Up at around at 4:30 captured this at just before 5:00
I was all set to start celebrating Suffolk Day; the picnic was packed, camera, new phone!, kindle fire, maps, notebooks and we were off shortly after 8:00 – destination Ickworth House.
After a leisurely drive along A14 – even at that time of day it wasn’t too bad – arrived at 9:15 first cup of tea!
All was quiet except for a few regular early morning dog walkers and staff preparing for the day ahead; however not too busy to chat and share their knowledge of the history and grounds of the estate, so here’s a big shout out to the porter of the day, Chris(?) and all other staff who remained cheerful, helpful and welcoming.
Where was I heading? Free to roam the estate I chose the Albana Walk.
An excellent choice. Although the cool breeze kept me walking briskly, patches of sunlight escaping the shade of the trees and warming the path cheerfully added to the experience. This was a paradise of trees; oaks, cedar, birch, ash, pines and other’s I’m afraid to say I cannot name………..NB must download the tree identifier app from woodland trust!
Poetree: The height, the age magnificent beyond compare. Standing tall and proud yet branching out to man and beast, rooting us in the way of earth, leaving us not alone but becoming the trunk or our existence. Wood you turn us away? No, go hug a tree today!
Following the route, I did walk along the trim trail but sadly it’s difficult to take selfies whilst exercising so no evidence!
Upon returning to the porters lodge and up to the main entrance – the first guided talk was about to start making a quick decision to join it. This was a ‘below stairs’ walk – so shades of Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey
In true fashion, the guide knew how to spin a yarn, make history interesting and throw in the odd observation or two. An entertaining hour – sparking enough interest to make me want to return and explore independently and take time over recording digitally the ‘good bits’. More about this later.
Tour finished it was time to head to the beautifully clean, modern, full flushing toilets inclusive of woodland trust recycled accrutrements.
Then the promised refreshment as advertised – Suffolk Summer Applecake with a good pot of Earl Grey tea!
Suitably refreshed I returned down to the servants tunnels. The planned photo snapping session was rudely interrupted by flashing lights, the sudden closing of doors and a piercing claxon………. yes, you’ve guessed it a fire alarm.
We were all safely escorted outside whilst the matter was investigated…. many people wanted to blame the volunteer staff cooking in the kitchen but they stood their ground and assured us it wasn’t them. Who knows?
Disappointed to not have completed all I wanted to do, I took the opportunity to wander down to the church – more pictures indeed, braving the terrors of the electric fence as I was helpfully warned by a fellow tourist! But was it worth it? You decide
Time then, to exit with the promise of a return and on to the next stop.
Horringer Church. I was disappointed that they were not ringing the bells as advertised but maybe I’d missed it. However lovely to explore the church both inside and out – yes, again more trees and grave yards! St Leonard a hermit was made the patron saint of prisoners and is represented by chains and manacles.
From there an easy journey into Bury St. Edmunds : to visit the abbey grounds and the Cathedral.
Actually even though I live so close, and worked even closer I don’t remember having been into the town much previously. I was thankful for easy and cheap parking with a good walk into town centre; good signage for tourist spots and what appeared to be some interesting shops as well as the usual high st chains. Enough that I may return but yesterday was all about celebrating Suffolk heritage. The Abbey gardens were beautiful, making pleasant strolling in the afternoon sunshine. The cathedral with the stunning architecture and renowned vaulted ceiling did not disappoint in terms of the building; but I had to question the ‘touristy’ type feeling. Although I will defer judgement as I was not able to stay for the evening service. I will hope and trust that there would descend a quieter atmosphere during that time.
For me then, sitting in a side chapel was peaceful and a fitting end to my Suffolk Day outings.
End note by courtesy of National Trust:
Consider donating time and support to preserve our heritage and beautiful environment wherever you are!