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Running on the Suffolk coast

Kick Start your Weekend with these fabulous five running routes

With winding country lanes, miles of coast, forests and heathland trails and riverside routes, enhance your running regime during a trip to Suffolk. Whether you’re a seasoned runner, with hundreds of miles under your belt, or a novice looking to test yourself, grab your running shoes and kick start your short break with one of these Suffolk running routes…
Running on the Suffolk coast

 Running on the Suffolk coast

Shotley Gate, Shotley
Circular route
5.3 miles / 8.5km

Park up at Shotley Village Hall off the B1456 and set off easterly. After 150 metres, take a right turn down the restricted byway (next to Rose Farm). Follow this past Shotley Cottage down towards the River Stour. When you reach the houses, turn left and follow the path which is parallel to the gardens along the edge of the field.

Follow the coastal footpath sign and continue towards the Bristol Arms where you can join the King Edward VII Drive road at Shotley Pier. At this point, the River Stour meets the River Orwell and merge to join with the North Sea. With the docks at Felixstowe on the north bank and Harwich Harbour to the south, the views are spectacular. 

If you prefer to add few hundred more yards to your route, you could follow Bristol Hill and take a right at Caledonia Road in order to catch the historic HMS Ganges, once a royal Naval training ship and now a stone frigate (naval establishment on land). It’s certainly worth the extra ten minutes you might spend detouring to check out the remarkable 143 foot mast!

Continue up King Edward VII Drive towards Shotley Marina, keeping to the wall through the marina, then cross the inner lock gate and continue around seaward side of the marina.

Turn right along river wall at path junction. Follow the wall (ignore the path to left and steps near sluice) and keep straight ahead for 200 metres.

Go left at the ‘footpath’ sign down sea wall, through gate and along edge of field. Ignore the footpath to the right, continuing through the next field to the gate in top right corner. Follow track which leads you through Shotley marshes.Turn left at ‘Cycle Route B’ sign.’ pass Shotley Church and continue straight at crossroads.

Opposite Shotley Hall, take path left. Follow path through trees, across footbridge and along field edge. Once you reach the houses, turn left along the path to road, then turn right and follow road to junction with main road. Continue on to Shotley Village Hall to complete your run.


Shotley Peninsula, SuffolkShotley Peninsula
The Scores, Lowestoft
4.75 miles
Circular route

The Scores are a fascinating part of the culture and social history of Lowestoft; a series of 16 (or more!) ancient narrow lanes and thoroughfares created by people wearing paths in the soft, sloping cliff as they travelled between the historic High Street and the long-since destroyed and demolished Beach Village.

The name comes from the verb “to scour” which in turn derives from the Old Norse skor which means to notch or slash a line. The paths run naturally down the cliff face, and since 1995, there has been an annual race in September which starts and finishes in Lowestoft’s High Street, offering a demanding course along 13 of the scores, 401 steps and a total of 4.75 miles!

If you’re looking for a unique (but gruelling!) route, with plenty of history to either be inspired by, this is one for you. Start off on Lowestoft’s old High Street at the junction of Mariners Street – you’ll be close to no.36; claiming to be the oldest surviving residence in the town, a Merchants house complete with Smugglers hall. Set off South running down the High Street towards the police station and take a left turn after that at the roundabout, passing Whapload Road, onto Hamilton Road and turning left again onto Newcombe Road. Follow on towards Birds Eye (on your left), past Gulliver – the UK’s tallest wind turbine and turn right after the towns historic gasworks, subject to dozens of unsuccessful air bombings during WWII.

200 metres from here and you’ll be the most Easterly runner in the country situated at Ness Point. Turn left here and continue along the North Sea wall – a little over a mile and a half and you’ll face Links Road with a punishing gradient that doesn’t go easy on you for being the first hill of the route. At the top, turn left and continue for another mile and over the Victorian footbridge into Belle Vue Park where you turn right only to double-back on yourself down the Ravine, a short chance to coast downhill until you turn right and head through Sparrows Nest Park emerging at the top at the foot of the towns lighthouse.

From here, it’s pretty much up and down with little chance to recover on an open flat surface; an immediate left turn sees you down 109 steps of Lighthouse score, a steep climb up Arnolds Bequest, Mariners Score offers a descent of 53 steps, up 48 steps that is Crown Score, 42 steps Herring Fisher Score, before you turn for the final dash back up the High Street.

If you should find you’ve made it (in one piece) back to where you’ve started, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ve managed more than the 4.75 miles!


Lowestoft beach on the Suffolk coast

Lowestoft Beach

Ipswich Park – Marina
2.5 - 3miles
Circular route


This route is based in Suffolk’s county town of Ipswich and takes in a beautiful historic park and the inspirational panoramic views of Ipswich waterfront. Situated on the River Orwell, allow some time beyond the run to explore the historic waterfront with its selection of dining options and cafés, as well as a 19th-century Old Custom House, recalling the city’s maritime history.

Away from the waterfront and next to Christchurch Park, the 500-year-old Christchurch Mansion has a Tudor kitchen and the Wolsey Art Gallery, housing the largest collection of art by Constable and Gainsborough outside of London.

Start off at Holywells Park; a spectacular open space, with beautiful trees and ponds. The park is a County Wildlife Site and a conservation area with two listed buildings. Registered with English Heritage under Historic Parks and Garden of Special Historic Interest, it showcases over 28 hectares of picturesque grounds and a history dating back to medieval times.

Set off for a leisurely circuit of the park exiting the park on Dereham Avenue (near the public toilets) and turning right onto Cliff Lane. Follow this downhill all the way to the junction of Landseer Road and Holywells Road. From here, a few quick right and lefts – firstly right here continuing on Holywells Road and then left onto the very short Toller Road, where you turn right onto Cliff Road and an immediate turn left; Ship Launch Road.

Then (final turn for a while), take a right immediately after the prefab units onto the unnamed track – at this point you’ll be running parallel to Neptune Marina. Continue this route past the imposing Eastern Enterprise Hub white multi-storey building.

Once you reach Coffee Link café (you’ll be looking up at University of Suffolk building), take a right onto Coprolite Street. You’re now joining traffic so be sure to stick to pavements and cross roads with care. Take the next right onto Dukes Street and once you pass the end of the car park, take a left onto Pownall Road for a couple of hundred metres which takes you up to Fore Hamlet (the A1156). Take a right here and take the route uphill all the way until the road turns into the junction of Felixstowe Road and Nacton Road. At this point turn into Nacton Road and re-enter the park.

If you’re feeling good, do another circuit of the park. If you need a rest, reward yourself with a fresh brew in the Park café and visitor centre at Christchurch Mansion.


Viking Mariners yacht on Ipswich quay (c) Viking MarinersIpswich Marina
Dedham Vale AONB
3.5 – 4 miles
Circular route

This running route takes in Dedham Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; a characteristically lowland English landscape on the Suffolk-Essex border. It has changed little since being painted by the likes of Constable and Gainsborough which means the charm of the villages and beauty of the surrounding countryside offer no shortage of places to go or things to see.

It’s a very easy to follow, short and simple route that can be easily extended by branching off at any of the beautiful public woods or footpaths you encounter.

Crossing the meandering River Box and spot picturesque villages, farmland, twisting rivers, meadows, ancient woodlands as well as a wide variety of local wildlife, if you’re lucky! The hedgerows and wildflower meadows of the Dedham Vale AONB are among some of England's most precious and vulnerable pastoral landscapes.

Park at The Cock Inn, Polstead or at Polstead Post Office and set off SW down Polstead Hill, then left down Water Lane and a right down Mill Street for over a mile, continuing where it becomes Rectory Hill. The road becomes Polstead Street where it joins the B1068 (so continue with caution for the couple of hundred metres that you stay on the road) and take the next left at Scotland Street; following this gradually undulating and twisting road until you reach the junction in front of a copse – keep left at this point and follow the road up to Marten’s Lane (keeping the woods on your left-hand side).

Follow Marten’s Lane past Fleming’s Hall and back uphill slightly until you reach Bell’s Corner, at which point you turn right onto Water Lane before a final right back onto Polstead Hill where you can be reunited with your car!


Flatford Mill (c) Barry CaruthFlatford Mill (c) Barry Caruth
Nowton Park, outskirts of Bury St Edmunds
3 or 6 miles
Circular Route

Depending on how hard a work out you want to embark upon, this circular route can be run once for a 3 mile route, or twice for the 6 mile route.

The 200 acres of landscaped parklands are the setting for this invigorating run; breath in the smells of eucalyptus and coffee trees and as spring arrives, run along Lime Avenue amongst the thousands of daffodils.

Start the route at the Visitor Centre and make your way up a small incline alongside Lime Avenue. Once you reach the top of the hill, turn left and follow the grassy track towards the woods which are ahead on the right. Run around the woodland in a clockwise direction.

At the Woodhenge Sculpture, carry round to the right and you will now be heading anticlockwise as you pass the meadow pond. Follow the route to the left and you will come to a track with a gate on the right. Here, turn left and leave the woodland, following it’s boundary on your right.

There’s a welcome downhill stretch here towards the pitches. Pass them continuing in an anti-clockwise direction as you complete the first lap. Continue on to the second lap, or rest your legs at one of the picnic areas.


The Abbey Gardens at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk ©ShowCaptureAbbey Gardens and St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds

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