Walk: We’re walk­ing around the grounds of Blick­ling Hall

Nor­folk Ram­blers guide us on a beau­ti­ful au­tum­nal walk around Blick­ling Hall, near Ayl­sham

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE -


1 From the car park, fol­low the path at the end of the Muddy Boots Café and re­cep­tion build­ing. Turn right, pass­ing the pub, then take the path to­wards the church; this takes you past the main gates to the hall. Turn

left then right, pass­ing the court­yard. Turn­ing right fol­low the way­marked path which will take you to a gate from where you can see the start of the for­mal gar­dens on your left; fol­low this path round to the lake, which was dug in 1711. Its ser­pen­tine shape is meant to im­press – which­ever end you stand, the other end can’t be seen. When you get to the gate be­fore the lake you have the choice of con­tin­u­ing or tak­ing the gate to the right, up below the wa­ter tower. Both will bring you out at the end of the lake.

2 At the end of the lake fol­low the Weavers’ Way for a short dis­tance. Here the Weavers’ Way turns left but you carry on

through the small wood to a field edge path. Fol­low the path straight ahead; you will come to the mau­soleum on your right. Built in 1793, after the death of the sec­ond earl, it is worth walk­ing around the back to see the me­mo­rial stone topped by a mag­nif­i­cent bull, the em­blem of the Ho­bart fam­ily. Then carry on the path to a T-junc­tion.

3 If you are do­ing the short walk turn left, fol­low the track to no 4 where you re-join the main walk. For the main walk turn right and fol­low the track down to Great Wood car park. Take the path to the left through Bunkers Hill Plan­ta­tion, fol­low the path up to Bucks Com­mon

car park, fol­low the path through the woods. Pass­ing the tower on your left, fol­low the path through Long Plan­ta­tion. At the end of the woods turn right then left be­fore the road. Fol­low this path, turn­ing left at the woods; this will bring you to a three-way junc­tion. 4 Turn right, pass­ing through the park gates. Fol­low the track; this will bring you back to the start.

His­tory of Blick­ling Hall

AO­rig­i­nally owned by Sir John Fas­tolf of Cais­ter (who also built Cais­ter Cas­tle) from 1380-1459, it then changed hands and be­came home to the Bo­leyn fam­ily, their most fa­mous daugh­ter be­ing Anne Bo­leyn, one of the wives of Henry VIII. It’s be­lieved that she was born here, but there are no of­fi­cial doc­u­ments to back this up. Leg­end has it that there are three ghosts who pa­trol the house and gar­dens here at Blick­ling, one be­ing Anne Bo­leyn. The present house was de­signed in 1616, and was ac­tu­ally built on the ru­ins of the orig­i­nal site.

Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War it was used as the of­fi­cers’ mess for nearby RAF Oul­ton and even­tu­ally passed into the hands of the Na­tional Trust, where it re­mains to­day. There is a mu­seum for RAF Oul­ton above the gift shop

BThe mau­soleum is a strange, rather aus­tere mon­u­ment which houses the re­mains of the 2nd Earl of Buck­ing­hamshire and his two wives. Built of grey stone, it stands alone in the mid­dle of wood­land, sur­rounded by a metal grille and has a rather eerie feel to it.

CThe Tower, which was built in the 1800s as a grand­stand for the race­course that used to stand in the field now known as Tower Park, is a hol­i­day cot­tage, but still looks pretty im­pres­sive from far away.

na­tion­al­trust.org.uk/ blick­ling-es­tate

ABOVE: The lake at Blick­ling

RIGHT:The stone bull, em­blem of the Ho­bart fam­ily

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