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Lakenheath, Suffolk
St Mary the Virgin Lakenheath.JPG
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Lakenheath, Suffolk is located in Suffolk
Lakenheath, Suffolk
Lakenheath, Suffolk
 Lakenheath, Suffolk shown within Suffolk
Population 4,691 
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
Dialling code 01842
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 4,500 residents,[1] 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.[2]

The town has a single Victorian primary school, constructed in 1878, which was extended in 1969, again in 2004 and most recently in 2010/2011.[3] There is a small shopping street, with a grocery store, one newsagents, an optician's shop, a Chinese takeaway, a Chinese restaurant, Two fish and chip shops, an Indian restaurant and Filipino restaurant. Also two Tattoo places, two nail bars, one sun tan bar, and a Sandwich shop. The town has a library with internet access. Along this stretch of road a small skate park, a playing field and a children's play park can also be found.

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.[4] The other pub is the Brewer's Tap. The Royal British Legion was a members only club, but closed in April 2012.[5]

Lakenheath is remarkable for its medieval church, built in the local flint construction style. The church contains medieval paintings and medieval carving on the pews.[6] The faces of the church's wooden angels bear the scars of the English Civil War, as none of the angels retain their original facial detail, due to religiously motivated vandalism by puritan soldiers[citation needed] 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.[7]

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.

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 archeology[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.[8]

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 armored horse.[9]


External links[edit]