Fancy a walk with one of our guides to find out more about our special places? Whether you want to discover more about the landscape, or have a specific interest in wildlife or history - don't delay, book your place today.
Fancy enjoying a walk in your own time? There's now over 70 free downloadable walks to choose from in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex. What will take your fancy? We're adding new walks all the time, so keep checking back.
Here's a little inspiration...
Colourful autumn walks
Possibly one of Norfolk’s best kept secrets… The Great Wood at Felbrigg, with its eye-catching autumn foliage is quite the spectacle. Walk down tree-lined avenues, where the magnificent trees tower above creating tunnels of colour; even the narrow winding lane aptly named ‘Lion’s mouth’, surely hints at the colourful treat that awaits you. It’s a good spot for picking up chestnuts too.
Walking into art
The charming hamlet of Flatford was the inspiration for some of John Constable’s most famous landscape paintings, including the now iconic Hay Wain. Wandering beside the River Stour or looking at Flatford Mill and Willy Lott’s House, it’s as though you’re actually walking through one of his paintings, absorbing the scenes that he knew and loved.
Wander through Sheringham Park to discover its ancient and remarkable trees, many contorted by the buffeting sea winds, as memorials of the power of nature. Along with the exotic and specimen trees brought back by Victorian plant hunters; notable veteran trees, including oak, beech and sweet chestnuts with their twisted trunks all thrive here.
With over 300 listed buildings, Lavenham is a medieval gem of a village. Famed for its crooked timber framed houses, you could say it’s one of the finest medieval villages in England. Follow the old railway line that links Lavenham to Melford and discover more about this area’s rich heritage linked to the boom and bust of the wool trade.
Tucked away on the Suffolk coast, the beauty of Dunwich Heath can be enjoyed from the heath on the cliffs above to the shingle beach down below. But this stretch of coastline with its crumbly cliffs is forever changing. Gradually claimed by the sea, it’s hard to imagine that the tiny fishing village of Dunwich was once a bustling city port.
Walk on the wildside
Over the years, nature lovers have been drawn to Wicken Fen, one of the most species rich nature reserves in Britain. A surviving fragment of the once huge fen wetland that stretched from Cambridge to north of the Wash. A walk here is a window into a lost East Anglian landscape, equally loved for the biggest of skies and for the smallest of insects.
For all you movie buffs, walk in the footsteps of movie and television stars. Wander around Lavenham, which featured in Harry Potter or Oxburgh Hall, which was the backdrop for an episode of Dad's Army. Colin Firth spent days filming Easy Virtue on the Wimpole Estate and Norfolk's very own Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan filmed a Cock and Bull Story at Felbrigg.
A literary walk
A great man of words, follow in the footsteps of the playwright, politician and philosopher, George Bernard Shaw. The only person to have been awarded a Nobel Prize for literature and an Oscar for his screenplay; stroll through the Hertfordshire landscape that was the home of this literary great, just as he would have done as he contemplated his words and thoughts.
A view to remember
With its wide skies and uninterrupted panoramic views, stand on top of Dunstable Downs for a scene that might just take your breath away. The view across the Vale of Aylesbury is what makes a walk here so special. On a clear day from the chalk grasslands of the Downs, you can see 35 miles into Oxfordshire. It’s the perfect spot too, to watch the sun go down.
Did someone say walkies?
We welcome dogs at the majority of our places - at Dunwich Heath they're even welcome in the tearoom! Great places for walkies at this time of year include Blickling Estate, Dunstable Downs, Dunwich Heath, Hatfield Forest, Ickworth, Sheringham Park and Wimpole. All we ask is you keep your four legged friend under control and deal with its waste thoughtfully.
Weird and wonderful fungi grow in our woods, pastures and hedges by the bucketful. Scattered through the leaf litter, nature’s forgotten kingdom can be found in all shapes, colours and sizes at Wimpole. From Spiny Coral fungus to Chicken of the Woods, you’ll be amazed at what grows on our veteran trees.
Fruits of autumn
Pumpkins are possibly the most iconic fruit of autumn and they’re grown in abundance (and size) at Oxburgh Hall. But just as the pumpkin patch in the kitchen garden is bursting at the seams, so are the branches of the apple and pear trees in the orchard. And don’t be surprised to see the fruit from the garden served to you in mouth-watering dishes in the tearoom.
Whilst out on your walk, you might be lucky enough to stumble across a laden blackberry bush or elderberries ripe for the picking, if the birds haven’t got there first that is! Hatfield Forest is bursting with fruits and berries - sloes, damsons and crab-apples all make for tasty treats in your wild larder, but be careful too, always make sure you know what you’re picking.
Secret sites and mysteries revealed
Today Orford Ness is known as an internationally renowned nature reserve, but its history is shrouded in secrecy and tales of military testing. And it’s not the only place with a mysterious past. Missed by grave robbers, Sutton Hoo kept its secret for more than 1300 years before archaeologists discovered one of the greatest treasures of all time.
Weird and wonderful buildings
Nobody ever forgets their first sight of Blickling, the breath-taking red-brick mansion with its ancient yew hedges that draw your eye in. But venture out onto the Estate and you’ll find more striking buildings. From the unusual pyramidal mausoleum and banqueting house with its Gothic tower, to the understated but pretty thatched cottages.
Walking for wildlife
Is Norfolk the bird watching capital of Britain? Flocks of waders, geese and ducks will soon be blanketing the autumn skies along the Norfolk Coast, as they make their first landfall after their flight across the North Sea. And there’s nothing quite like the cacophony of sound, as thousands of migrating birds arrive from colder climes.
Where's your favourite walk?
"Essex has a reputation for urban sprawl and jarring accents, but the truth is a far different picture. I love walking along the sea wall at Copt Hall with the wind in my face. The countryside is full of evocative sensations and the seasons only serve to enhance the experience."
Stuart Banks, Ranger