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Lakenheath, Suffolk
St Mary the Virgin Lakenheath.JPG
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Lakenheath Hotel
Lakenheath, Suffolk is located in Suffolk
Lakenheath, Suffolk
Lakenheath, Suffolk
 Lakenheath, Suffolk shown within Suffolk
Population 4,691 (2011Census)[1]
OS grid reference TL715825
   – London  80.72 from high street to parliament square 
District Forest Heath
Shire county Suffolk
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Brandon
Postcode district IP27
Police Suffolk
Fire Suffolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
List of places

Coordinates: 52°24′49″N 0°31′21″E / 52.4136°N 0.5226°E / 52.4136; 0.5226

Lakenheath is a village in Suffolk, England. It has around 5014 residents,[2] reducing to 4,691 at the 2011 Census, and is situated in the Forest Heath district of Suffolk, close to the county boundaries of both Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, and at the meeting point of The Fens and the Breckland natural environments.

Lakenheath is host to the largest USAF base in the United Kingdom, RAF Lakenheath.

Lakenheath Fen Nature Reserve, created in 1996, restored wetlands from agricultural fields that were growing carrots. In May 2007, it was reported that cranes were nesting in the site for the first time since the fen lands were drained in the 16th century.[3]

The village has a single Victorian primary school, constructed in 1878, which was extended in 1969, again in 2004 and most recently in 2010/2011.[4] There is a small shopping street, with one grocery store (Cooperative), one newsagents, an optician's shop, a clothes boutique,a Chinese takeaway, a Chinese restaurant, two fish and chip shops, an Indian restaurant plus Jamaican and Filipino restaurants. Also two Tattoo places, two nail bars, one sun tan bar, three hair dressers, and a Sandwich shop.[5] There is also one horse-riding school and three nurseries (day). The village has a library with wireless internet, scanning, printing and photocopying facilities.[6] Along this road there is a small hotel, skate park, a Playing Field and a children's play park.

Lakenheath has two pubs though historically it had at least sixteen more. The Plough Inn (also known as the Wok n Rock) is a spacious flint faced 19th-century bar, Far Eastern restaurant and takeaway. It reopened at the end of 2013 after being closed for two years.[7] The other pub is the Brewer's Tap. The Royal British Legion was a members only club, but closed in April 2012.[8]

Lakenheath is remarkable for its medieval church, built about 900 years ago in wood, eventually being rebuilt in the local flint construction style. The church on the exterior has an embattled parapet that has an array of very worn gargoyles and other carved faces at the string course at the base. The interior includes medieval paintings and carvings on the pews.[9] The faces of the church's wooden angels bear the scars of the English Civil War, as none of the angels retained their original facial detail, due to religiously motivated vandalism by puritan soldiers. In early 2009, the church received a large grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and local organisations to restore its rare medieval wall paintings. The wall paintings, depicting local saint St Edmund, angels, and birds amongst other subjects, are believed to date from the 13th century.[10]

As well as the Anglican parish church, Lakenheath has churches representing the Methodist, Strict Baptist and Pentecostal (AOG) denominations. All three of the non-Anglican church buildings are also primarily constructed of local flint, albeit with later modifications in brick.

Sport and Leisure[edit]

The main centre of sports activities is the Pavilion.

Built in 2010, it was built to fill the place of a high-standard private hire facility in Lakenheath. The building is host to many popular events and clubs in the village such as Little Fishes Nursery, a Junior Youth Club, Junior Football and Cricket teams that regularly play on the Playing Fields which are situated next to the Pavilion, skate park and children's play park. There are plans to extend the Pavilion, on both sides. These would be smaller function rooms. Alongside that, there is also planning on a bowl green, a Tennis Court, a Netball Court and floodlit football pitches. The building was designed by ShanRye Surveying and Architectural Services[11]

The Lakenheath Junior Youth Club is a youth club for children aged 9–13. The club is situated at Lakenheath Pavilion, before it was moved there, it used to have over 120 children attending it when it was still situated in Lakenheath Community Primary School. Now, the club has on average 50 children per week. It features two pool tables, a couple of football tables, one Nintendo Wii, an Xbox 360 that has Kinect, a PlayStation 2, an art table, quizzes and contest tournaments that are run every week and there is also the Play Fields outside of the Pavilion. The club also features a tuck-shop that is cheaper than most shops in Lakenheath.[12]

Lakenheath has a football club called "Lakenheath Casuals FC" It was established in 1971 as Sunday League Team, in 2012–2013 the team moved over to Saturday League Football and with that, also joined the Cambridgeshire Football League.[13]

There is a horse-riding school in Lakenheath called "Apollo Stables".It is a family business, established in 2001. In the school there are both training courses for adults and children, with the minimum age of four years old for children. There are also regular horse rides around Lakenheath's countryside and Site[14]

The annual Suffolk Walking festival starts on Saturday 14 May and finishes Sunday 5 June, there is in total 77 walks around Suffolk. In length the walks are one mile to 60 miles in 24 hours. The festival marks the launch of Suffolk's year of walking which starts in May 2016 and ends in May 2016. The festival features a walk in Lakenheath which is called "It's a Walk in the Park". The walk starts on Friday 27 May 2016 and goes on for one hour, it is arranged at the Peace Memorial hall, next to the War Memorial. There are refreshments in the Peace Memorial Hall during the walk.[15]

The Peace Memorial Hall in Lakenheath


Lakenheath railway station is three miles away from the village.

There are regular bus services to the neighbouring towns of Brandon, Mildenhall and Thetford plus buses to Bury St. Edmunds operated on school/college days which are available to the general public.

RAF Lakenheath[edit]

Main article: RAF Lakenheath
F-15C Eagle of the United States Air Force taxis for takeoff. The LN on the tail means this aircraft is based at RAF Lakenheath.

Lakenheath is host to the largest deployment of United States Air Force personnel in the United Kingdom: RAF Lakenheath. The social impact of the United States Air Force fighter airbase and its nearby sister, RAF Mildenhall, on the economy of Lakenheath and on the nearby towns and villages is important. The United States has maintained a presence in the community since bombers were stationed there during WWII conducting raids on Europe. The base has a population of around 6000 service personnel.

Prehistory and archaeology[edit]

During the Ice Age, the River Bytham flowed through the area that is now Lakenheath, depositing much of the modern geology found in the area.[16]

Excavation of three early Anglo Saxon cemeteries at RAF Lakenheath between 1997 and 2002 uncovered a total of 394 inhumation and 17 cremation burials,[citation needed] including one 6th-century grave with a horse burial: a man was buried next to a fully armoured horse.[17]


External links[edit]