Ickworth Albana walk nr Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.
A relaxing circular walk through some of the ancient woodlands in Ickworth Park. The Albana walk was initiated as a walk that is fairly hard underfoot and suitable for ladies with long dresses. Look out for the Fawn Hut for a break. Ideal for families.
If you have the energy then take a detour to the Trim Trail (suitable for adults and children) and try your hand on various fitness objects, ranging from pole-climbing to ladder walks and leap frog.
West Wing reception, grid ref: TL810610
Start at the West Wing reception. Head back towards the car park, then take the first left turn. Continue straight on this path, past the toilets sign. Take the second left, heading towards the Italianate garden entrance.
If you have the chance, it is well worth looking at the Italianate garden, although unfortunately you can't take your dog into the garden, unless it is a guide dog.
Turn right at the stone archway, heading away from the house and gardens. Follow this trail through the wrought iron gate. (The gate is no longer there having been stolen by metal thieves, but the posts remain). When this trail forks, head left and continue straight to pass through two more gates. Please leave these gates open to allow people on mobility scooters access.
Continue straight. The trail divides at a large tree with a small, grave-like stone beneath it that reads 'Albana Walk'. Head to the right and you'll shortly pass a small shelter. It's a good place for a break.
Carrying on, follow the trail as it curves first to the left and then to the right. As you continue on the trail, you'll pass by a large green sign for the Trim Trail. Here the trail splits. To continue on the Albana walk, stay to the left. The trim trail continues round on a loop bringing you round to just after point 4. Otherwise, continuing on the Albana walk, shortly afterwards the trail again forks; continue heading to the left.
If you feel like some exercise there are quite a few sets of equipment you can try, then continue on the loop and you will come back to just after point 4.
As you continue on the trail, you'll pass on the left both an oak and a yew grove near a thatched roof hut (known as the Fawn hut). Take a break in the hut and feel free to explore these groves, or enjoy the view across the Linnett Valley. Don't worry about wandering off the trail. The groves connect to both sides of the trail and can be used as short cuts.
The Linnett is in no way a major river, but it provides water for species, and also provides what is known as a 'wildlife corridor' - different species use the river to cross the estate in relative safety, using the fringing vegetation as protection from predators. You may notice a higher number of small birds along the Linnett where it's surrounded by arable fields. This is due to its properties as a 'corridor'.
Continuing straight past the groves, follow the path as it curves through the woodland. You'll eventually reach a fork in the path. Turn sharp left to head back to the start point.
To exit, continue to the right, passing once again through the double gates. Take the opportunity to look across the deer park to your right, with a view of the now restored family church. Continue straight on to get back to the main path, on which the Porter's Lodge Visitor Reception centre and car park are located.
Ickworth Sheep Enclosure
The old deer park is now used as a sheep enclosure. The sheep in this picture are Suffolks. They follow the usual husbandry (farming) practices and will go to market. Also, look out for fallow deer (first introduced to Ickworth in 1706), the occasional roe deer, and muntjack. It's important to manage the numbers of deer to ensure both a sustainable population and the health of the woodlands, to which they can have a very damaging effect.
West Wing reception, grid ref: TL810610
You made it
Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.