EX­PLORE: Heart of Suf­folk

Pretty mar­ket towns and un­spoilt vil­lages, set among rolling coun­try­side

EADT Suffolk - - READERS' PHOTOS -

Mid Suf­folk is a won­der­ful place to ex­plore, a ru­ral heart­land, rich in agri­cul­tural her­itage, stud­ded with mar­ket towns and un­spoilt vil­lages, amid rolling coun­try­side and me­an­der­ing rivers. Take a drive along quiet coun­try roads, stop for a de­li­cious lunch at a cosy pub along the way, and don’t for­get to pack your boots – there are some great walks in mid-Suf­folk. Hadleigh, Need­ham Mar­ket, Stow­mar­ket, Deben­ham.

Hadleigh is a charm­ing Suf­folk Wool Town with all the hall­marks of me­dieval wealth in­clud­ing half-tim­bered mer­chants’ houses – Hadleigh has 246 his­toric listed build­ings – a fine 15th cen­tury guild­hall and a mag­nif­i­cent me­dieval church.

North of Hadleigh is Stow­mar­ket, an an­cient town on the River Gip­ping and an ex­cel­lent start­ing point for river walks. Stow­mar­ket is home to the Mu­seum of East Anglian Life, 80 acres of farm­land, his­toric Ab­bott’s Hall, Al­ton Wa­ter­mill and other build­ings that house col­lec­tions and arte­facts telling the story of East Anglia’s ru­ral past. eas­t­an­glian­life.org.uk

Need­ham Mar­ket is a pic­turesque lit­tle town, a per­fect des­ti­na­tion for walk­ers and cy­clists, with many lo­cal shops, pubs and restau­rants, and a beau­ti­ful lake. It’s church boasts one of the finest dou­ble­ham­mer­beam roofs in the coun­try.

Nearby Deben­ham is an­other pic­turesque vil­lage which be­came wealthy as a re­sult of the me­dieval wool trade. It’s

full of 14th cen­tury mer­chants’ houses and is sur­rounded by won­der­ful coun­try­side

– a great place as a base for a short stay in this part of the county.

HELMINGHAM HALL

Mag­nif­i­cent Helmingham Hall is a beau­ti­ful moated house that has been the pri­vate home of the Tollemache fam­ily for cen­turies. Be­tween May and Septem­ber you can visit the spec­tac­u­lar gar­dens and en­joy a de­li­cious lunch or cream tea at the Coach House. Open Tues­day, Wednes­day, Thurs­day and Sun­day, 11am-4.30pm. Full wheel­chair ac­cess, dogs wel­come on a lead. Helmingham Hall also hosts sev­eral events through­out the year, in­clud­ing her­itage plant fairs, clas­sic cars and Walk with a Fork for char­ity (Septem­ber 16). helmingham.com

THORN­HAM WALKS

Spread across 2,000 acres of park­land, farm­land and wood­land, the beau­ti­ful Thorn­ham Es­tate, has been the home of the Hen­niker-Ma­jor fam­ily for over 250 years. There are over 12 miles of well-es­tab­lished per­mis­sive walks, known as Thorn­ham Walks, a cafe, restau­rant, walled gar­den, fish­ing lakes, hol­i­day prop­er­ties and a camp­site. thorn­hames­tate.com

Suf­folk Day cel­e­bra­tions at the Mu­seum of East Anglian Life.

Helmingham Hall will open its gar­dens in win­ter for the first time

Ston­ham Barns Ad­ven­ture Golf

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