Ickworth blue walk
Ickworth, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP29 5QERoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
A circular parkland walk from the West Wing reception passing the family church, walled garden, canal lake and woodland walks, then back along the entrance road to the car park.
- Bus stop
Start: West Wing reception, grid ref: TL810610
From The West Wing reception head back towards the car park and take first turn left. Continue past toilets sign and take the second left, heading towards the garden entrance and five-bar gate. Go through the gate and follow the road.
Continue straight on and look out for the Parson's pond on your right, then continue on to the private family church on your left. The path bears right and continues downhill to the bottom of the deer park and a bridge (look out for fallow deer). About 200 metres before the bridge you can explore the old vineyard on your left, which is currently being turned back into a walled garden.
The pond is near the site of the long-gone parsonage that existed in the 16th and 17th centuries, and Ickworth village (home to about 100 people) once stood in this vicinity. St Mary's is a family church, redundant since 1986, originally used by the Hervey family in the 16th and 20th centuries. The church has now been restored, and is open to visitors. The site of the original medieval Ickworth Hall will be found behind the church: it is thought it would have looked similar in size and style to that of Kentwell Hall at Long Melford.
Continue on along the road, turning left at the bridge. Follow the grass path with the canal lake on your left. The canal was dug, and the kitchen garden and summerhouse built by the 1st Earl of Bristol shortly before 1717. You might be lucky to see a buzzard in flight here. Continue straight along the path and enter the wood through a five-bar gate. Please shut the gate behind you.
This 5-acre plot, which was once part of the estate's walled kitchen garden, was formerly the only commercial wine-growing vineyard on National Trust land. The vines have now been removed, and the land is being returned to that of a walled garden. Beehives have now been installed in the part of the walled garden near to the old Georgian summer-house as part of our drive to encourage bee conservation.
Follow the path straight on over a wooden bridge and turn right. The path shortly runs over a boardwalk section. Continue on until you reach some steps up to the Fairy Lake at a T-junction in the path. Turn right and have a look at the Round House (about 100 metres to your right), then re-trace your steps to spend time at the Fairy Lake on your right. Continue straight on then shortly bear right into Lady Hervey's Wood. After a short distance look to your left for a fine view of the house. The path then bears slightly to the left and skirts Fontainebleau Grove.
The Round House was built around 1850 and was originally used as a shooting lodge and gamekeeper's cottage. It has now been completely restored and is offered for let as a National Trust holiday cottage.
Following the blue marker posts the path bears right at the end of Fontainebleau Grove and then, after a few yards, left and enters Adkin's Wood. Follow the path to the end and cross a stile, which brings you to the Horringer entrance road.
The Fairy Lake was dug between 1842 and 1866 as a boating lake, but now is more a haven for wildlife; you might see a heron, if you're lucky. With ever-encroaching reed and reed-mace reducing the open water, proposals are being drawn up to balance the nature conservation value of the lake with the need to clear silt and reeds to ensure the lake's future.
Turn left and follow the road back to the House and car park or West Wing restaurant for something to eat and drink.
End: The West Wing reception, grid ref: TL810610
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)
- Time: 2 hours
- OS Map: Landranger 155
Some gravel paths, but also a mixture of woodland paths and grass paths which can get quite muddy in wet weather. Dogs are very welcome, but please keep under close control around livestock.
- How to get here:
On foot: 4.5 miles (7.2km) from Bury St Edmunds, via footpaths
By bike: View local cycle routes on the National Cycle Network. We're just off Route 51 which goes through Bury St Edmunds
By bus: Burtons 344/5, Bury St Edmunds/Haverhill route, passing close to Bury St Edmunds Railway Station
By train: Bury St Edmunds 3 miles (4.8km), then taxi or bus to Horringer and Ickworth
By car: In Horringer, 3 miles (4.8km) south-west of Bury St Edmunds on the west side of the A143. Signposted as Westley from the A14, junction 42
- Car Park
- Food and drink : West Wing restaurant, Porter's Lodge outdoor café.
- Second-hand bookshop (in West Wing basement)
- Plant and garden shop
- NT Gift shop
- Children's play area
- Contact us