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Explore the parkland at Ickworth

Lake and parkland at Ickworth, Suffolk
Lake and parkland at Ickworth | © National Trust Images/Rob Stothard

Ickworth is encircled in layers of history, landscape, people and classic architecture. Explore the parkland, designed for privacy, space and freedom with personal pathways, hidden glimpses and snatches of inspiring views.

A fine estate

Ickworth is a unique county estate created from a personal and passionate vision of classical Italy brought to Suffolk, never fully discovered and unforgettable. Elizabeth Percy, the Duchess of Northumberland, visited in the late 18th century and writes about the park in her diary:

‘The park is fine. The ground nobly broke into hill and dale, it is piled round it a deep rich soil, there are fine hanging woods and lawn.’

- Elizabeth Percy, Duchess of Northumberland

The woodland

Some of the woodland has the status of ancient woodland, meaning that there have been trees on this site since at least 1600. Examples of ancient woodland can be found in Lownde, Twist and Dairy Woods.

In most of the woods the existing trees were retained and though the landscape of the estate looks natural, it has been subtly landscaped by generations of the Hervey family with the design influenced by classical Italy.

A family parkland and working estate

The 5th Earl of Bristol (the 1st Marquess) was particularly active in shaping the estate, and enhanced the park with encircling plantations named after family members or estate staff who worked on planting them. He was also making an investment for future generations in the form of valuable timber.

This legacy is still helping to support the estate today not only through timber sales and biomass fuel, but by providing inspiring views with a wide variety of tree species creating a patchwork of year-long colour.

Enjoy the rolling landscape

You don’t need to wander far from the house before the space and freedom envelops you. The rolling landscape and surrounding woodland provide surprising glimpses of the distant monumental Rotunda and numerous perfect venues for a family picnic.

If you're visiting with children, take a stroll along the Albana Walk, a circular woodland route that includes a den-building area and a trim trail.

Spot the livestock

One of the first things you’ll notice when you visit Ickworth are the sheep, especially at lambing time. They've always been an important part of the estate; not only adding to the pastoral views, but a key part of the working estate, maintaining the grasslands and providing income.

Currently, there are two tenant shepherds on the estate.

The Obelisk memorial to the Earl Bishop in the park at Ickworth, Suffolk
The Obelisk memorial to the Earl Bishop in the park at Ickworth, Suffolk | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

The monument to the 4th Earl of Bristol

From the terrace in the Italianate Gardens, look out for a glimpse of a tall monument peeking above the trees. Situated in a pasture field on the far side of the Estate, you can reach it by taking a long walk across open land and through Lownde Wood.

The monument was erected in 1817 by the grateful people of Derry to the memory of the 4th Earl of Bristol, Frederick Hervey who was also the Bishop of Derry. It was built by the masons John and Robert de Carle and has inscriptions in both English and Latin on its east and west faces.

On the west face, it describes the Earl Bishop’s work in encouraging a better understanding between the warring factions in Ireland.

It's an unusual monument, as it was paid for by both the Protestant and Catholic communities in Derry.

View of the Rotunda with restored roof at Ickworth, Suffolk
View of the Rotunda with restored roof at Ickworth, Suffolk | © National Trust Images/Jim Woolf

The park today

The parkland today continues to thrive as a working estate and pleasure ground, continuing its long history established by the generations of the former owners, the Hervey Family.

Enjoy walks, runs, cycle rides and picnics across the parkland. Designed by the Herveys for their private recreation and refreshment, it is now used by everyone as a place to explore, enjoy and rediscover.

Snowdrops at Ickworth Estate

Ickworth Estate has a large number of snowdrops spread around the estate in impressive displays. Snowdrops herald the transition from winter to spring and are amongst the very first flowers to be seen each year.

Native to mainland Europe, it is believed that snowdrops were introduced to mainland Britain in the 16th century. They were officially named Galanthus taken from the Greek meaning Milk and Flower in 1753 and there are now over 300 varieties that flower from October to April.

A close up of a group of white snowdrop flowers with a blurred building seen behind on the right
Large displays of snowdrops can be seen at Ickworth Estate, Suffolk | © National Trust/Ray Dale

Where to see snowdrops at Ickworth Estate

  • Geraldine's Walk - Large swathes can be viewed along this fully accessible trail that begins behind Porter's Lodge. Nestled amongst them you may see yellow aconites, purple cyclamen and early daffodils as they start to emerge.
  • Albana Walk - Starting opposite Porter's Lodge, this accessible trail takes you through woodland with plenty of snowdrops to see along the way.
  • Trim Trail - Here you can see the largest display of snowdrops on the estate that were planted over 100 years ago. A little further away from the welcome point but worth the walk and for those feeling energetic you can have a go at our fitness trail too!
A bank of white snowdrops with the base of trees visible behind
Geraldine's Walk is perfect for seeing snowdrops at Ickworth Estate. Suffolk | © National Trust/Ray Dale

What varieties can be seen at Ickworth Estate?

There are two main varieties that you can see at Ickworth Estate:

  • Galanthus nivalis - this is the most common of all the snowdrops, flowering from January and growing to around 7 - 15cm tall.
  • Galanthus elwesii - larger than the nivalis and flowering slightly later, these snowdrops originate from Turkey and grow to around 20 - 25cm tall.

As the snowdrops begin to stop flowering, they are taken over by vast swathes of daffodils and other spring flowers.

View of the Rotunda from the path with newly restored roof at Ickworth, Suffolk

Discover more at Ickworth

Find out when Ickworth is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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