Meadows Walk near Lake Farm

  • 1.5 hours
  • hard
  • 3.2 miles


This walk visits some of the most lovely meadows on the Rougham Estate. They are remote, peaceful and have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. They are filled with ancient oak trees and are surrounded by high hedgerows. To visit them is to step back in time.

The walk starts at Blackthorpe Barn, where you can find plenty of free parking as well as Roots Café and the Garden Room shop. Please remember that the gates to the avenue entrance are locked after the Cafe and Shop close. More details here.

For more general information about this and other walks, see Walks around Rougham Estate. We hope you have a lovely walk.

Use the Google Map below on your phone, to follow the path shown.
If you prefer, you can print this map out, or download a full pdf description of the walk using the button above.

If you can’t access the map through the image above, use this google map link

Go on the Meadow Walk, near Lake Farm, with George and Bolly in this video, where George Agnew gives a fascinating narration about points of interest along the way:




Step 1

From Blackthorpe Barn turn right and pass through the carparks along the concrete road until you reach a wood on your right. A path leads into the wood shortly after you reach its boundary.


Step 2

Follow this path bearing left and then turning left after 50 metres. Follow through the wood to the far end.


Step 3

At this point turn right at a T junction. Follow this path out of the wood with a hedge on your left. Follow this path until it meets a path from the right. At this point follow round to the left heading for Rougham Church which appears dramatically in front of you.


Step 4

At the far end of this path cross the school and church carpark. Cross the public road with care. Enter the churchyard and walk up to the great western tower. Turn right here.


Step 5

Follow this path to the west and leave the churchyard by a metal pedestrian gate made to commemorate the Rougham Harvest Fair which was one of the Tree Fairs which were a feature of life in Rougham during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Continue down this path, through the kissing gate, until you reach a hedge in front of you. Turn left here.


Step 6

Follow this path for several hundred metres until you see a path heading to the right through the hedge. Turn here and follow the path with some gardens and a house on your left.


Step 7

Shortly you will cross the public road. Take care here. The footpath continues on the far side. After 100 metres a hedge appears end on in front of you.


Step 8

Follow the path to the right-hand side of this hedge. After a while the path turns abruptly left and passes through the hedge to emerge on the other side.


Step 9

You are now in a meadow which represents the start of the Lake Meadows complex. Turn right and continue down here with the hedge now on your right. At the end of this meadow, you will see a stile in front of you. Crossing this stile takes you into a new meadow.


Step 10

Take the diagonal path across this meadow to the large metal gate which leads you into a small triangular meadow, leaving the gate as you find it. Here you turn left and pass what is, in effect, a complex of gates used to gather cattle at this narrow point. There is first a large metal gate which crosses your path if closed. Pass through this leaving it as you find it. Then there is a small gate on the left and finally another large gate across the path. These two large gates are usually open unless cattle are being held between them. If they are, use the alternative route suggested in Step 11. Otherwise proceed through, leaving all gates as you find them. You then emerge in the most splendid of the Lake Meadows.


Step 11

NOTE: Sometimes the cattle in the meadow gather in the narrow point where the second gate is. This can cause a blockage so that you cannot get through from the small triangular field. If this should happen on your walk, here is an excellent alternative.
Standing in the small triangular meadow, turn right instead of left and you will see a stile at the corner of this small meadow. Cross this and follow the hedge line on your right. Walk along the side of the field swinging round to the left at the bottom. This will take you to the Roman road known as Whitebridge Lane. Turn right here and continue on the walk from Step 15


Step 12

Stop for a moment and drink in the view which remains unchanged for centuries. A very rare experience. The meadow is dotted with ancient oak trees that are hundreds of years old. Many are very gnarled with great bulges and hollows. They mostly would have been pollarded in the past which involved the rotational removal of branches for construction and for firewood. When you are ready, walk diagonally across this meadow heading for an exit halfway down on the left near a pond.


Step 13

There you will find a stile to climb to leave the meadow. There is a section with plain wire where you should encourage your dog to go through. Turn right onto the public road. Take care as you join and walk along this metalled road for a maybe three minutes until you approach a T junction with a pair of brick-built houses on the right.


Step 14

At this point look left where you will see the huge Roman burial mound known at Eastlowhill Tumulus. This was originally one of a group of four tumuli built along the Roman road that we are about to join. It related also to a nearby Roman villa site. Turn right down Whitebridge Lane which is just before the cottages.


Step 15

This is the original Roman road and now a beautiful green lane. Follow this for half a mile. At this point you will see a footpath set off across the fields to your right. It is the route of the Roman road. Do not follow this path but stay on the green lane. We continue straight on the green lane until encountering a hedgerow ahead of you. Turn left here.


Step 16

Follow this green lane for 100 metres before turning right down another green lane called Mouse Lane.


Step 17

This lane becomes quite narrow in parts but when followed brings you out at some mid-century houses also called Mouse Lane. Turn left onto the metalled road with a pavement called Mouse Lane too.


Step 18

Follow this to the public road. Cross here with care, as it can be busy and follow the footpath on the far side for 100 metres.


Step 19

Turn right into the Blackthorpe Barn avenue and right again to return to the barn itself and Roots Café for some well-earned refreshment!

Important information

Must my dog be kept on a lead?

Here at Rougham we love dogs and really appreciate the importance that they hold for people in their lives and on their walks and outdoor adventures together.
We ask that you keep your canine friends on a lead when you are walking in Rougham. It is safer for the dog and much safer for wildlife.

Ground nesting birds and other wildlife are seriously threatened by dogs running loose. They can also frighten other people who are less comfortable with dogs, but who would also like to walk.

Finally, you will not be able to see where they poop and so will not be able to clear it up and leave a hazard for future walkers.

Some of the walks shown here include sections on public rights of way over land owned by other people. As a courtesy to them too, please always keep your dogs on the lead.
Thank you!

Can I do this walk with a wheelchair?

The Rougham Estate walks, starting from Blackthorpe Barn, are largely based on existing Estate paths and public rights of way. They mostly pass through woodland and along field-side paths.
Each walk is given a difficulty rating ranging from “easy”, which are the most accessible, to “hard”, which are the most challenging and may include stiles, kissing gates, steps, steep slopes and meadows with cattle.

All these walks follow existing paths and are subject to mud and puddles in wet weather, fallen branches and trees during and after storms, ice and snow during frozen weather. Brambles and nettles are common anywhere and will overhang the paths during the summer. Stinging insects including wasps, bees and hornets may be encountered and midges and mosquitos are common on summer evenings. Adders are rare but do exist and should not be approached.
The Blackthorpe Barn has a defibrillator available for emergency use.

Rougham is located in a very flat part of Suffolk and as such is more accessible than most other parts of the country, but concepts of accessibility are all relative and the final judgement must be the responsibility the visitor themselves.

The Rougham Estate does its best to make public areas as available as possible.
The Estate cannot accept responsibility for accidents or injuries incurred during visits or walks on the Estate, though every effort is made to make them as usable as possible.

Are all these walks on Rougham Estate land?

We have endeavoured to provide a real variety of walks based on land within the Rougham Estate, however some destinations are a little remote and to achieve circular walks rather than walks which just retrace their steps, where necessary, use has been made of the extensive footpath network and chosen public footpaths on our neighbours’ land, to complete the journeys in more interesting ways.

How can I best get my dog over a stile?

Stiles enable people to cross stockproof fences safely. Our stiles are built to Suffolk County Council standards.
If you have a dog with you then you should look for a small dog gate at the base and to the side of the stile. This may have a flap on a spring or a sliding door. Encourage your dog through first, then pass the dog’s lead through and take hold of it from above the fence. Then cross the stile yourself. This enables you to cross the stile without taking your dog off its lead.

What about dogs and poop bags?

Please ensure that you carry poop bags with you on your doggy walks. If you don’t have any with you, you can buy some in the Garden Room shop. It is so important that you clear up after your dog and then take the bag away with you.
You will find poop bins located near Blackthorpe Barn and Roots Café. Finding abandoned poop bags hanging in the branches of trees or just left on the ground is very unattractive for future walkers on the route so please do take them with you.
Thank you so much.

What are the difficulty levels?

We have given each walk a difficulty level, as a guide to the potential walker as to what to expect, from “easy” to “hard”.

The Rougham Estate walks are largely based on existing Estate paths and public rights of way, at times passing through woodland and along field-side paths.

A difficulty rating of “easy” means the path is most accessible.
A difficulty rating of “hard” means the path is one of the most challenging possibly including stiles, kissing gates, steps, steep slopes and meadows with cattle.
A difficulty rating of “medium” is between the two.

None of the walks are very hard as we live in Suffolk, not the Lake District, however some people are looking for something very gentle and others, something a bit more challenging.

What should I wear for these walks?

These walks lead through the Suffolk countryside and so expect to find muddy patches, nettles and thistles. It is important to remember that the weather may change during your walk too, especially if the walk is a long one.

Remember to wear sensible boots and take something waterproof along as well.
A sun hat for warmer weather is important too.

Will there be cattle in the meadows?

Our ancient meadows are a wonderful sight and well worth a visit on one of our walks. The reason they remain like this is that they provide grazing for cattle as they have done for many hundreds of years. You must assume that there may be cattle in any meadow that you visit.

Leave all gates how you find them and ensure that any dog you have is on a short lead and kept close to you. Cattle are curious creatures and may well approach you to see who you are. They are also herd animals, so they tend to move together with one taking the lead. They are also frightened of dogs. This is an inherited memory linking back to the times of wolves. Just walk steadily through the meadow. Don’t let anyone chase the cattle or make loud noises.
If you or anyone in your party is uncomfortable about cattle it may be best to choose another walk.


This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.