"I had always felt that because I was lucky enough to come into ownership of a lovely place like this, I owed a duty to other people. I felt as far as I could, I ought to try and share it with people."
John Henniker-Major, 8th Lord Henniker and founder of Thornham Walks
Thornham Walks stretch over 12 miles and are open to the public every day. In 1998 Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC) undertook a partnership agreement with the Thornham Estate to manage the Walks. This arrangement continued until May 2015, when the Estate took over management from MSDC. We continue to enjoy a productive relationship with Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Council and they hold an annual schedule of events at the Walks, further information can be found at www.midsuffolk.gov.uk or www.babergh.gov.uk.
Covering beautiful parkland and ancient woodlands, some of the highlights of Thornham Walks are detailed below.
Visit Thornham Walks
The 8th Lord Henniker restored the folly in 2000. The building is a remnant of the formal Victorian gardens
and originally took the form of a gothic summerhouse. The Victorian gentry would have taken strolls through the gardens
and used the folly as a place to sit and talk.
The pets' cemetery
The Henniker-Major family's pets and horses from years gone by are buried here.
The cemetery was renovated at the same time as the folly.
The walled garden
Originally the walled garden was part of 25 acres of formal gardens, maintained by 9 gardeners. After the death of the fifth Lord Henniker
in 1902 the garden was neglected and during the 20th century it became derelict and overgrown. In more recent years the walled garden
has undergone restoration and redesign and it is now the base for Beyond the Wall, a charitable project working with disadvantaged young
people with mixed disabilities and behavioural problems. The project aims to be a stepping stone for its learners to move on into future education
or employment and therefore improve their prospects. The garden is open daily to all visitors to Thornham Walks and has a small seasonal plant
and produce stall, the profits from which go directly to Beyond the Wall.
Visitors often feel a special connection to Thornham and on occasion they wish to remember loved ones by planting a tree.
As a result there are many young trees that have been planted to remember and celebrate lives past and new. We plan to continue
this tradition and have dedicated a special woodland area - the Memory Wood - for this purpose.
Should you wish to
remember and celebrate a loved one by planting a native tree, please contact the Walks at
or on 01379 788345 for further information.
A nuttery was often planted as an attractive feature in a country house garden. It also supplied sticks,
hurdles and barrel hoops from the prunings and, of course, nuts.
This was planted by the 8th Lord Henniker. It contains a variety of conifer species and the grass under the trees is managed for wildflowers.
The bird hide
Why not sit in the bird hide and see what you can spot? Birds visit the area regularly and there is always plenty of food for
brooding adults and fledged young. A wide variety of birds visit the feeders including blue, great, long-tailed, marsh and coal
tits, great spotted woodpecker, chaffinch, robin, nuthatch, pheasant and sparrowhawk.
The butterfly ride
This part of the estate is only open to the public during the summer months. The area is managed to benefit the butterflies' life cycle,
and hopefully to increase their numbers. Some of the species you may spot are the meadow brown, peacock, small tortoiseshell, gatekeeper,
speckled wood, comma, skipper and purple hairstreak.
The water meadows
These meadows spend part of the winter partially underwater providing an ideal habitat for wintering wildfowl and waders.
The high sandy banks of the River Dove provide ideal nesting sites for kingfishers and otters are resident along the river
- Picnic area
- Electric all-terrain wheelchairs
- Volunteering opportunities
- Compost toilets