There are three walks around Shotley which bring out the best features in this area. The Shotley Point Stroll is an easy 2.7 miles. The Two Rivers Walk is a little more challenging at 5.4 miles and, for enthusiastic ramblers, the Farms and Rivers Walk at 7.5 miles is great for working up an appetite!
Farms and Rivers Walk
To download a copy of map click here Farms & Rivers Walk
For anyone wanting to experience the tranquility of the peninsula, view the hustle and bustle of the UK’s largest container port and walk right alongside two mighty rivers, the Orwell and the Stour, then this walk is just for you.
It is a circular route 7.5 miles in total and will take around 2 hours 30minutes at a moderate pace. The overall terrain is relatively flat with no stiles to climb although in places it can be quite muddy in wet weather.
There are several convenient places to start this circular walk with parking available at Shotley Village Hall, the bottom of Bristol Hill adjacent to the river Stour or at Shotley Marina. The description of the walk chosen here starts at Shotley Marina.
If traveling by bus the 98 or 202 from Ipswich Cattle Market bus station will bring you right into Shotley, with bus stops at the Rose Public House, the Bristol Arms and the Shipwreck all on the route of this walk.
Start at the Marina and proceed westwards alongside the river Stour towards Shotley Gate. At the bottom of Bristol Hill you will see the picnic area.
Directly opposite the picnic area is Parkeston Quay, and Harwich International Port. The Quay is very busy with ‘roll on roll off’ freight ships, grain carrying ships, and home to the year round Stenna Line Superferries that travel twice daily to the Hook of Holland. Most impressive of all for ship watchers are the huge Cruise Liners that use the Port during the summer.
If you want to time your visit to Shotley to coincide with the berth of one of these megaships, please have a look at the timetable
There continue through the picnic area on the coastal path towards the village of Erwarton, a couple of miles further on. This footpath is part of the ‘Suffolk Way’. For the next half mile, the coastal path sits at the foot of Shotley Cliff. There are benches dotted here and there, and the 8 acres of cliff and woodland is known as ‘Shotley Heritage Park’. The local community look after the area and if you have the time and energy it’s worth spending time exploring it.
The ‘Two Rivers Walk’ and the ‘Shotley Point Stroll’ both go through and around Shotley Heritage Park so it may be worth leaving the Heritage Park for another day.
Before leaving the path at the foot of the cliff there are fine views to be had of the RSPB Erwarton Bay reserve. An information board adjacent to the coastal path tells of the international importance of the mudflats as a feeding ground for migrating birds. The bench at the side of the information board is a lovely spot to rest a while and soak up the atmosphere looking across the vast swathe of foreshore to the County of Essex on the opposite bank of the river.
As you walk up out of the Heritage Park a small sign ‘Shotley and Erwarton Coastal Path’ points the way. This takes you through the small hamlet of the ‘Brickyards’.
Take a left turn at the electricity transformer and follow the two guys in the picture back to the coastal path.
A little way along the next stretch of pathway are good expanses of salt marsh. Inland, the small wood known as Kiln Queach can be seen.
At the ‘Erwarton One’ sluice gate, head inland towards Erwarton. The path forks left towards Erwarton St. Mary’s church and leads towards the main road. Follow the markers all the way up to the church, which winds it’s way alongside some houses.
It’s well worth a look in the church, and runour has it that the heart of Anne Boleyn is buried in the wall of the church as she often visited her Uncle, Sir Phillip Calthorpe, who lived in Erwarton Hall. For more information on Anne Boleyn and her Erwarton connection take a look at this website:
Turn right at the church and taking care as this section is a fairly well used B road, carry on past Erwarton Hall with it’s fine Gatehouse that frames the tudor mansion beyond.
Continue past Warren Lane and turn left into Erwarton Walk with it’s avenue of veteran chestnut trees. Erwarton Walk finishes on the main Shotley to Ipswich road (the B 1456).
Take care crossing over the road and follow the field to the left up to the first hedge. At the hedge turn right and follow the path towards ‘Cow Meadow’.
Alderton’s Grove can be seen on your right. The green lane (Cow Lane) is to be taken left and out onto Church Walk with Shotley Hall opposite.
Turn left and then second right. The footpath is on a hard farm track and will take you to Wades Lane. At the lane, turn right and follow the road to Hill House Farm which is sign posted off to the right. Don’t go up to Hill House Farm and carry straight on down Wades Lane to an area of holiday cottages and farm buildings.
Follow the path through to the right and continue to the traditionally grazed Shotley marshes. The mighty Port of Felixstowe is now coming into view. The cranes become so close you can almost touch the containers across on the other side of the River Orwell.
As you come to a steel gate down some steps, take a left towards the river wall. There are steps on the left leading up to the top of the river wall, and a right turn on the river path will give you fine views across the Orwell salt marshes all the way back to Shotley Marina.
As you emerge from the path at the back of the Marina, take a left turn at the finger post and this will lead you up to the lock, where there is a footbridge to cross. It’s a very busy marina throughout summer with boat coming and going from all over. Shotley is a very popular destination for Dutch, Belgian and French sailors so look out for the many nationalities’ flags fluttering in the breeze.
You have now arrived back where you started, and hope you enjoyed the Shotley Farms and Rivers Walk.
Shotley Point Stroll and Two Rivers Walk
‘The Arthur Ransome Walking Trail’ is part of a series of events being organised by the ‘Shotley Peninsula Tourist Action Group’. This year is the 80th anniversary of the publication of Arthur Ransome’s novel ‘We didn’t mean to go to Sea’, and 50 years since his death. Shotley Open Spaces has worked with the Tourist Action Group by helping to develop the Arthur Ransome walking trail.
Whilst the route of the trail is not new (it follows existing public rights of way adjacent to the river Orwell) there are eight information boards located around the peninsula and a leaflet describing the six mile walk.
The information boards, installed at Suffolk Food Hall, Alton Water, Lower Holbrook, Woolverstone Marina, Pin Mill and Shotley celebrate various aspects of the Author and his life and works. The walking trail leaflet describes a journey on the river from Pin Mill to Shotley that is the start of the children’s adventure in the book ‘We didn’t mean to go to Sea’.
As you walk the river path and follow the new ‘Arthur Ransome Trail’ waymarkers, the leaflet has narrative from the book at the actual locations described in the book. It really is a work of fiction brought to life as you follow the trail from one end to the other.