West Stow Village &
Country ParkBury St Edmunds
Icklingham Road
West Stow
Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk IP28 6HG

 

The ever changing coastline of east England was home to the earliest inhabitants of Britain. The land was relatively flat and rich in the resources sought by nomadic tribes – plentiful water, wild game, materials for making tools and the occasional hill suitable for settlement.

The first pre-historic settlers were Neolithic who found plentiful supplies of flint which they used to make tools. These 5000 year old settlers actually mined the seams of flint and the visitor can still enter one of these mines at Grime's Graves in the Breckland area of northern Suffolk.

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Subsequent pre-historic tribes from the Bronze and Iron ages, then the Romans and the Anglo-Saxons occupied the same areas of East England making the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex some of the richest archaeological sites in Britain.

West Stow is the name given to an area in the Breckland that has yielded some of the most significant finds relating to the Dark Ages. A major archaeological dig from 1965-1972 revealed a well preserved Anglo-Saxon village and cemetery saved beneath the sands of the Breckland.

Between AD 420-650 Anglo-Saxons lived in the Lark River valley. The excavation revealed traces of earlier Iron-Age circular houses surrounded by ditches, and Neolithic tools used in hunting.

The dig showed us that the village was a tight-knit farming community. Extended families lived in houses clustered around a community hall where events such as feasting and story-telling were conducted.

The West Stow village had 69 houses, 7 halls and 7 other structures. There was a burial ground on the outskirts of the village where family members were buried. Decorative glass beads and other artefacts not made in the surrounding area showed that the inhabitants were still trading with their forebears from Europe.

West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village
So much was learned from the excavation that the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village was constructed near the excavation. This marvellous attraction allows the visitor to enter the different types of houses, a hall and farm structures, to see replicas of the artefacts found in use, and on living history days to meet real ‘Anglo-Saxons’ dressed in authentic clothes working with authentic tools.
 
Most of the original finds are on display in an on-site museum.
 
With the coming of Christianity a new village was built a mile or two east of the Lark Valley settlement. This is ‘modern’ West Stow – an attractive medieval hamlet with thatched cottages, an old church and a Tudor manor house, West Stow Hall.
 
The Anglo-Saxon Village is part of West Stow Country Park and tickets include access to both over a 12 month period so you can go back as often as you like.
 
West Stow Country Park
Beyond the car park, play area, visitor centre, shop and cafe is a 125 acre (52 hectare) country park bursting with life. If you are looking for a peaceful day in the country and perhaps a spot of bird watching, there are walks and trails in woodland and heath-land, along the river Lark and around the lake. There are also two strategically placed bird hides.
 
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Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1284 728 718  
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Getting There
- By Car
West Stow Country Park is 7 miles (11 km) north-west of Bury St Edmunds, off the A1101. Follow the brown tourist signs to the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. For satellite navigation the postcode is IP28 6HG  
 
Google Maps - West Stow Village & Country Park