"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. The Walks are managed by the Thornham Estate, who are committed to continuing the vision of the 8th Lord Henniker.
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.
Memory Wood 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
We are delighted to announce that our plans for a new Volunteer and Visitor Centre are now well underway. The building is single-storey, open plan and will sit sympathetically alongside the play area and the surrounding Red House Yard buildings - Thornham Walks Visitor Centre elevations. It will be principally constructed from green oak and clad in seasoned oak donated from the Thornham Estate.
The building will be off grid, to ensure a minimal carbon footprint. Solar panels will provide the electricity and a log-burner will generate the heating. Logs for fuel will be provided by the Estate. A ramp from the car park will give wheelchair access to the building and the covered decked area facing the playground will provide parents and carers with a place to sit and watch their children.
The Centre will house a permanent exhibition of the Walks and the Estate (including its history, flora and fauna, etc). Public access to the Centre will be free during normal opening hours (unless planned activities are already taking place).
Thornham Estate applied for 80% funding for this project under the LEADER scheme, which is delivered by the Waveney Valley Local Action Group (LAG). Funding originates from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). We are immensely grateful for this support, without it we would not be able to realise the project. We will post progress updates on this website. We expect the work to be completed by May 2019.