Blickling Estate North Norfolk

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Blickling Estate covers around 4,600 acres of varied landscape that's ideal for exploring by yourself, or with your family or dog. Enjoy a great 4.5 mile (7.2km) walk around most of the Blickling Estate's parkland. Visit points of local historical interest including Long Plantation, the Great Wood, the Tower, Brickyard and Mausoleum. This walk is ideal for adventurer families, but unfortunately it's not suitable for pushchairs.

Start point: Blickling main car park, grid ref: TG178286

1. From Blickling main car park, facing the visitor centre, go round the left-hand side of the building and follow the path down to the lane.

Look out for: View from visitor centre. At the start of the walk, take in the view of the top of Blickling Hall from the visitor centre in the main car park.

2. Cross the lane and turn right past the Buckinghamshire Arms, then turn left and walk past the front of the main house driveway.

Look out for: Buckinghamshire Arms. This inn dates from the 1700s and was used only occasionally 'for the horses of Gentlemen' but an ale house has stood on this site since the 1600s. Owned by the National Trust and managed by a tenant, it's a great place to stay on an overnight visit to Blickling, with great food, log fires and four-poster beds.

3. Now continuing on, visit the Church of St Andrew ahead.

Look out for: Church of St Andrew. Originally dating from the 13th to 15th centuries, the church was almost completely rebuilt in the 19th century, but has interesting brass rubbings and memorials to Blickling's former owners. The church is open daily (not National Trust; times may vary).

4. Cross the road (with care) and follow the minor road opposite (signposted Weaver's Way), towards Silvergate. At the end of the fence, after 100yd (91m) or so, you can enter the wood on the right hand side and have a look at the 18th-century ice house. Returning to the road, turn right until reaching a way marker with an orange arrow (with stile) on the right hand side.

Look out for: Ice house. Hidden in Icehouse Plantation, the ice house dates from the 18th century and was used until the 1930s. It is Grade II-listed.

5. Cross the stile and walk through the small woodland where there is a second stile to be crossed. Continue across the meadow (Pond Meadow), where there is yet another stile to be navigated. The brick building in front of you once housed a pump which fed water to the house during the Second World War. Cross the 'Carr' (just past the pump house), and turn left into the field.

Look out for: Pond Meadow and the Carr. Pond Meadow certainly matches its name. It floods to this day and in medieval times would have provided water for the moat. At this point, look to your right, and enjoy an excellent view of the hall. The name 'Carr' is derived from the old Norse 'kjarr', meaning wet (sometimes swampy) woodland. Work to restore Silvergate stream, which runs through the Blickling Estate, was completed in 2019 as part of the Upper Bure Riverlands project.

6. Follow the path along the field margin until you exit onto the lane, opposite Hall Farm. Turn right along the lane for 110yd (100m) or so and look for a way-marker on the left. Turn left up the track, go past a cottage and, just before reaching the main road, turn left and follow the path that runs alongside the road and Hercules Wood.

Look out for: Brickyard. Just past the cottage is the site of an old brick yard. Built in 1862 it was capable of producing 160,000 bricks a year. It was used until the outbreak of the Second World War and you can see its remains from the track.

7. At the end of this path, turn right and cross the busy road with care. Head towards the kissing gate ahead. Just before reaching the gate, turn left into Long Plantation and follow the path, which can be muddy.

Look out for: Hercules Wood. Hercules Wood (just before crossing the road), gets its name from the Temple of Hercules that stood there. A statue of Hercules that was in the Temple is now in the Orangery in Blickling's garden.

8. After a short walk you will arrive at the Tower (on your right).

Look out for: The Tower. Now let as a Holiday Cottage, the Tower was built in the 18th century as a grandstand for the steeplechase racecourse which ran across the area now known as Tower Park. This area has been returned to grass and an extensive grazing regime is being adopted to encourage diversity.

9. After leaving the Tower, continue along the waymarked path until almost reaching the road. Ignoring the path directly ahead, turn sharp right and continue along the edge of Buck's Common woodland until reaching a gate at its end. Go through the gate and continue across Hyde Park (note that cattle freely graze this area) until reaching another section of woodland in the distance and another gate. Go through the gate and immediately turn right. The path now continues downhill alongside Bunker's Hill Plantation towards Great Wood.

Look out for: Great Wood. Medieval Great Wood has changed little since the late 18th century, with its mix of English oaks, groves of beech and ancient sweet chestnuts, as well as small-leaved limes on the banks on the south-west of the wood. Bluebells are a sight here from

late April to early May.

10. When reaching the bottom of the hill, turn right and follow the edge of Great Wood uphill until reaching the second seat on the left. Now turn left and follow the path until reaching an open area with the Mausoleum to your left.

Look out for: The Mausoleum. The Mausoleum was built in 1794 in the shape of a large pyramid to house the remains of the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire, John Hobart, and his two wives. You can see the Hobart coat of arms above the entrance. It took around 190,000 Portland Stone blocks to create the Mausoleum.

11. After visiting the Mausoleum head back along the edge of the woodland and take the 2nd path on the left. Follow the path, bearing right further on, and head towards, then follow, the edge of the arable field in front of you. Take in the extensive views down to the River Bure and beyond, until you reach a small area of woodland known as the Beeches.

12. After entering the woodland, turn immediately right. Leaving the Beeches behind you, head downhill, watching out for grazing animals until you reach the park gates at the bottom. Exit through the small gate and after 27yd (25m) turn left. The entrance to the main car park will be on your right, marking the end of your walk. The visitor centre and toilets are here and the café, restaurant and shops beckon, not forgetting Blickling Hall itself.

Look out for: Blickling Hall. The current Blickling Hall was built on the ruins of the old Boleyn property in the reign of James I, by Sir Henry Hobart, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and 1st Baronet, and has been in the care of the National Trust since 1940.

End point: Blickling main car park, grid reference: TG178286

Map & Directions

Blickling Estate Walk

Type:Walking Route

Blicking Estate, Aylsham, NR11 6NF

Tel: 01263 738030

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