Bury and surrounding area
Having left the Brecks the cyclists will head to Bury St Edmunds, taking in rural villages and then heading through the centre of Bury before making their way north-east to Mid Suffolk.
The lakes at Lackford were created from sand and gravel extraction in the valley of the River Lark. The gravel works closed in the 1980s and the site became a nature reserve in 2000. The site is home to numerous species of birds, insects and even the elusive otters. Find out about events and facilities at the Suffolk Wildlife Trust website.
Lackford has been a relatively small village according to the statistics in the Suffolk Parish Histories but this hasn’t stopped them celebrating traditional village events such as May Day.
In 1931 the Pocket History of Suffolk Parishes, printed in the Suffolk Chronicle and Mercury, recorded the following about Flempton:
the history of Flempton, unlike many villages in Suffolk…provides nothing of an exciting nature, its story being chiefly connected with the tilling of the soil and the quiet things of life…its atmosphere is peaceful and certainly attractive – a fact which those who have found pleasure on its golf links have probably noticed
No doubt there was some excitement in 1917 when the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were stationed in Flempton. The K997 collection includes several photographs of the soldiers in and around the village. It also includes a lovely photograph of “Louise, Nellie, Mabel, Henry Golders” playing golf, sometime between 1879 and 1930.
Hengrave Hall is a Tudor mansion which was used during the First World War as a Red Cross Hospital. The Walton Burrell albums (K997) include a number of photographs of wounded soldiers in the grounds.
The Hall was later used as a boarding school by the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Assumption from 1947 to 1974.
Fornham All Saints
Fornham All Saints was the site of tragedy on 16 June 1890. Work being undertaken to extend the Lark Navigation System with a new lock and bridge at the Tollgate Inn near Bury St Edmunds, created a traffic diversion at Fornham All Saints. A traction engine coming from Timworth to Bury tried to cross the wooden Causeway Bridge (now called Sheepwatch Bridge) which partially collapsed. The driver of the two man crew, Thomas Newell, was killed in this tragic accident. The men were employed by George Cornish, one of Bury’s engineering firms.
Bury St Edmunds
Bury played host to the opening stage of the 2015 Women’s Tour, also ending in Aldeburgh. Other cycle connections to Bury include the Volunteer cyclist group and more recently the West Suffolk Wheelers, who were formed in 1922 and are based in Bury St Edmunds. Their collection of archives (ref GC717) is held at the Bury branch.
After leaving Bury the cyclists will make their way towards Great Barton. Barton Hall was the home of the Bunbury family until a fire in 1914 destroyed the house and the contents. The Spanton-Jarman collection (K505) has several photographs of the interior of the house, which can be viewed at the Bury branch.
The final stop in the Bury area is the village of Ixworth, not to be confused with Ickworth near Horringer. Ixworth was home to Buckenham’s cycle store. This photograph shows the first cycle sold and Bob Turner, the new owner in the 1920s. Somewhat different to the machines used by the Tour of Britain cyclists!