Day 311: Southwold to Thorpeness

Distance: 10.99 miles

Ascent: 424 feet

Weather: Sunny

Accommodation: The Warner’s House, Thorpeness (Kindly Offered)


I woke up annoyingly early this morning considering I was in no rush at all today. The reason I was in no rush is the bridge across the Blythe has been condemned and the normally summer only row ferry across is active from 11am each day to get people across the river. Also it was an unusually short day meaning I had plenty of time. I decided to walk up to the Harbour Café a bit after 8 in the hope that it was open, which it was and then I was presuming I would chill inside until I could be rowed across.

In fact, it didn’t turn out like that at all. The Harbour Café was lovely with a roaring fire and I was sat assuming I’d be there for a couple of hours, but a couple of customers asked about the walk based on the poster and the café very kindly gave me my breakfast for free, and after several donations, suddenly the café had contacted the chandlery and there was a rib ready to take me across the river. Honestly the amount of kindness shown to me in this first hour of the day was incredible, I had been fed, over £50 had been donated to the charity and a boat had been organised to get me across the river on top of lots of nice words from people.

I landed on the other side of the river at Walberswick and soon joined the pebble beach. There was a sort of embankment to start before I had to join the pebble beach proper and maybe 3 miles later I reached Dunwich a little village. I should point out the Suffolk Coast Path, which I think would be better termed A Path Through Suffolk Which Very Occasionally Touches The Coast, was doing it’s thing of not actually following the coast.

From Dunwich I had a couple of miles of following the pebble beach which was becoming tiring under foot, under the Dunwich Cliffs though at the edge of the Minsmere Nature Reserve I joined the Suffolk Coast Path which was for once by the coast and on a fairly firm path. I took this path all the way down by the Sizewell Power Station and onto the village of Sizewell, before following a final path along the low cliffs to Thorpeness.

Thorpeness until the 19th century was a tiny village but in around 1910 the Ogilivies began creating a fantasy holiday village and the place still has an eclectic mix of things to this day. The House in the Clouds being one of its most bizarre features with a house seemingly atop a 5 story tower, which was in fact just an elaborate way of covering the water tank (annoyingly I didn’t get a photo of this.)

I was meeting Dick Warner here at his house, and due to the low mileage I was quite early. The house was lovely and as expected Dick was a great host, he had baked scones, there was a sourdough in the oven (which may have accidentally been left in oven) and there were two lovely sausage rolls out of the oven shortly after arrival.. Dick went out to play some golf which allowed me to have a wash and get some of my admin done. He very kindly treated me to dinner at the local pub and then we both retired quite early as there is 20+ miles to walk tomorrow.

A short but lovely day, with so much kindness shown to me.

charles compton