Melford Hall Estate - Park walk
Melford Hall, SuffolkRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
A picturesque walk in a former hunting park. Take in the splendour of the ancient park of Melford Hall, the family home of the Hyde Parker family since the 1780s, and the impressive 15th-century Holy Trinity church. Please note that this walk is only available when Melford Hall is open.
- Bus stop
Start: Melford Hall car park, grid ref: TL866463
Inside the grounds of Melford Hall, face the gatehouse, turn right and walk to the top end of the car park. Go through the black kissing gate on your right and into the park.
A mellow, 16th-century, red brick house with a magnificent stained glass window of Queen Elizabeth I. The garden is laid out in the Edwardian style, with clipped box hedges and yew trees, ponds and a fountain. Melford Hall was once owned by the Abbot of Bury St Edmunds. At the dissolution of the monasteries, c1539, it became Crown property, and in due course was sold to Sir William Cordell, who rebuilt it and died there in 1581.
At the signpost immediately in front of you, follow the left hand arrow along an open grass pasture heading for a wood line in the distance in front of you. Head for another signpost in the middle distance.
At the signpost, keep straight on with the valley to your right and houses on your left, which are up the incline with the church tower behind them. Pass a big lone tree on your left with a line of small trees on your right, heading for the valley floor.
At the next signpost, turn right, cross over the stream via an old wooden bridge and head straight on up a small incline. Another signpost is clearly visible on the crest and Melford Hall is in the distance over to your right.
When you reach the fence line, turn round and absorb the fantastic view with the houses and church on your right, the park to your front, and Melford Hall on the left. If you are lucky, you may even see some wild muntjack deer.
A former deer park dating from medieval times, occupied by the army during the Second World War. You can still see the concrete bases of some of the Nissen Huts (half-cylindrical steel structure) and an anti-aircraft gun emplacement. Just imagine the park, created in 1613 by Sir John Savage, which may have been full of magnificent trees like this specimen. What a splendid sight it must have been. The park actually dates back to medieval times and was much favoured by the Abbots of St Edmundsbury.
Follow the fence line and at the next signpost by the fence, turn right and on the information board just in front of you, read the fascinating details about Sir John Savage's Park.
Move on straight down the hill between the avenue of trees, taking in the view as you descend gently. Cross the stream again via an earthern bridge, head on up and return to the car park. Stop for refreshment at the Old Kitchen tea-room, if open.
After your walk, take time to visit Holy Trinity Church, on the far side of the green opposite Melford Hall.
On the far side of the green opposite Melford Hall, this 15th-century church contains one of the finest collections of medieval stained glass in the country, depicting the local gentry and nobility with their heraldic symbols, as well as a three-gabled 'Lady Chapel' built in 1496. This chapel contains the Ten Commandments, inscribed above the altar. A church has existed on this site since Anglo-Saxon times and the list of rectors goes back to at least 1198.
End: Melford Hall car park, grid ref: TL866463
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1 mile (1.6kms)
- Time: 30 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer 196
Circular walk, with easy walking along grass. Can be muddy after rain near the stream. Sheep droppings in the park. No bins, so please take your rubbish home. Accessible with a strong, robust pushchair. Dogs welcome, but must be kept on a lead throughout the walk as there may be sheep in the park.
- How to get here:
By foot: At northern end of Long Melford village or via railway walk from Lavenham (4 miles/6.4km)
By bike: National Cycle Network Route 13. See Sustrans website
By bus: Service 236, Sudbury to Long Melford, hourly. See Suffolk on Board website
By train: To Sudbury (4 miles/6.4km) from Marks Tey on the main East Coast main line from Liverpool Street, London
By car : Long Melford lies between Sudbury (4 miles/6.4km) and Bury St Edmunds (14 miles/22km) off A134. Melford Hall is at northern end of village opposite the green
- Food and drink: Refurbished tea room
- Gatehouse Shop
- WC's : At gatehouse and in house.
- Parking : Free - 200 yds
- Contact us