More restoration work planned at Ickworth estate


Work to restore the Earl's Summerhouse in Ickworth's Walled Garden will start later this year. - Credit: Paul Geater

After the completion of £5m restoration work at Ickworth House near Bury St Edmunds, the National Trust is now planning to restore the Walled Garden between the estate church and the canal on the River Linnnet.

The two most pressing projects in the garden are repairing the Earl's Summerhouse - built for the 1st Earl of Bristol in the early 18th century - and restoring the unique glasshouses.

Ickworth glasshouses

The glasshouses at Ickworth need total restoration. - Credit: Paul Geater

Both are currently closed to the public - but the Summerhouse is due to have an £80,000 restoration over the next two years which will include the creation of a new path from it to the side of the canal - recreating a path that existed when it was first built.

The Walled Garden covers a large area and is split into different sections - but the Trust will be concentrating on the central section in front of the Summerhouse at first.

Ickworth Walled Garden

Ickworth's large walled garden overlooks the canal on the River Linnet. - Credit: Paul Geater

Once the summerhouse work is finished that should reopen to the public who will be able to enjoy what is actually an older structure than the house itself.

The area of the walled garden behind the summerhouse was at one time planted as a vineyard - but a full plan to redevelop it will be drawn up over the next few years.

Ickworth garden

Ickworth Walled Garden is awaiting restoration. - Credit: Paul Geater

While the restoration work is in the pipeline, volunteers are working at the garden to try to make it more attractive to visitors.

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A spokeswoman for the National Trust said: "Other work is currently underway in the Walled Garden, with a group of volunteers carrying out weekly tasks to make improvements and care for this part of the Ickworth Estate.

"The Bothy, which is a tenanted building at the edge of the Walled Garden has recently been renovated, with new windows and insulation.

"The team are also hoping to add a new family friendly picnic area to this space this year, so more visitors can spend time enjoying this corner of the garden."

Scaffolding at Ickworth

Ickworth House roof had a £5m restoration over the last two years. - Credit: NATIONAL TRUST/JEMMA FINCH

The work on the garden comes after the Trust restored the roof with a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Wolfson Foundation - work that continued during the 2020 lockdowns and was completed last year.