Feature Walk: Sailor's Path
December 2012 saw the long awaited reopening of the Sailor’s Path, which had been restored and upgraded in a joint effort by Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB, Suffolk Secrets, Suffolk County Council and the AONB’s EU Balance project.
The historic, six-mile route connects the village of Snape with the town of Aldeburgh, and forms part of the Suffolk Coastal Path. In times past it was used by sailors who, finding their boats stuck in the low tide at Snape Maltings, were forced to walk back to their homes in Aldeburgh. Gangs of smugglers also used the path, and would attack anyone they thought to be spying on them. The path takes in beautiful views of the River Alde and Black Heath wood, as well as picturesque marshland and reed beds.
Walking the length of the Sailor’s Path should take between 3 and 4 hours. Though the paths are well surfaced and newly renovated, high visibility clothing is recommended, as some of the walk is by road.
Upon leaving Snape Maltings, turn right directly after the bridge. Here you will pick up signs for the Sailor’s Path, which will guide you past the Sailor’s Path Cottages, through Black Heath wood and all the way to Aldeburgh.
When you reach the main Aldeburgh road, follow the footpath to the right. You’ll pass the entrance to Aldeburgh Golf Club, which will be on the other side of the road. Continue to follow the road into Aldeburgh.
Should you wish to take an extended route, then cross the road beyond the Golf Club entrance. After the first houses, turn left onto a metalled track (Golf Lane).
At The Red House, where composer Benjamin Britten and singer Peter Pears lived until their deaths, fork left onto the footpath. You will cross two fairways, so remember to beware of golf balls.
Cross the road and enter Warren Hill Lane. When the lane ends, continue to follow the path. At the track, turn left and immediately right.
On your left you’ll see views of Thorpeness Gatehouse, The House in the Clouds and Sizewell Nuclear Power Station.
Finally, cross the road and head towards the beach, and turn right onto the metalled path. This will take you back to Aldeburgh.