It's been a mostly dank, drizzly sort of day in Mid Suffolk but, as the saying goes, not rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night shall deter the bureaucrat from his ten thousand steps, and so I set off into the irritatingly persistent drizzle to buy a loaf of bread and the Sunday paper. The advantage is that I can cut across country using one of the parish's many footpaths.
There is, however, a slight glitch, in that the routes of a number of those paths were disrupted by the small matter of a four lane trunk road that was carved through the middle of the parish in the 1970s, by-passing Needham Market and Stowmarket. The A45, now the A14, divided the village from its church, and obliged the County Council to create diversionary routes to allow villagers to get both to church and into Stowmarket. There weren't many people here anyway, and they could fairly safely be ignored.
Admittedly, given that virtually everyone around here drives these days, it matters little now and the footpaths are generally quiet. Thanks to our conscientious local farmers though, most of them are pretty well maintained.
Originally, footpath 1 ran from the centre of the village, near the Parish noticeboard, in a westerly direction, and it still does, but as it expires on the wrong side of the A14, those heading for Stowmarket are diverted south across the road bridge and then parallel to the A14 before rejoining the original route.
Once you've put the traffic noise into the back of your mind, it's a pleasant enough walk, slightly downhill at first before crossing a minor stream and rising back up to the access road for Brazier's Hall and the Creeting Lakes sports fishery. From there, you follow Mill Lane into Cedars Park, cut through using one of that estate's many footpaths/cycle lanes, and there's Tesco, with all of life's modern conveniences.
And, once you've got your head around the concept that it's nowhere near as far as you had thought, you can focus on the scenery...