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Things to do in Elveden, Suffolk

A11 at Elveden
A11 at Elveden © Geoff Pick [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The small village of Elveden lies in the Forest Heath district of Suffolk. At the last count in 2005 it had a population of 270 residents.

Figure of St Matthew Elveden Church
Figure of St Matthew, Elveden Church © By Weglinde Gordon Lawson (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

It is located on the busy A11 between Norwich and Cambridge.

The village can be a bottleneck but plans for a bypass have frequently been postponed.

The original old English name of Elveden meant "Valley of Elves" and during the 17th and 18th centuries the village was known as the shorter name of Elden.

Scenic View Of Lake Against Sky
Scenic View Of Lake Against Sky © paul wright/EyeEm - stock.adobe.com

The magnificent and unusual church of St Andrew and St Patrick in Elveden has two towers, a cloister and two naves.

Pre-1860 it was a fairly typical village church but a series of grand building programs made it quite unique.

St Andrew and St Patrick Church Elveden
St Andrew and St Patrick Church © Keith Evans [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Prince Duleep Singh and his wife came to England when the British took over in the Punjab. Formerly the leader of the Sikh people, the Prince converted to Christianity and was given the lease on Elveden Hall which he rebuilt in 1870.

He also paid for many improvements to the local church.

A memorial window to the Maharajah Prince Duleep Singh can be seen in the chapel along with his simple grave in the churchyard.

The Prince's family line died out and the large country estate reverted to the Crown.

Elveden Estate Office
Elveden Estate Office © Keith Evans [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It was then bought by the Guinness family, of brewing fame, and is now the home of the Earl of Iveagh.

The first Earl ordered the building of a new church in 1904, incorporating the original church as the south aisle.

The Brecks Near Elveden
The Brecks Near Elveden © David Hawgood [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The church interior is magnificent with commemorative windows, an alabaster reredos and high quality woodwork from its generous benefactors.

Present Day Elveden

Elveden War Memorial
Elveden War Memorial © By Poliphilo (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

On the approach to the village is the largest war memorial in Suffolk.

It is over 30 metres high and at one time visitors could climb up inside.

It commemorated the loss of life during the world wars from the parish of Elveden, St Andrew and St Patrick.

Thetford Forest
Thetford Forest © sunfreez - stock.adobe.com

However, it is said that there have been more lives lost since the war due to road accidents in the area than there are names on the war memorial.

Elveden Hall remains a private country estate and is the largest arable farm in the country.

The hall has occasionally been used as a film location for James Bond's The Living Daylights and Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider.

New Tower St Andrew and St Patrick Church
New Tower, St Andrew and St Patrick Church © Geoff Pick [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Just to the north of the village is a popular Centre Parcs holiday complex which makes good use of the Elveden Forest for outdoor activities.

Things to do in Elveden

Thetford Forest is close to Elveden and was planted to replace the huge amount of forest which had been used to meet the demand for wood during World War I.

Ickneild way near Elveden Suffolk
Ickneild Way near Elveden © Keith Evans [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The forest is now a haven for wildlife and rare birds including the golden pheasant, goshawk, siskin and crossbill.

The High Lodge Visitor Centre offers cycle hire, walking trails and a café.

Autumn Colours
Autumn Colours © Alan Smithers - stock.adobe.com

The Go Ape high wire adventure course at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest also runs through an area of the forest.

The area has many local walks and is close to the long distance Peddars Way.

Nearby, Bury St Edmonds is a lovely Georgian town with famous abbey ruins and St Edmundsbury Cathedral Bury St Edmonds also has a lively Saturday market.

Thetford Forest
Thetford Forest © Phillips Visuals - stock.adobe.com

Newmarket has first class horse racing as well as the National Horse Racing Museum.

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