1. From the bottom right-hand corner of the picnic site take a path on the right. At a complex junction of paths by two houses bear slightly right on a gently rising path and follow this to a lane.
Away to the left, rising above the muddy tidal flats of the river, the remote and ancient church, St Botolph's, can be seen. There was a monastic cell there as early as AD 647 and the chancel contains a Saxon cross carved with dragons. Sadly, the nave was almost destroyed by fire in 1968.
2. Turn right. After 100 yards turn left on a footpath over a stile. The path is not visible on the ground at the time of writing. It goes along the right-hand side of the field and then bears left to a stile.
Over the stile turn left on a surfaced track and after 70 yards turn right. Turn right again immediately to pass to the right of a barn so that initially you are walking back almost in the same direction but on the opposite side of a large pond. At the top right-hand corner of the field turn left to walk along the top edge of the field with a wood on the right. When the wood ends at a cross-path, turn right to continue walking with the wood on the right.
3. After about 300 yards turn right on a signed path and left after 40 yards. After another 40 yards turn right on a less obvious path to walk along the right-hand side of a field, with a strip of wood on the right, to a lane.
4. Cross the lane and go right for a few yards to a track on the left into Tunstall Forest. Continue walking along this track as far a a house on the left, ignoring all side tracks.
5. Just after the house, turn right on a track. After 150 yards, as the track bears right, bear left on a grassy path. Continue ahead at a broad cross-track the bear left at a fork 100 yards after this.
Did you Know..
Tunstall forest together with Rendlesham and Dunwich Forests make up the 14 square miles of Aldewood Forest. The area was planted with conifers by the Forestry Commission in the 1920s. Prior to this, the area had been heathland with little agricultural potential. During the First World War there had been a shortage of timber. Almost all of their planting was conifers because these are very quick growing in the warm, wet British climate and the areas chosen were poor quality farmland, such as this. Some of the trees are now being harvested which gives this section of the walls a somewhat blasted appearance, at the time of writing. However, the recuperative powers of nature are such that it will soon recover.
1. Cross a lane and continue in the same direction.
2. After about 300 yards the path splits into three. Follow the middle branch, protected by vertical wooden posts, to a road.
3. Cross the road and continue in the same direction. Ignore faint paths on the right and carry on to a substantial cross-path.
4. Turn right, going between posts and through a shallow bank. Continue ahead at a cross-path the pass a large pit on the right.
5. Turn left at a T-junction with a cross-path in front of a fence and follow this to a lane.
6. Turn right along the lane. At a junction with a main road turn left to Snape Maltings and the teashop.
Did you know..
In the summer of 1941 a young English composer called Benjamin Britten from Suffolk, living in the United States, came across the work of the poet George Crabbe. As a parish priest in the late 18th century, Crabbe led an unremarkable life in Aldeburgh but in his verses he told the grim truth about rural conditions at the time, unlike his Romantic contemporaries. Talking about almshouses:
You have placed your poor, you pitiable few
There, in one house, throughout their lives to be
The pauper palace which they have to see:
It is a prison with milder name
Which few inhabit without dread or shame.
This discovery was a defining point in Britten's life and he realised that he would find his best inspiration back in Suffolk. He returned home and began work on the opera 'Peter Grimes', inspired by the work of Crabbe. Its first performance in 1945, with Britten's friend and companion Peter Pears in the title role, marked the reopening of Sadlers Wells Theatre after the war and the start of his brilliant career as a composer of opera.
In 1947 Britten, Pears and the librettist Eric Crozier decided to start a small music festival at Aldeburgh to give British opera a better stage in its home country. Early events were held in halls and churches in Aldeburgh and the surrounding area. As the festival's popularity and fame grew it became apparent that a large and permanent concert hall was needed.
Snape Maltings is a 19th century industrial complex built by Newson Garrett, one of a family who were leading industrialists and intellectuals of their day.
One daughter was Elizabeth Garret Anderson, who was both the first woman doctor and the first woman mayor, taking office as mayor of Aldeburgh in 1908. Another was Dame Milliceni Garret Fawcett, a suffragette and one of the founders of Newnham College, Cambridge. The brick buildings were originally used to prepare local barley for brewing and the malt produced was shipped out down the Alde. It was opened as a concert hall in 1967 but suffered a major setback when it was gutted by fire on the first night of the festival in 1969. Brilliantly restored in a year, it is widely regarded as among the finest in Europe, thanks to its magnificent acoustics.