Ickworth stumpery

The Victorains loved their stumperies. The Ickworth stumpery dates back to the formation of the lovely Italianate garden by the Hervey family in the 19th century and even contains some original stones from the giants causeway. In recent months the team of gardeners here have expanded the stumpery so that it stretches the length of the garden.

Our gardeners have been working ferociously hard through snow, rain, wind and sun to create what you see today. It's well worth a visit in this magical enchanted walk with something new to see every season.

    The enchanted garden

    The Stumpery at Ickworth

    Similar to the garden grottos of Italy, the stumpery has that magical atmosphere which will ignite your imagination and make it feel as if you were wondering through an enchanted garden.

    What is a stumpery?

    The gardeners standing back to admire the stumpery dragon

    Stumperies were a much beloved garden feature during the late Victorian period as they created that dark, gothic, fairytale atmosphere that was popular with all throughout the era and featured plants that the late Victorians loved including ferns, ivies, and other types of woodland plants that prefer to grow in shady areas.

    Creating our stumpery

    Gardeners and foresters from Ickworth working on the new stumpery project


    A stumpery is where the upturned stump of a tree is used to create an eye-catching garden feature. By allowing the root of a tree stump to be exposed to the elements, the soft wood decays and leaves a propeller like hard wood structure which is similar to what you would see when looking at drift wood sculptures.

    Hard graft and fun

    An Ickworth gardener larks around with a very large stump for the stumpery

    The gardeners and rangers have dug up over 100 new stumps around the park. It's been back breaking work but the team have seen great results and it's been a real team effort. They've had a few laughs along the way and it's all paid off to make a magnificent part of our garden.

    Habitat and maintenance

    An upturned stump in the stumpery

    As well as creating the right look for this type of garden, the design also has the benefit of creating a deadwood habitat vital to the decomposing flora and fauna. This habitat is maintained by us through not removing any of the old stumps but letting them naturally decay whilst refreshing the display by positioning newer stumps close to or on top of the decayed old ones.

Our stumpery provides the setting for the largest collections of ferns in East Anglia. It's a dark and mysterious place with ferns and other shade loving plants grouped around ornamentally placed roots and stumps of dead trees.

Although we've collected many tree stumps from other areas of the park, there is still a ready supply, dating from the Second World War, when tree roots were blasted out of the parkland to convert it to arable fields.

Throughout the holidays there are regular trails for the children hidden amongst the stumps.