Distance: 9 Miles
Elevation Range: 30 to 200 feet
Difficulty: Easy (a few light hills)
Weather Check: BBC Weather Stoke By Nayland.
Map: Click here and once loaded select “Leisure” map
Route Card: Stoke By Nayland and Polstead Bridge over the River Box
Stoke By Nayland is one of those villages you need to pass through to get somewhere else. The snippet you glimpse gives little away.
St Mary’s church dominates the south side of the common and leads to School street where medieval architecture stands as it did in John Constables day, less the cars and tarmac of course.
The population 703 according to wiki which seems light for a church of such size, and sign of the wealth the area has produced over the centuries.
Surrounded by a few small hills the area is unusual to flat Suffolk. Nothing high enough to boast special landscape views but certainly enough interest to add character to a walk.
Wiki mentions Stoke By Nayland has a hunt called the clean boot and their goal is to follow human scent, no perfume, no fox.
I am not “anti hunting” but I don’t like fox-hunting or paper chase or whatever they call it when loads of guys n gals on horses chase around the country in posh clothes and noisy beagles.
There are several reasons I do not like it:
- The noise
- The damage
- The danger to other footpath and bridleway users
- The attitude toward other country users not part of the hunt
- Innocent victims*
This needs some explaining, it’s probably not what you think. Between age 7 and 15 I lived in Withington, a village in Gloucestershire, the hunt would regularly run around, and sometimes through the village. I had to avoid them several times, once diving for cover as horses jumped hedges beside a footpath.
While frightening; it was exciting too.
As a child I had little compassion for the fox, and my opinion hasn’t changed much now although I err on live and let live.
There were two brothers living in the village, their names Jezebel and Knocker. They had a small cottage in Kings Head lane. Both of them were old, Knocker I think in his early 80′s. Both born and brought up in Withington and both kind-hearted gentleman. Knocker rarely spoke but Jezebel was a minor celebrity as he had won a medal for bravery during WW2 and thus pint-buying tourists and occasional Journalist attracted his attention.
Knocker was often seen walking through the village with his staff, a long walking stick with a V on the end. Apart from that his only passion was his devotion to his cats. He took great care of them and as you walked up the lane they would purr from perched place on their Cotswold stone wall.
That is until the hunt passed through one day and the beagles shredded his cats and left their remains scattered along the wall and his garden.
Distraught and heartbroken Knocker died less than two weeks after the incident.
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