Heart of Suffolk Truly Local Guide
Forget the guide books, here are some truly local tips about the Heart of Suffolk that you won’t find anywhere else!
Foraging in the Heart of Suffolk
The Suffolk hedgerows are full of wild food ready to be picked. Wild plums, also known as bullace, and damsons in the summer and apples and blackberries in the autumn. Yum! Sloes are also in abundance during the Autumn months but don’t pick them too soon, they are best picked after the frosts! But, if you can’t wait then you can always put them in the freezer and take them out when you’re ready to make some Sloe Gin. Don’t forget to forage on the ground as well, in the spring many of the woodland floors are covered in wild garlic. A bit like spinach, it is delicious in salads or soups. Take a walk along the river Gipping near Needham Market and keep an eye out for this delicacy in the woodland along the rivers banks. Remember, you must never pick anything that don’t know what it is and if you are unsure seek advice from an expert before eating any foraged foods.
The Mysterious Groaning Stone
Have you ever heard of The Groaning Stone? If you are an adventure lover then why not try and find this mysterious stone. It is hidden away in the bed of a stream just outside the town of Debenham. Legends say that It turns over and groans when it hears the church clock strike midnight. It is also said that it was the location of an ancient ceremony held by a local Celtic tribe to elect their chief. This stream also leads up to the disputed ‘source’ of the River Deben which is believed to be in the village of Aspall, north of Debenham.
The Best Cream Tea
If you’re looking for somewhere to rest your weary legs after a day of exploration but don’t want the crowds, then head to the sleepy village of Rendham, just outside Framlingham. Juniper Barn is immediately on your right as you enter the village. The open style café is perfect for families and also has a village shop which is stocked with everyday essentials and local goodies.
This part of the county has lots of beautiful churches. Many of which are hidden down tiny lanes in villages and hamlets. The 1975 film ‘Akenfield’ was filmed in Suffolk, based in the village of Charsfield, near Wickham Market. The church featured in the film was meant to be St Peter’s Church in Charsfield but was actually filmed at St Andrew & St Eustachius church in the neighbouring village of Hoo as St Peter’s was too small for filming. Both churches are delightful and worth a visit, Hoo church in particular is stunning and has a 16th red brick tower, which can be seen in the film.
However, for one of the prettiest churches in Suffolk look no further than All Saints Church in Crowfield. This pretty little church is tucked away in a remote location around a mile outside the centre of the village. Walk along the path alongside the edge of the old moat and the church will reveal itself behind a picket fence. A treat for the eyes and it has the only timber-framed chancel in Suffolk!
The Best Butcher
There is an abundance of wonderful local produce in this part of Suffolk, including local meat. From pheasant to venison, many of the butchers take great pride in knowing exactly where their meat has come from and will probably even know the farmer personally! If you want to taste some of the best local meat then head to John Hutton’s butchers in Earl Soham. Popular with the locals, this prize winning butcher has been trading for over 30 years and also includes an extensive deli counter. Stop by to pick up the ingredients you need for a delicious meal and you can also enjoy the best bacon sandwich you’ll ever have alongside a cup of coffee. The perfect breakfast treat!