Footpaths are a part of our heritage. They originated as a means of travelling from village to village or from farm to farm, enabling people to get to work. Some of our current footpaths, such as the one leading from Chapel Lane, used to be tracks for driving livestock to market. The 'local' market in days gone by being Hadleigh.
A few of our footpaths are classified as ‘priority' paths which are used to bypass floodwater. The green lane behind Offton Place being used to bypass floodwater at Watering Close and the path behind Somersham garage to pass the ford and flooded road. These paths were well used in September 1999 when the village was cut off on all road routes due to flooding. Several people were then able to bypass the floods and get to work by bike. However, in recent years, most of the paths have been used for recreational purposes, to exercise dogs and for pleasant walks.
As Somersham is in a valley all the footpaths go ‘up' and give splendid views over the village and surrounding countryside. Most of our paths have remained unchanged for years and link up with neighbouring villages so good circular walks can be planned. Every year rambling groups from Ipswich, Stowmarket and other local towns come out to Somersham just to walk our paths. A walk, short or long, benefits health in all age groups.
Suffolk County Council has put a lot of money and effort into our paths, replacing bridges and stiles, and also replacing signposts that get worn-out or broken. We are fortunate to have such lovely footpaths right on our doorstep and the benefits of walking just for pleasure or exercise are numerous and, above all, free.
There is lots of information about footpaths on the County Council's website here: https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/public-rights-of-way-in-suffolk/
You can see a copy of the definitive map of Somersham footpaths here.