This woodland tract – especially the part known as ‘Staverton Thicks’ – has been claimed as an ancient ‘wildwood’. It is actually an overgrown medieval deer park and all the ancient oaks are pollards (some over 400 years old). A park is recorded here in the 1260s, and may have been made from an existing wood – one is mentioned in Domesday Book. In 1528 Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France (sister of King Henry VIII) and her husband Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, hunted foxes here and ‘took their dinner under the oaks, with delightful entertainment and games’.
The park is in private ownership but a part can be glimpsed from the road.
For more information:
Peterken, G.F., 1969, ‘The development of vegetation in Staverton Park, Suffolk’, Field Studies 3, 1-39.
Battell, G., Hoppitt, R. and Martin, E., ‘Staverton Park’, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History vol. XLI pt. 3, 2007, 395-6.