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Suffolk Countryside - The Great Outdoors

With its beautiful rural scenery, woodlands, rivers and heath, a holiday in the Suffolk countryside is perfect for getting out and about in the great outdoors. With so many activities to choose from, we can't possibly list everything, but here's a whistle-stop tour of some of the best things to do in the Suffolk countryside:

Walking:

To showcase myriad walking trails on offer throughout our beautiful county,  Suffolk now hosts it very own walking festival each spring!  Featuring a staggering assortment of 70+ guided routes and walks during May and June, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to a stroll in the countryside!  Choose from heritage walks, riverside walks, family walks, countryside walks, Nordic walks, garden walks and even some walks through local vineyards.

One of the festival’s most popular walks is Thornham Walks near Gislingham which features 12 miles of off-road walking trails through fields, woods and parkland.   A walled garden lies at the heart of this series of trails which all circumnavigate the Henniker Estate.  This 2,000-acre estate located at Thornham Magna, features a restored walled-garden complete with 18th-century greenhouses, a café, play park and gorgeous carved-oak sculptures, making these walks a huge hit with families.

The 'Angels and Pinnacles' project is a collection of walking trails, taking in some of Suffolk's most iconic churches through less-visited places like Badingham, Dennington and Worlingworth, some of Suffolk's best kept secrets.

For those of you interested in history – particularly from the Tudor period, why not take the Brownsord Way a trail that encircles Framlingham and its ancient castle.  This circular 11 mile route offers some stunning views of this charming market town including the castle, church and college.

Cycling:

Being a fairly flat county, Suffolk is an ideal place to explore by bike.  “Cycle South Suffolk” is one of our prettiest cycle trails and takes in a circular route surrounding the Wool Towns of Lavenham, Long Melford, Kersey and Monks Eleigh.

Another popular route which is part of the National Cycle Network, is route 51 between Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich.  This route uses quiet roads and passes the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket then travels through Woolpit (great pub here!) and Thurston before arriving in Bury St Edmunds. The route then carries on to Cambridge via Newmarket - home of Newmarket Races.

Nature & Wildlife:

Fox Fritillary Meadow, Suffolk Wildlife Trust

During flowering season, the amazing Fox Fritillary Meadow in Framsden , offers breathtaking displays of up to 300,000 beautiful purple and white “chequer board” flowers, and is the largest of 4 remaining sites in Suffolk where snake's head fritillary can be found.  Fritillaries flower from mid-April to early May and visitors may only visit the meadow during an annual open event which is organised by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Cavenham Heath, Tuddenham

Cavenham Heath offers visitors a peaceful sanctuary to stroll around, taking in heathland, woodland and stunning views across the Lark Valley. There are lots of trails to discover including the Wetland Trails that snakes alongside the picturesque River Lark.

Lackford Lakes, Suffolk Wildlife Trust

If you’re a bit of twitcher, there’s plenty of birdlife to watch and admire at Lackford Lakes near Bury St Edmunds – from teal and buzzards to goosander and sparrowhawk. Located next to the River Lark, Lackford Lakes is a wonderful habitat for insects, varied wildlife and wildflowers, and the reserve includes reed beds, meadows and streams. In the summer months, seasonal visitors include swallows, sand martin, Little Egret and kingfisher. With its variety of nature trails and school holiday activities, Lackford Lakes is a great place to take the little ones

Other Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserves in the Suffolk countryside include Groton Wood in Hadleigh (near Lavenham), an ancient woodland with some fascinating fungi species.  Bradfield Field Woods near Bury St Edmunds is another lovely woodland reserve that attracts badgers and a variety of songbirds such as garden warbler and blackcap.

Families:

Ickworth Park, near Bury St Edmunds

Ickworth Park in Horringer is a great place to visit with or without the family and boasts beautiful nature trails, a walled garden, formal Italianate gardens and a great coffee shop to relax in after you’ve expended all of that energy!   It also has a large outdoor adventure park and a fun-packed holiday activity programme. Holiday activities include anything from archery to bug hunting, snail races to owl-pellet dissection!

Go Ape

Go Ape in Thetford Forest is another fantastic outdoor attraction, all set amongst Britain’s largest lowland pine forests. In addition to zip wires, Tarzan swings, a Junior Tree Top Adventure Zone and Forest Segways, Go Ape offers over 30 miles of bike and walking trails.