

the talbot trail

Circular town trail - easy / accessible

Start Point:

Sudbury Heritage Centre, Town Hall (Gaol Lane), Sudbury, CO10 2EA

The Talbot Trail is a series of 14 statues around Sudbury that depict various fascinating episodes in the town’s history over the centuries. The trail is an excellent way to navigate your way around Sudbury with many of the town's ancient natural, historical and architectural gems to enjoy on route.

From peasants' revolting to Elizabethan actors jigging, walk in the footsteps of some fascinating local characters from Sudbury's unique past.

The first statue 'The Town Gaol' and the beginning of The Talbot Trail is situated adjacent to Sudbury Town Hall, in Gaol Lane, near the impressive Victorian doorway that forms the entrance to Sudbury Heritage Centre & Museum.

suffolk threads:

sudbury

Circular town trail - 3.5 miles easy / accessible

Start Point:

St Peter's and Market Hill,

Sudbury, CO10 2EH

In the 15th and 16th century, the fate of a handful of Suffolk towns was changed forever by the wool trade: Lavenham, Long Melford, Hadleigh, Clare and Sudbury.  By the early 14th century Sudbury was one of England’s wealthiest towns, largely thanks to the woollen industry. Much of this wealth was spent on fine timber-framed houses, and rebuilding and decorating churches.

 

By the 1520s religious conflicts disrupted continental markets. However, Sudbury’s spinners and weavers turned to producing lighter fabrics - today Sudbury's status as the UK's capital of silk remains intact. This walk leads you through the bustling old town with its historic buildings and ancient streets, into Sudbury Meadows. 

 

Find out more about The Wool Towns (Video by Dedham Vale AONB)

Melford Hall to Sudbury:

Three Mills walk

5.5 miles - moderate route

Dog friendly - please be aware of grazing cattle on Sudbury Water Meadows from May - September.

Start Point:

Melford Hall,  Long Melford,

Sudbury, CO10 9AA

A very pleasant country walk along part of the old Great Eastern 'Stour Valley Railway' which once connected Long Melford to Sudbury, starting from the magnificent Melford Hall. With some fine architectural marvels on route including the three mills that remind us of Sudbury's industrious heritage: Borley Mill, Brundon Mill and Sudbury Mill (now The Mill Hotel).

 

The walk ends in Sudbury town centre via the ancient Sudbury Common Lands. A very pleasant walk with plenty of places to eat and drink for refreshment in Sudbury when you finish. 

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gainsborough's

sudbury

Circular town trail - easy / accessible

No prescribed route, enjoy the landmarks at your leisure, a central start point is the Gainsborough Statue.

Start Point:

Gainsborough Statue, Market Hill,

Sudbury, CO10 2EH

Walk in Gainsborough's footsteps and discover the Sudbury that the great painter would have known in the 18th Century. From the Indpendent Meeting House on Friars Street where Gainsborough was baptised, the ancient water meadows that ingnited his passion for landscape painting, not forgetting Gainsbourgh's House - the Artist's birthplace & public museum dedicated to his life and work - currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment project: ‘Reviving an Artist’s Birthplace – a national centre for Gainsborough’. Read more here.

Prefer to walk in Gainsborough's Footsteps with an expert Guide? Take a look at our guided tours for 2021.

railway walk:

the valley trail

long melford to sudbury

3 - 3.5 miles, linear route - easy

This route is also used by cyclists, the Valley Trail is largely accessible. Accessible route version download here.

Start Point:

Melford Country Park, 3-4 Borley Rd, Long Melford, Sudbury CO10 9HH

This walk follows the disused section of The Stour Valley Line railway.  To bookend the rail theme of this walk, you can start at the former Long Melford Railway Station (now a private residence) or at Melford Country Park.  Explore the beautiful Country Park before you embark on The Valley Trail - there are some very scenic viewing points across the River Stour. Look out for the 18th Milestone on Rodbridge Corner before you turn into Borley Road for The Valley Trail.

To start The Valley Trail, proceed past the picnic benches close to the Country Park car park embankment and go through the entrance on your right signed "To Valley Trail". It is almost a straight walk into Sudbury, along the 2.7 mile disused railway line.  Try the Meadow Walk (Gainsborough Trail) for further exploration.

Footage following the Valley Trail from Long Melford to Sudbury. Credit: LakeDistrick-Walks.co.uk

The gainsborough branch line walks

Compiled by the 'Managing a Masterpiece' project team, this series of 8 walks that follow the Marks Tey to Sudbury rail branch line, know as 'The Gainsborough Line' they are an excellent way to discover some of the most beautiful and historically fascinating parts of the Stour Valley on foot via linear routes, each walk starts and ends at a rail station for a great car-free day out.

Ramble Number 2: 

Sudbury Station to Bures Station: 6-7 miles

Start Point:

Sudbury Station, Station Road, CO10 2RD

This is the area which gave both Gainsborough and Constable their inspiration, but the history of the valley you traverse has its roots much deeper in history than this, as evinced by the Anglo-Saxon place names themselves: Sudbury – South Fort, Cornard – Corn Land, Lamarsh – Lambs Marsh, Alphamstone – Aelfhelms Farm, Bures – cottages.

Ramble Number 8: 

Bures Station to Sudbury Station

Start Point:

Bures Station, Station Hill, CO8 5DX

This walk follows the heights bordering the eastern side of the Stour Valley through a countryside unspoilt by factory farming. It starts off on quiet Suffolk roads, and crosses the Stour at Henny where it continues via the picturesque hamlet of Middleton and its surroundings before reaching Sudbury via the beautiful water meadows bordering the River Stour.

 

If you have time before you set off (Ramble 2) or on your return (Ramble 8) Sudbury Town Centre is a great place to grab some ramble rocket fuel or to round off your walk with a well deserved meal or refreshing drink - with a great range of independent cafes, restaurants and pubs to chose from. Search Sudbury's Virtual High Street for more information.

GUIDED WALKS IN SUDBURY

sudbury guided walks

with guide east

Start Point: 

Sudbury Visitor Information, Town Hall, (Gaol Lane entrance), Sudbury, CO10 1TL

sudbury GUIDED TOURS WILL RESUME IN MAY 

 

Step into the Sudbury Story, walk in the footsteps of Gainsborough, Sudbury's Silk Stories, join a Sudbury pubcrawl through time and learn about Sudbury's literary links and historic legends, from Dickens to dragons!

 

GUIDED TOUR TICKET PRICES:

Adult: £7.50 / Child (under 16): £4

Family Ticket: £20 (up to 2 adults, up to 3 children)

Step Into the Sudbury Story

Third Saturday of every month | 11:00 - 12:30

Other specialist and seasonal guided walks include:

  • walking in gainsborough's footsteps

  • SUDBURY SILK WALKS:

   the uk capital of silk

  • legends & literature

  • saxon sudbury 

Video by Sandra Borszcz for Sudbury Town Council

useful links - planning your visit

SUDBURY'S VIRTUAL

HIGH STREET

GREATER ANGLIA TRAIN TIMES

STOUR VALLEY PATH

FULL ROUTE

ST EDMUND WAY

FULL ROUTE

SUFFOLK ON BOARD

sudbury cycle map

CHAMBERS BUSES

ROUTES & TIMES

PARKING IN

SUDBURY

GAINSBOROUGH

LINE (ESSCRP)

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All published material on this site belongs to Sudbury Town Council and cannot be reproduced without its express consent.

All documents are correct at the time of publishing; however, we do not accept liability for incorrect information or omissions.