On Tuesday, Bryony and I set out for our regular morning walk in aid of getting fit, or at least fitter. The route goes down the gentle slope of the Needham Road out of Harleston. We then turn right into Starston Lane. This has a dip in the road from which water cannot escape and a rather steeoer slope the other side of it – see the gully at the start of Starston Lane (Walking, talking and listening). The dip was completely flooded filling the whole road. There was no route to either side. We gave up and returned home.
Since winter is coming on and we are likely to face more occasions when we cannot use this route. I was determined to find a new route, roughly equivalent to this one.
I first sought to circumvent the gully. This is possible by continuing on towards the roundabout and turning right along the side of the Needham bypass. There is no footpath here but plenty of fairly flat grass. In 200 - 300 yards we reach a footpath (also not paved) going back to Starston Lane.
|Adjusting the usual Starston :Lane route|
While this isn’t a major diversion, the lack of paved walking is a major drawback. This is not a long morning walk. The only way it can deliver a reasonable contribution to an exercise regime is by taking it reasonably quickly. As winter draws in and the mornings become darker, there is no chance of maintaining a reasonable speed over this portion. Sadly, this route has to be rejected.
I’ve always liked the route to Harleston’s sister community in Redenhall. This has the advantage that it can all be walked on paved roads, which are, mostly, free of traffic.
|Route via Redenhall and the Gawdy Hall Estate|
There are however some major drawbacks. It crosses the main A143 twice, which means waiting for a gap in the traffic. It is also about 4.3 miles long. This is too long for a morning walk which has to be fitted with our commitments as grandparents. A pity, I liked this route.
The advantage of the north eastern end of town is that it exhibits far fewer steep slopes, so the tendency to get flooded is also reduced. After heavy this also seems a good alternative. The major issue was to find a route that was roughly equivalent to the distance of the Starston Lane route, kept to paved roads and which was relatively free of traffic. Eventually I chose a route as shown below.
|Route via School Lane and Lush Bush|
It proved to be a couple of hundred yards longer than the Starston Lane route, but we encounter slightly less traffic. The timings are very similar.