Blickling Estate walk, Norfolk
Enjoy a refreshing walk around most of the Blickling Estate parkland, visiting points of local historical interest including Long Plantation, Great Wood, the Tower, Brickyard and Mausoleum.
Blickling main car park, grid ref: TG178286
From Blickling main car park, facing the visitor centre, go round the left-hand side of the building and follow the path down to the lane.
View from visitor centre
Enjoy the view of the top of Blickling Hall from the visitor centre in the main car park, at the start of the walk.
Cross the lane and turn right past the Buckinghamshire Arms, then turn left and walk past the front of the main house driveway.
The Inn dates from the 1700s and was only used occasionally 'for the horses of Gentlemen' but an ale house has stood on this site since the 1600s. Owned by the National Trust, it is a great place to stay on an overnight visit to Blickling, with great food, log fires and 4-poster beds.
Now continuing on, visit the Church of St Andrew ahead.
Church of St Andrew
Although originally dating from 13th to 15th century, the church was almost completely rebuilt in the 19th century, but has interesting brass rubbings and memorials to Blickling's former owners. The church is open daily (times may vary).
Now cross the road (with care), and follow the minor road opposite (signposted Weaver's Way), towards Silvergate. At the end of the fence (100yd (91m) or so) on the right hand side, you can enter the wood and have a look at the old 18th-century ice house hidden in Icehouse Plantation. Used until the 1930s, it is grade 2 listed. Returning to the road, turn right until reaching a way marker with a blue arrow (with stile) on the right hand side.
Cross the stile and walk through the small woodland where there is a second stile to be crossed. Continue across the meadow (Pond Meadow) where there is yet another stile to be navigated. The brick building in front of you once housed a pump which fed water to the house during the Second World War. Cross the 'Carr' (just past the pump house), and turn left into the field.
Pond meadow and the Carr
Pond Meadow certainly matches that description. It floods to this day and in medieval times would have provided water for the moat. At this point, look to your right, and enjoy an excellent view of the hall. The name 'Carr', is derived from old Norse 'kjarr', which means wet (sometimes swampy) woodland.
Follow the path along the field margin until exiting onto the lane, opposite Hall Farm. Turn right along the lane for 110yd (100m) or so and look for a way-marker on the left. Turn left up the track, go past a cottage, and just before reaching the main road, turn left and follow the path that runs alongside the road, and Hercules Wood.
Just past the cottage is the site of an old brick yard. Built in 1862 it was capable of producing 160,000 bricks a year. Used up to the outbreak of the Second World War, the remains can be seen from the track.
At the end of this path, turn right and crossing the busy road with care, head towards a kissing gate ahead. Just before reaching the gate, turn left into Long Plantation and follow the path, (which can be muddy).
Hercules Wood (just before crossing the road), gets its name from the Temple of Hercules that stood there. A stature of Hercules that was in the Temple is now in the Orangery in Blickling gardens.
After a short walk you will arrive at the Tower (on your right).
Now let as a Holiday Cottage, the Tower was built in the 18th century as a grandstand for the steeple chase racecourse which ran across the area now known as Tower Park. This area has been returned to grass and an extensive grazing regime is being adopted to encourage diversity.
After leaving the Tower, continue along the waymarked path until almost reaching the road. Ignoring the path directly ahead, turn sharp right and continue along the edge of Buck's Common woodland until reaching a gate at its end. Go through the gate and continue across Hyde Park (cattle freely graze this area) until reaching another section of woodland in the distance and another gate. Go through the gate and turn immediately right.The path now continues downhill alongside Bunker's Hill Plantation towards Great Wood.
Medieval Great Wood has changed little since the late 18th century, with its mix of English oaks, groves of beech and ancient sweet chestnuts, as well as small-leaved limes on the banks on the south-west of the wood. Bluebells are a sight here from late April to early May.
When reaching the bottom of the hill, turn right and follow the edge of Great Wood uphill until reaching the second seat on the left. Now turn left and follow the path until reaching an open area with the Mausoleum to your left.
The Mausoleum was built in 1794 in the shape of a large pyramid to house the remains of the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire and his two wives.
After visiting the Mausoleum head back along the edge of the woodland and take the 2nd path on the left. Follow the path, bearing right further on, and head towards, and then following, the edge of the arable field in front of you. Enjoy extensive views down to the River Bure and beyond, until reaching a small area of woodland known as the Beeches.
Look back towards the small area of woodland known as the Beeches where the leaves glow in autumn sunshine.
After entering the woodland, turn immediately right, and leaving the Beeches behind you head downhill, watching out for grazing animals until reaching the park gates at the bottom. Exit through the small gate and after 27yd (25m) turn left and then the entrance to the main car park will be found on your right with the visitor centre, toilets, and the end of your walk. The café, restaurant and shops beckon, not forgetting Blickling Hall.
The current Blickling Hall was built on the ruins of the old Boleyn property in the reign of James I, by Sir Henry Hobart, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and 1st Baronet, and has been in the care of the National Trust since 1940. Check opening times before your visit.
Blickling main car park, grid ref: TG178286
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