Walking in Norfolk
Think of Norfolk and you most probably think of the Norfolk Broads, those lovely stretches of water linked by the rivers Bure, Ant and Thurne. Although the Broads are primarily known for their boating holidays, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, soon to become a National Park, has beautiful scenery, pretty villages such as Potter Heigham and Horning, and can be enjoyed by walking as well as boating. The Broads were cut in the middle Ages by peat-diggers, and they have been plied ever since by all manner of craft. There are windmills to explore, good pubs for lunch, and abundant birdlife to observe, including Coots, Crested Grebe, and Marsh Harriers. With stunning sunsets in summer, misty mornings in autumn and the breeze rustling the reeds in winter, the Norfolk Broads offer something for every season.
The picturesque North Norfolk coastline stretches for 43 miles and three quarters of this coastline is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and an important conservation area. The bustling seaside resorts, once tiny isolated fishing communities, have maintained some of their character and are still working ports with crab and fishing boats still putting out to sea. The coastal and inland areas are ideal for walking, with fresh green countryside in spring, colourful poppies dotted about in summer, and the lovely russet trees in autumn. Towards the west end of this coastline the villages of Titchwell, Thornham, Brancaster and the Burnhams look out across wide windswept marshes towards the sea. Further west still is Holme-next-the-Sea where the Peddars Way long distance path meets the Norfolk coast Path. Further south the Peter Scott Walk follows the old sea bank along the Wash from King's Lynn. This historic port on the river Great Ouse is also the finish of the Fen Rivers Way, a long distance path between Cambridge and King's Lynn that traces the course of the rivers that drain slowly across the Fens into the Wash.
The Fens, an area of dykes, ditches, rivers and remote villages created by centuries of reclamation provide an altogether different landscape. Downham Market, a small hillside town on the edge of the Fens, provides an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding countryside and waterways. The recently restored Denver Mill nearby is well worth a visit.
The village of Weston Longville, set in gently rolling countryside, is noted as the setting for 'The Diary of a Country Parson' recording the tranquil yet fascinating life of rector, James Woodforde. It is a work still widely enjoyed as an insight into people's lives in the late 18th century; the farmers, servants, doctors, tradesmen and squires the rector came into contact with. The second part of the village name came from Longville priory in Normandy, to which its tithes were transferred at the turn of the 12th century by its Norman lord of the manor.
A Walk from Weston Longville [TG 114159] OS Maps: Explorer™ 238
This walk takes in quiet lanes and footpaths that the rector James Woodforde, a keen walker, would have used. Leave the village along a lane heading to Morton, but at a cross roads turn left following a lane towards Weston House and the Dinosaur Park (don't worry, they are not real). Continue past the Park to another cross roads and turn left and almost immediately take a footpath on the left that heads diagonally up a field towards a line of trees. Continue across field paths to Greensgate. Just before meeting a lane take a path on the left heading east which will eventually take you back to Weston Longville. About 3.5 miles.
Best Pub for this walk
The Parson Woodforde, Weston Longville Tel: 01603 880106 (Good Pub Guide)
This pub has the feel of a handsome country manor, with solid beams, exposed brick walls and large brick fireplaces. Food is freshly prepared using local game, meat and vegetables, and the bar menu features such dishes as sausage and mash, steak and kidney pie and fresh haddock or cod in Parson's Ale batter. A separate restaurant menu has a wider choice. There is an attractive garden with tables.
This walk is fully described in the guidebook 'Pub Strolls in Norfolk' by Will Martin
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