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Registered: 27-05-2007
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7th July 2019
Hiking - Walking: Bradfield Wood and Ickworth House
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Weather: sunny and warm
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Distance Covered: 5 miles (Nautical Miles - unless stated otherwise)


Sunday 7th July – Walks ***** Bradfield Wood and Ickworth House – sunny and warm:)


Morning – Suffolk Wildlife Trust Bradfield Wood.


Peaceful night in the car park at Suffolk Wildlife Trusts Bradfield Wood between Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds waking to a warm sunny day. The steady stream of dog walkers, hikers and photographers didn’t start to arrive until a civilized time so we had a relaxing lay-in, even seeing a tree creeper in the tree by the van:) We had all morning to amuse ourselves before we head over to meet up with Hannah and Arlo who have been on a road trip visiting old friends in Nottingham and Fakenham. Hannah is also bringing my much loved and well missed camera I stupidly left at their house the other week on a visit to Surrey! Mag and I left the van around ten walked through the shingle arch into the 70-hectare wood, past the visitor centre where we see a site map listing several colour coded walks, choosing the red, the longest at 2.5 miles. There is a hut containing traditional wood working lathes and tools to make things from wood from the wood including hazel which is prolific there! The paths are wide and well made, easy to walk on and well maintained with marker posts with easy to follow arrows:) The red path follows the perimeter of the wood with trees one side and rolling Suffolk farmland the other - fields of wheat, barley and sugar beet. The paths are mainly lined with some of the best wild flowers we have seen making it a haven for butterflies and thousands of hover flies, shame I only had my small waterproof Fuji point and shoot camera but it did manage to get some nice shots today, helped by the lovely sunshine, and the macro setting worked well:) We only meet the odd dog walker and a couple of photographers out with big lenses hoping to capture butterflies. Check out the link below for some nice pics of todays flowers, they were pretty as a picture:) The butterfly glade was particularly beautiful and teeming with wildlife including the odd squirrel. We lost the red arrows and after walking down the side of a field with the best wild flower border of the trip so far and we soon picked up the blue route back to the van. So, a great start to the day with a 3-mile walk taking a couple of hours. We had a sandwich before making the 8-mile trip to Ickworth.


Afternoon – National Trust Ickworth House and Gardens.


We left at 12.30 with the Bradfield Wood car park now completely full, after going the wrong way to start with we were soon back on track. We had to take it easy past a lady’s bike road race as we approached Bury St. Edmunds and were ten minutes late to meet up with Hannah and Arlo at Porters Lodge Cafe. You enter the deer park, sadly no deer just a few sheep and get to the pay kiosk where it would have been nearly £30 to enter the house and gardens but we again show our NT card kindly bought as a present by Rob and Hannah and we are soon parked up in a very full car park, Sunday is probably not the best day to visit! We couldn’t find Hannah and Arlo in the cafe so continue to the very impressive house with its huge round centre dome. We soon fid Arlo on the main drive way and are getting some top cuddles. Hannah's half sister Emma has arrived too now so we set off for a walk around the gardens. We spend a lovely hour with Emma before she has to return to work at some rich Sheikhs racing stable exploring the Italianate gardens which border the huge house with people enjoying coffee and cake on the terrace or on the large lawn. Arlo is pure joy all be it a bit on the bossy side, stand there Grandma or pick me up mama but what fun we had climbing up and down the many steps, he can easily count to ten and his vocabulary is just amazing. There were loads of large pieces of bog/petrified wood which would have looked fantastic in our front garden:) With Emma now gone we headed to the house cafe and sat indoors in swanky wicker chairs overlooking the lawn with a cuppa and cake. Arlo had his Baby chino, a warm milk full of marshmallow and a large piece of chocolate cake:) Refreshed to set off to explore with Hannah leading the way with her site map. Walking through the extensive grounds down to St.Marys Church, great fun for Arlo to explore and then onto the massive walled gardens making a small detour to visit some diggers, Arlos favourite thing:) This is one of the biggest walled gardens we have ever seen and they are presently collecting money to restore the planting to its former glory but there was already a large number of gardeners hard at work. Although mainly grass at this stage there was wild flowers circles, and the path way were planted. There was a small vegetable patch with two impressive scarecrows and I was pleased to have my best camera back to record it all. There was a large lake at the bottom, bordered by a foot/cycle path which we will return to do in the future. Arlo and me had some fun in a hot green house before heading back to the house. Arlo did very well to keep up as we had walked two miles and he has had a hectic few days. Last stop the plant centre, but nothing caught our eye and back to the car to say our goodbyes, always a sad time especially as Hannah had to drive the best part of three hours to get home including the dreaded M 25! With goodbyes said to all left after a really top weekend, especially the bonus meeting with Hannah and Arlo. We are only 45 minutes from home but Mag has to take over the driving on the A 14 and we get a pic of Rob and Arlo when they arrive home safely:)


Photo Gallery Here


Bradfield Wood Here


NT Ickworth House and Gardens Here


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