A Suffolk estate has continued the expansion of its visitor facilities with the opening of a new terrace and sunken garden area at the entrance to its historic barn complex.

Rougham Estate - which lies by the A14 near Bury St Edmunds - has created an outdoor oak decking seating area from which to enjoy its newly-created sunken garden.

The area by Blackthorpe Barn - an ancient building dating back to the mid-1500s - is designed as a haven for nature lovers and coffee enthusiasts.

The terrace includes handrails which have been carefully crafted with wooden dowels - and down below an area which is thought to be the site of an ancient quarry is now home to a garden with a pond, waterfall and pathway.

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Owner George Agnew last year opened a new Roots Café at the site as he continues to open up the estate to visitors.

He wants members of the public to enjoy the 3,000-acre estate - which includes 650 acres of woodland. On his death he is leaving it in the hands of a specially-created trust so that this can happen.

"As garden lovers, we wanted to create a space that is designed for patrons to enjoy the delights from our Roots Café in a tranquil and calming environment," he said.

"The estate itself is set in the wonderful Suffolk countryside so we wanted to offer this feeling of being at nature within our café offering.

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"The terrace overlooking the Sunken Garden does just this. With the sound of the water falling into the pond and with the birds tweeting and watching nature, it’s just delightful and exactly what we hoped to achieve.

"It’ll be even more magnificent when the plants are in full glory. We can’t wait.”

The work to create the new oasis involved moving tonnes of soil, reinforcement works and a planting scheme in March to fill the area with ornamental grasses and perennial plants to create a habitat for wildlife.

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The area will take time to mature as the plants grow. The terrace will be open from 9am to 4pm.

The garden area is the latest in a series of expansions at the estate - which has also extended its opening hours in response to demand.

The Rougham Estate can trace its history back to Roman times and was owned by the abbey at Bury St Edmunds for 600 years. It has been owned by the Agnew family since 1904.

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