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Beccles Walks - Gillingham Swan - 5.8 Miles

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This is an easy circular walk just under six miles. There are several stiles on this route. 25% is on tarmac. Outside Beccles, these roads were very quiet. The river Waveney paths are really nice. The farm tracks are interesting and pleasant. There are some buildings of historical interest. The main hazard is the Gillingham/Beccles bypass main road crossing.

    Distance  Minutes  Total
A)   From the bus station and Bear and Bells pub, head west and immediately north along Northgate towards Beccles quay and the river. 500 Yds 7 7
B) Before you reach the quay, turn left to cross the river to the Norfolk side and head north west along the main road footpath towards Gillingham. 350 Yds 4 11
C) Turn right off the main road, using a stile, onto a small signposted path. Head north east and work your way round the back of the caravan site and boat yards until you reach the river footpath. Head roughly north following the river until the riverside path ends. 1 Mile 20 31
D) Using the stile, turn left into the field and head north across it. Keep right until you reach a second stile. Cross this and turn left to head north. 150 Yds 2 33
E) Continue north, then left/west and then right/north again. This section goes through farm buildings but I was able to confirm with a pleasant local horsewoman that this was the proper right of way. 220 Yds 2 35
F) After the farm buildings, turn left and head west for just under half a mile. The path is signposted. 700 Yds 9 44
G) Turn left and head south for another half mile or so. The path is signposted. 700 Yds 9 53
H) Veer right and head west to approach the main road. This road has a 60mph (100km/h) speed limit so cross with caution. At peak times I'd avoid this crossing altogether by turning right along the main road and using the foot bridge near Gillingham church. You can return through the village centre avoiding the bypass. 450 Yds 5 58
I) In Gillingham village, turn left and head south if you want to drop in to the pub. Alternatively go straight over the main road and head west along "The Street". 100 Yds 1 59
J) The Swan Inn / Motel has a nice outside seating area. After a suitable pause, head north back to (I) where you turn left into "The Street" and head west. 100 Yds 1 60
K) After only 100 yards along "The Street", turn left into King's Dam and head south, soon veering right/west. Stay on this tarmac lane for over half a mile until you reach Dunburgh. There are several left turns that should be avoided. None have footpath or waymark signs. 0.6 Mile 12 1:12
L) Near the end of Dunburgh village, turn left off the tarmac lane and enter the deep dark wood on a narrow signposted footpath which quickly drops to river level. The turning is not too obvious. There is a low wooden fence with a waymark arrow. Zigzag through the fence/chicane to get into the wood. This path follows the river in both directions. Near the water, turn left and head south and east. Later the path veers north again. Follow the riverside path all the way back to the main road. 2 Miles 50 2:02
M) The path rejoins the main road at Beccles Old Bridge. Turn right and cross the bridge heading east along Bridge Street. At (B) turn right along Northgate and head south back to the town centre and bus station (A). 500 Yds 7 2:09