Ickworth Italianate garden walk

Ickworth, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP29 5QE

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Ickworth dry moat in Italianate garden at rear of Rotunda. © National Trust

Ickworth dry moat in Italianate garden at rear of Rotunda.

The Victorians used to love stumpereys © Mandy Shedden

The Victorians used to love stumpereys

The trails at Ickworth take in the unique Italianate garden © Michael Graham

The trails at Ickworth take in the unique Italianate garden

This avenue provides a stunning display of flowers in summer © NTPL/Michael Graham

This avenue provides a stunning display of flowers in summer

Route overview

The Italianate Garden is now known to be the earliest of its style by 40 to 50 years, and was originally planned and planted in the early 1800s.  Follow the waymarkers A to M to discover the Victorian Stumpery and the beautiful Temple dry Garden enclosed within this terrace.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route map of the Italianate Garden walk
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Ickworth West Wing, grid ref: TL810610

  1. Start at West Wing reception (A) heading back in the direction of the car park. Take the first turn left, continue past toilets sign and take the second left, heading towards the garden entrance at (B).

  2. Turn left and skirt around rear of West Wing (C). Follow path to Rotunda bridge (D) and observe the dry moat. Now turn sharp right and head down the axial pathway. Turn left at the fourth shrub (E), cross the grass and follow the pathway between the hedges.

    Show/HideIckworth dry moat

    The dry moat simply provided daylight to the servants in the basement while ensuring that the family and visitors in the gardens could not see the staff at work.

    Ickworth dry moat in Italianate garden at rear of Rotunda. © National Trust
  3. Approximately 20 paces along this pathway, turn left at a gap in the hedge and enter the spring garden (F). Walk around the garden towards the eastern end of the perimeter path, then take a sharp right and enter the signposted Temple Garden (G).

    Show/HideThe Spring Garden

    The Spring Garden (F) has many spring flowers under a huge purple beech tree. In spring look out for primroses, cowslips, bluebells, ox-eye daisies, martagon lilies and snake's head fritallaries. In autumn expect to see cyclamen and crocuses.

  4. Turn right, back along the hedged path and look for a gap on the left leading to the Stumpery (H). Continue all the way through on the winding path through the Stumpery.

    Show/HideThe Stumpery

    Formerly a site with a large collection of ivies and ferns this area (H) has now been developed to create a Victorian stumpery. This style of garden design uses upended, well-rotted hardwood tree stumps placed on raised beds under trees with heavy shade to create a gothic, fairytale garden atmosphere beloved of the late Victorians. There are even stones from the Giant's Causeway.

    The Victorians used to love stumpereys © Mandy Shedden
  5. Retrace your steps to the axial pathway at (E). Turn sharp left and head towards the steps leading to the garden terrace (J). Turn around 180 degrees to view the Capability Brown inspired landscape and then go back to point (E). Turn sharp left at (E).

    Show/HideStep up to a view

    From the steps at the top of the axial pathway (J), the Italianate landscaped garden can be viewed in its magnificence. Turn around and you'll also get a view over the parkland which, although not attributed to him, is in the Capability Brown style.

    The trails at Ickworth take in the unique Italianate garden © Michael Graham
  6. Follow the path and turn left through the gap in the hedge into the extended Stumpery (K). Turn right and follow the hedge perimeter to the Magnolia Garden at (L), and from here towards the garden entrance. At this point turn left to view the Victorian border (M) and its unusual and symmetrical plantings.

    Show/HideThe Victorian border

    The Victorian border (M) was installed during the 1980s to reflect the change in garden designs over the Victorian period. This replaced the original Cypress avenue that stood here in the 1800s and had the Temple Summer House at the northern end.

    This avenue provides a stunning display of flowers in summer © NTPL/Michael Graham
  7. Exit the garden the way you entered, returning to the car park or West Wing reception, shop and restaurant.

End: West Wing reception, grid ref: TL810610

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 0.4 miles (0.6km)
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 155
  • Terrain:

    A gentle circular route that is part-gravelled. May be muddy after wet weather, so boots may be necessary.

  • How to get here:

    On foot: 4.5 miles from Bury St Edmunds via footpaths

    By bike: Just off National Cycle Network Route 51, which goes through Bury St Edmunds. Visit Sustrans website for more information

    By bus: Burtons 344/5, Bury St Edmunds to Haverhill route, passing close to Bury St Edmunds Railway Station

    By train: Bury St Edmunds 3 miles, then taxi or bus to Horringer and Ickworth

    By car: In Horringer, 3 miles south-west of Bury St Edmunds on the west side of the A143. Signposted as Westley from the A14 Junction 42

  • Facilities:

    • Parking : Car park 200 yds
    • Food and drink : West wing restaurant. Porter's Lodge - snacks and refreshments.
    • WC's : Toilets adjoining Porter's Lodge and in West Wing basement
    • Shopping : NT gift shop in West Wing.
    • Children's play area

  • Contact us