Area guide: The historic village of Walsham le Willows

Picturesque street scene with pastel coloured properties in Walsham Le Willows

Walsham le Willows is a picturesque village close to the Norfolk-Suffolk border with a thriving local community - Credit: Archant

Nestled between Bury St Edmunds and Diss, Walsham le Willows is every bit as charming as you’d expect a village close to the Norfolk-Suffolk border to be.

Here's the lowdown on what it is like to live there.

Walsham, as it was originally known, is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, though it is believed that a settlement existed there long before that. 

After the Norman Conquest it was home to three different manors and much of the land was used for farming – particularly for sheep, but cattle, horses, pigs and poultry too. 

In the 16th century, Sir Nicolas Bacon, later father of Francis Bacon, became Lord Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth I, and then lord of two of the local manors, Church House and Walsham. His fastidious attention to detail meant that much of the village’s early records were preserved, including some which date back as far as the 14th century. A local history group still meets regularly to share their findings on the village’s story. 

A will by a local resident, dated 1537, is the first known reference of adding ‘Willows’ to the place name. 

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

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

15th century church with graveyard in Walsham le Willows, Suffolk

One of two churches in the village - Credit: Archant

There’s a vibrant community in Walsham le Willows, which is home to a pub and a village butchers, 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 play and recreation ground, and football, cricket and bowls clubs. 

Each August, the village usually takes part 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 Horticultural Society show for flowers, fruit and vegetables.  

The village school is rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted and is a voluntary controlled primary school for children aged 4-11. It has five classrooms, a library and a hall as well as a pond and wildlife area outside. 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, situated around four miles away, which is rated ‘Outstanding’. 

The closest 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 homes at its new 60-home development known as The Acorns - Credit: Lovell

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

It’s not just historic houses and cottages though, as five-star housebuilder Lovell has recently unveiled a new 60-home site called The Acorns.

The development caters to a range of buyers – including first-time buyers, growing families and down-sizers – 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 there is a move away from densely populated urban areas to a more natural rural setting – and The Acorns fits the bill perfectly,” says Lovell sales executive Debbie Knight. 

Modern open plan living area with fitted kitchen and living room

An open-plan living area at one of Lovell's new show homes at The Acorns, Walsham le Willows - Credit: Lovell

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

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

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

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

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