Sutton Hoo short walk, near Woodbridge, Suffolk
This hauntingly beautiful estate, with far-reaching views over the River Deben, is home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. Walk around the ancient burial mounds and discover the incredible story of the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king and his treasured possessions.
Sutton Hoo car park, grid ref: TM288487
Turn right out of reception and head away from the car park. Keeping to the left of the path, head into the woods.
A narrow wooded section of path runs along the side of private land to the left and the River Deben valley to the right.
After about 100yd (90m) or so, look down at the Deben River valley, and what's known as the Rabbit Field, to your right. Continue through woods until reaching a gate, which effectively creates a T-junction in the path. Turn right through the gate and follow the path for about 200yd (180m).
Deben valley and Rabbit Field
View over the Deben valley from the woods, not far from the start of this walk. This old river valley is known as the Rabbit Field, as its been home to rabbits for many years. They ransacked a lot of the burial mounds before Basil Brown (at that time employed at Ipswich Museum) arrived in 1938, at the request of Mrs Edith Pretty, to excavate the mounds on her property at Sutton Hoo. Mrs Pretty agreed to pay him at his usual weekly rate at the museum of £1.12.6d.
On reaching a fork in the path, take the left-hand fork and follow it around Top Hat Wood to your right, until you reach a viewing platform overlooking the ancient burial mound site.
The Gar seat
The Gar seat (near direction 2 and the Rabbit Field), cleverly crafted to link in with the royal ship burial, was commissioned by Dick and Lisa Robinson in memory of Elizabeth Robinson, Dick's beloved mother, known affectionately as Gar. Elizabeth was a volunteer at Sutton Hoo until her death in 1997. The carvings on the seat echo the beautiful Anglo-Saxon designs found in mound 1 (the ship burial site).
Immediately after the viewing platform, is a gate on the right which enters the wood. Go through the gate and follow it downhill, carrying on through another gate at the bottom of the hill. Continue on, bear right and the path continues over a rise to a T-junction.
Ancient Anglo-Saxon burial moud
Mound 1 was excavated in the early summer of 1939, initially by Basil Brown from Ipswich Museum. He uncovered the remains of a 90ft-long, clinker-built wooden ship of the 7th-century, outlined by its iron rivets in the sand. Further excavation in the following years up to 1971, led the excavators to believe that this was the burial site of Raedwald, leader of the Wuffing dynasty of the East Angles, dated to c625 AD. To find out more, why not join one of our guided tours whilst you're here at Sutton Hoo.
On reaching the T-junction, turn left and go downhill, taking the right-hand fork at the bottom. In 200yd (180m) or so, you'll reach a collection of old buildings on the left. Turn immediately right at this point and follow the made-up road for 200 to 300yd (180 to 275m). There are fine views across the Deben River valley to your left. From here follow the 'Blue Walk' way-marks.
After a fenced section, the road eventually bears left uphill past Home Wood on the right, to a pine tree at the top. It then bears right.
Look out for this pine tree at the top of the hill after Home Wood.
Continue downhill, with Brown's Planting Wood on your right.
About 200yd (180m), before the main road, look out for a sign-posted path going up a few steps on the right.
Go up quite a steep hill, follow the track through the woods and return to the car park, reception and restaurant.
Exhibition centre and visitor reception
The exhibition centre, with the visitor reception (where you started your walk) is a good place to stop for a bite to eat once you've finished.
Sutton Hoo car park, grid ref: TM288487
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