Guide to the region: Walsham le Willows near the Norfolk-Suffolk border


Nestled between Bury St Edmunds and Diss, Walsham le Willows is just as charming as one would expect from a village close to the Norfolk-Suffolk border.

Here’s the truth about what it’s like to live there.

Walsham, as it was originally called, is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, although a settlement is believed to have existed there long before that.

After the Norman Conquest, it housed three different mansions and much of the land was used for agriculture – especially for sheep, but also cattle, horses, pigs and poultry.

In the 16th century Sir Nicolas Bacon, later father of Francis Bacon, became Lord Chancellor of Queen Elizabeth I, then Lord of two of the local mansions, Church House and Walsham. His meticulous attention to detail meant that most of the village’s earliest documents have been preserved, including some dating back to the 14th century. A local history group still meets regularly to share its findings on the history of the village.

A will from a local resident, dated 1537, is the earliest known reference to the addition of “Willows” to the name of the place.

By the 1800s, Walsham le Willows was a thriving village, and its abundance of businesses meant it could meet most of the needs of its residents.

Today industry and improved road links have changed that, with many of its residents now working in the nearby towns of Norfolk and Suffolk.

One of the two churches in the village
– Credit: Archant

There is a vibrant community in Walsham le Willows which is home to a village pub and butcher shop, as well as a post office. There are also two churches including St Mary’s, which dates back to the 15th century.

Functions and parties can be held in the Memorial Hall, which also hosts regular groups and classes, including the Women’s Institute and baby and toddler groups. There is also a playground and recreation area, as well as football, cricket and pétanque clubs.

Each August, the village usually participates in an Open Gardens event, which includes music, art exhibitions, a farmers market, and craft and plant stalls.

Since 1868, it has also hosted a separate exhibition of the Horticultural Society for Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables.

The village school is rated “good” by Ofsted and is a voluntarily controlled primary school for children aged 4 to 11. It has five classrooms, a library and a classroom as well as an outdoor pond and wildlife reserve. The school also has a large sports field and several play areas.

Other schools in the area include Stanton Community Primary and Barningham, which are both rated “Good”, and Norton CEVC Primary, located about four miles away, which are rated “Outstanding”.

The nearest secondary school is SET Ixworth, also rated “good” by Ofsted.

Modern double bedroom with blue graphic wallpaper, bed and dressing table

Inside one of Lovell’s show houses in his new 60-house development known as The Acorns
– Credit: Lovell

According to Rightmove, the average price of houses in the village is just over £ 304,000, and semi-detached houses are the most common.

It’s not just about historic homes and cottages, as five-star homebuilder Lovell recently unveiled a new 60-home site called The Acorns.

The development caters to a wide range of buyers – including first-time buyers, growing families and shrinking people – and offers a selection of two, three, four and five bedroom homes, as well as three-bed bungalows.

“With many people now working from home, densely populated urban areas are moving to a more natural rural setting – and The Acorns fits the bill perfectly,” says Debbie Knight, Lovell’s sales manager.

Modern open concept living space with fitted kitchen and living room

An open plan living room in one of Lovell’s new show homes at The Acorns, Walsham le Willows
– Credit: Lovell

Part of the site’s appeal is its fantastic location, which combines woodland walks and excellent transport links with proximity to schools and amenities.

Lovell is also working on local community support projects, including Walsham Wild Wood, in partnership with the village primary school.

Prices start from £ 300,000 and the government-backed Help to Buy program is available for first-time buyers.

Appointments to view are available Thursday through Monday and you can call 01359 758509 for more information.


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