Ickworth House, Park & Gardens
Spring at Ickworth is a must-see, with stunning tulips popping up in the walled garden, hosts of daffodils by the rotunda and even newborn lambs bounding about.
There’s plenty of nature to enjoy in the 1,800 acres of majestic Suffolk parkland, with the extensive site offering miles of varied walks, all sorts of wildlife and myriad plants and trees.
Be sure to follow the path along Lady Geraldine’s walk and Albana walk to see the white carpet of delicate snowdrops surrounded by the golden glow of aconites, a beautiful scene. Don’t be afraid to venture away from the house itself; some of the most peaceful walks can be found on the winding, more obscure paths and as you make your way back towards the walled garden and the church, you can find a peaceful resting spot by the pond- be on the lookout for newts.
Afterwards, pay a visit to the light and airy West Wing cafe for a hot cuppa and a delicious slice of cake.
Brandon Country Park
You’ll find the extensive Brandon Country Park at the very heart of Thetford forest on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, just 25 minutes from Bury St Edmunds.
A visit to the park promises a range of varied landscapes including heathland, green forest and vast parkland. The park is unusual, combining areas of wild growth alongside carefully curated flowers, plants and shrubs. The park was originally a country house estate created by Edward Bliss, whose enthusiasm for exotic species of trees is still evident today; look out for the Giant Redwoods, Monterey Pines and Blue cedars, as well as the unusual Handkerchief tree, fragrant Bay and gorgeous Himilayan Birch trees.
Spring is an especially interesting time of year at the park, with toads breeding in the Lake, dragonflies and damselflies flitting across the water and life erupting everywhere.
You’ll need to visit multiple times to cover all the different routes in the park, with three nature trails spanning one, to five and a half miles and multiple other routes if you’d rather go off the beaten track. With no entrance fee and the Copper Beech cafe offering refreshments, you’ll want to visit time and time again.
With its open walkways, landscaped countryside and guaranteed Spring Daffodils in abundance (over 100,000 to be exact!), Nowton Park is a wonderful addition to your list of Spring walks.
Until 1985 the park formed part of the Oakes family estate but now the 200 acres of Victorian style gardens are free for visitors to explore. As you stroll along the grand Lime Avenue you can take in the impressive vista over the Northern boundary, before making your way to the unique maze, designed in the style of an unfurling Oak tree and created using 2,500 Hornbeam trees maintained at a height of about two meters- if you get to the centre of the maze you’ll be rewarded with the sight of a mighty fastigiate Oak with upright branches.
The wildflower meadow and arboretum will both be at their best in the spring season and the two large ponds will also be bursting with life- home to Moorhens, Mallards and the occasional sighting of a Grey Heron if you wait for long enough.
Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds
Located on the site of the awe-inspiring former Benedictine abbey, the ever popular Abbey Gardens are known as the jewel in the crown of Bury St Edmunds, and they truly come to life in Spring. Originally created in 1831 as botanical gardens, this peaceful spot is internationally renowned for its displays of riotous colour, beautifully arranged blossoming flowers and historic backdrop.
Every year 20,000 spring bulbs are planted ready for visitors to admire as they stroll around the site. As you take a walk look out for the fragrant rose garden, wildlife area, aviary, herb and sensory garden.
The cafe is perfect for a rest and refreshments, so take a break and watch the world go by. This isn’t your usual romp in the outdoors, it’s a curious place reverberating with history, and with surprises around every corner, if you feel so inclined you can continue your walk out of the gardens and onto the cobbled streets of Bury St Edmunds where you will find, shopping, restaurants and more heritage to enjoy.
West Stow Country Park
Spring is the perfect time for families to visit exciting West Stow Country Park. Spanning 125 acres, this expansive space offers gorgeous views, things to do and the sort of relaxation that can only be found when immersed in nature.
Walk to the custom bird hides and keep your eyes peeled to see if you can spot a Great Crested Grebe, Nuthatch or even a Great Spotted Woodpecker as it goes about its nesting.Grab a coffee at the cafe and choose one of the multiple trails on offer - there’s something for everyone: from the 1.5km saunter to the serious 14 mile loop. The unspoiled woods and heathlands have complex ecosystems and boast rare plant species, including Maiden Pink and Mossy Stonecrop.
After an energising walk take advantage of the picnic tables, bring some snacks and relax in the spring sun.
Lackford Lakes is a paradise for nature lovers and walkers alike. With over 7km of walks taking in six different lakes, this is the perfect spot to relax, observe wildlife and take in the stunning Suffolk countryside.
The walks at Lackford Lakes are mostly level, but with some steps, bridges and slopes along the way. The lakeside paths will take you through tranquil woodland and marshlands, which are home to an abundance of wildlife. You’ll also see a variety of birds, insects and mammals such as kingfishers, water voles, bats and otters.
The reserve also features a range of accessible hides and a picnic area where you can stop off and enjoy the views of the lakes. There is also a hide overlooking one of the largest reedbeds in the area, where you might be lucky enough to spot a bittern or marsh harrier.
Fullers Mill Garden
The beautiful and peaceful Fullers Mill is a wonderful spot for a stroll along the banks of the River Lark in the heart of Suffolk. Located near the village of Wickhambrook, 25 minutes from Bury St Edmunds, this spot is a great place to relax and soak up the sights and sounds of nature.
Fullers Mill is part of the Lark Valley Path, a popular 3.2 mile walk which takes you through some of Suffolk’s most picturesque countryside. This route follows the riverbank, providing stunning views of rolling hills and open meadows before eventually reaching a viewpoint overlooking Fullers Mill. As you wander along the banks of the river, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife that can be seen here such as kingfishers, otters and dragonflies. Don’t forget to take a moment to admire the ancient mill building, which dates back to the 18th century.
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