Clare, set in the heart of the Stour Valley, is the smallest town in Suffolk. It is steeped in history, contains a number of beautiful listed buildings and is surrounded by glorious countryside that provides a feast of opportunities for walkers. Clare Castle Country Park Trust has produced leaflets for 6 circular walks from the Park. With its car park (modest all day parking charge), toilets and ‘Platform One’ café the Park is the perfect place for walkers to start and finish their exploration of the area.
The 6 walks range in distance from 2 to 7 miles. Whilst there is minor over-lap between some of the walks, they all have a distinct character and direction and collectively offer a diversity of views of Clare and its surrounds. They are rated as intermediate because there are occasional stiles to climb and agricultural fields to cross. For walkers with less mobility there are a number of flat paths to explore within the Park and the Town.
Hard copy versions are available from the Information Point in Platform One, Clare Library and various outlets in the Town – PDF downloads can be found below.
For those wishing to stay a while, Clare has a range of shops and a variety of options for food and accommodation ranging from a hotel, pubs, restaurants, cafes and B&Bs, information on which can be found on Visit Clare website or from Platform One café or Clare Library.
The Clare Loop
Originating from Clare Castle Country Park, the Clare Loop Walk has the town of Clare at its centre. It is the perfect introduction to the rolling hills of West Suffolk, from which there are fine views of the town.
This walk takes in views over the Stour Valley, turns north into a rolling landscape where deer and hare are frequently encountered, has wide views over the Suffolk Heights and descends back to Clare along the Bury to Clare Path.
This walk comprises a long leg east along the valley floor to the pretty village of Cavendish, essentially following the course of the River Stour, followed by a return leg west on the Stour Valley Path. The views of the Stour Valley on the return leg are sublime.
This walk takes you south across the Essex border. You will walk past the remains of the old Mill and across the Mill Meadows. Then up an ancient drovers road and when you start to descend back into Clare there are some amazing views of the town and Clare Castle.
The first half of this walk follows the Stour Valley Path up and along the shoulder of higher ground to the south of the Stour before descending to the River. From there, it returns to Clare via gently rising land near Ovington before descending to the valley floor once more.
This walk starts off along the River Stour and then follows a very rural path past the Upper Common, across arable land and back down to Chilton Street. There is a footpath alongside the road that leads you back through the town of Clare.