A sunny bank holiday weekend led to more 30 than miles walking beautiful Norfolk…

On Friday evening we sat by the wood stove in our Summerhouse listening to the torrential rain hammering on the tin roof. We were waiting for our guests to arrive.

Simon and Carole drove down from Preston for a short holiday with us. The next morning the sun came out… and it shined and it shined and it shined 🙂 so… we went walking.

We trekked four out of five days (everyone needs a rest sometime) and covered a total of 33 miles – all under the scorching but extremely welcome sun and very very blue Norfolk sky!

I think, because the weather had been so cold and wet prior to this that nature had been ‘on hold’ until… well until the Saturday of the May bank holiday weekend, then everything went wild! I’ve never seen such abundance… crops, blossom, trees, grass and sky… all shone vibrantly and in full technicolour! (Ed. is ‘Technicolour‘ a thing nowadays?). It was amazing!

I’ve listed the routes below and a few photos to inspire anyone thinking of exploring those country lanes and paths on foot.

The first was a long one (even longer for Catherine who had been sculling on the river in Ely that morning!!). One of my favourite walks, this 12 mile route meanders through ‘Breckland’ scenery and includes a close encounter with the Iceni village in Cockley Cley, a couple of great country pubs (The Bedingfeld Arms and the Twenty Churchwardens) plus it’s a ‘garden of delights’ from beginning to end.

The amazing weather combined with another lifting of COVID restrictions meant that traffic volumes were extremely high. This dictated where we walked (or more accurately – where we were prepared to drive to 🙂 ).

On Sunday we stayed away from all coastal roads and travelled inland to Wretton. This is an amazing little hike which traverses Wretton Fen and then follows The River Wissey to Stoke Ferry. Here you can see the river flow OVER the Cut-Off Chanel via and Aqueduct (more info on Wikipedia). We dined on a grassy bank whilst watching holiday boats navigating The Wissey and wondering why there were no bees on the massive crop of Comfrey growing all around.

Monday was our ‘day off so Tuesday we planned to drive to Holme next the Sea. Once again we were ‘diverted’ by the heavy traffic and headed off to Castle Rising instead for a 10 mile wander by FOUR pubs, two rivers and an MPs country residence (ex MP actually). I’ve held the idea for a while that we should stop over in all FOUR pubs but its never happened (for good reason). However we did manage TWO this trip… a quick pint in The Anvil at Congham and another where we ‘spent’ our well earned thirst at The Black Horse in Castle Rising. The ones we passed by were the Three Horseshoes (also in Congham) and the Union Jack (also fine pubs but there’s only so much a body can take!). We ended the day however at one of my all time favourite establishments… The Kings Arms in Shouldham, where we enjoyed fine ales and great food. 🙂

Wednesday… I think we were running out of steam (or was it the heat?). Anyway, a delayed start but a lovey late afternoon trek from Leziate, up through Ashwicken and stopping at the beautiful All Saints Church (off the beaten track) for refreshment. We passed by Leziate Fen on the return leg (an unusual area for Norfolk as it’s designated under CRoW).

All in all – a thoroughly restful and beautiful few days hiking.

Oxborough, Cockley Cley – Brecklands – 12 miles

Wretton and Stoke Ferry Wander – 6 miles

Leziate and Ashwicken – 5.5 miles

Castle Rising, Hillington, Congham and Roydon – 9 miles