Holkham

Friday 19 July 2019. Amanda and Karen joined me today for a short 5-mile walk at Holkham Bay. Parking in the free village car park we walked down Lady Ann’s Drive, calling in to use the facilities at the newly built Lookout, before heading for the beach. As seems to be normal for Holkham, the tide was out, and the sea was a mile away. I’m not sure if it was just me but the sand seemed softer than normal and it was hard going. I needed a rest, so we stopped for coffee sat on the edge of the sand dunes.

Rain was forecast so, rather than walking out as far as the path for Burnham Overy Staithe, we cut it short. We had been walking beside an area of the dunes that was roped off to provide a quiet area for breeding birds. Where this came to an end, we cut inland to enter an area of woodland. We normally walk on the landward side of this woodland but, seeing that there was a path through the middle, we decided to follow it to see where it went. It brought us out at the boardwalk and bird hide near Meale House. It was raining by now, so we decided to take the shortest route back to the car.

It was about 1:15pm when we finished our walk and we then headed into Wells for fish and chips for lunch. I was surprised just how busy the town was and finding somewhere to park was a problem. We ended up using the “Town Car Park” which meant a short walk to Sands restaurant for lunch. It was surprisingly quiet given the problems we had parking the car. The meal was okay but nothing special. Just as we finished a large family group with hoards of children came to sit near us signaling the time for a swift exit.

Holkham – walk route

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Morston

Wednesday 17 July 2019. I decided on a much easier 6-mile circular route from the NT visitor centre at Morston Quay. This took me on good open farm tracks to Cockthorpe where I stopped for coffee at the church. I had been steadily climbing all the way to the dizzy height of 110ft. Although this wasn’t very high there were good views to be had back to Blakeney Point. The route downhill through Cockthorpe Common was a delight but this turned into a nightmare of nettles and brambles for the following mile until I hit the Norfolk Coastal Path. It was so bad that I’ve taken the trouble to report it to Norfolk County Council as this is one of their “promoted routes”.

I stopped for a second coffee break as soon as I escaped from the triffid-like footpath and could find somewhere to sit down. From here it was an easy mile or so back to the car.

Morston – walk route

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Sheringham to Cromer

Tuesday 16 July 2019. I should have been on holiday in the Cotswolds just now but health issues meant a change of plans. I seem to have medical appointments virtually every week but I’m clear until the end of the month so I decided to get away to the Norfolk coast for a few days. I’m staying in my caravan on Fakenham Racecourse which is handily positioned with most parts of the coast just 20 miles or so away.

I decided today to do a 6 mile linear walk from Sheringham to Cromer and to catch the bus back. It seems an age since I’ve done this walk and I threw in a minor route change which would allow me to do a small section of beach walking towards the end. Leaving Sheringham behind I climbed the steps besides the converted public toilets; now a holiday home named “Wee Retreat”. This seemed a struggle as did the short section of road leading to the foot of Beeston Bump. This hill is only 207ft and thankfully I ascended quite easily. I stopped at the top for a coffee and a sausage roll that I’d bought from Byfords in Holt.

Heading down off Beeston Bump, I crossed the railway line and walked up the lane past Beeston Hall school. This brought me to the second climb of the day towards Norfolk’s highest point at Beacon Hill (344ft). From here it was downhill again to the Camping and Caravanning Club’s Weston Runton site. A left turn here saw me heading towards East Runton from where I could start my beach walk to Cromer. I’d had thoughts of a portion of chips before setting out on this walk and, as it was lunchtime when I passed Will’s Plaice, I decided to stop and satisfy my longing for something other than diet food. I was walking off the chips so in environmentalist parlance, there should be “net zero effect”.

I wasn’t sure where to catch the bus in Cromer and intially went to the wrong stop on Beach Road. After a bit of “Googling” I realised that I needed to go to the bus interchange just around the corner on Cadogan Road. It had been a warm day with a total ascent of just over 700ft. Thankfully much of the walk on Beeston Regis Heath had been shaded by trees making it more tolerable and overall very enjoyable.

Sheringham to Cromer – walk route

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Sandringham

Sunday 14 July 2019. Today’s walk was supposed to be jointly led by Linda W and Frances. Unfortunately, neither of them was available and I had to step in at the last minute. As the walks programme co-ordinator, I appreciate the difficulties of committing to lead walks months ahead and that there will be times when these commitments cannot be fulfilled. I’m personally guilty of this and fully appreciate the time and effort given by our volunteer walks leaders, without whom the group would cease to exist.

There were just 6 of us today: Amanda, Betty, Josephine, Karen, Linda S and me. The visitor centre at Sandringham was fairly quiet at 10am but was much busier on our return 4 hours later although the cafe/restaurant wasn’t very full. We set off through one of the wide open “rides” besides Wild Wood on the way to follow the “Scenic Drive” and leave the crowds behind. We were now on the less used tracks to the south of Sandringham and had to push our way through overgrown paths just beside “Cat’s Bottom”.

Crossing the A149, we then followed the cycle/pedestrian track to Babingley Bridge where we stopped for coffee. It wasn’t very far from here to our lunch stop at Castle Rising church. The Sunday morning service was just finishing as we ate our lunch in the porch. The vicar invited us to have a look around.

After lunch we followed field edge paths and the stream back to Babingley Bridge to retrace our tracks back across the A149. To add some variety to the walk we took a different route back to the visitor centre, finishing off with a walk through “Scotch Belt”. I had expected there to be huge queues at the cafe, but as this was not the case, we stopped for post walk refreshments and a slice of “birthday cake” for Amanda. This had been an enjoyable 8-mile walk. My health must be improving as I didn’t have any problems with the minor hills on the return leg which had made me out of breath when checking the route with Linda S on 24 March.

Sandringham – walk route

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Duddington, Tixover and Wakerley

Sunday, 23rd June 2019.
Seven members participated in our midsummer walk from Duddington through Tixover to Wakerley. The weather was fine and warm and Brian made a short appearance but did not join the main party for the walk.

Looking over the bridge over the river Welland on Mill Street we saw a small group of brown trout which soon disappeared when they realised they had been spotted. After admiring some of the waterside Gardens in Tixover we headed out towards Wakerley beside arable crops and through grassland. Some areas of track were nearly invisible due to tall grasses which the demoiselle flies were using as warm up perches. However there were very few stingers which was a great relief to those wearing shorts.

Coffee was taken in the lovely churchyard at Wakerley where there are some superb specimens of the golden Irish yew. A roadside trek was then required to take us to the The Forestry Commission’s Top Lodge at Fineshade Wood where some members supplemented their sandwiches with ice creams. Apparently Brian’s favourite coffee is served here – I wonder if he called in earlier?

A stroll through the woods brought us back to Duddington and to a short break in the Royal Oak Inn which was too inviting to pass by as by now the temperature had reached 22C and it was rather humid.

Notable plants seen included meadow cranesbill, field bindweed, birds foot trefoil, spotted orchid, white campion, honeysuckle, wild rose and a variety of poppies. Birds included egret, buzzard, red kite, kestrel, song thrush.

Top Lodge coffee walk

Sunday 9 June 2019. The Fenland Group had an 8-mile walk at Wells-next-the-Sea today. I thought about going along to say “hello” and then to do my own thing with a walk out and back to the lifeboat station. It would have been a long way to drive for a short walk and 8 miles might have been a bit too much for me just now.

Instead, I decided to stay local and do one of my favourite 5-mile walks from Duddington to Top Lodge and back with a coffee stop at the half-way point. I set off from home wondering whether even this might be too much as I knew that there would be a couple of steady climbs of about 100ft each. The first was completed without too much difficulty within the first mile and the second took me to Top Lodge where I could stop for a rest and a welcome cappuccino. I think that this is the best coffee that I’ve tasted and well worth the £3.30 for a large cup. On my last visit I asked if I could buy a bag of their coffee to use at home. This wasn’t available but I was pleased to note that they now sell their “own brand” coffee for £6.50 per bag. This is more than twice the price of my normal supermarket coffee but works out a lot cheaper than the £3.30 per cup charged in the cafe.

There has been a lot written recently about the mental health benefits of getting out into the great outdoors and I must say that my spirits were lifted by today’s walk. I don’t think that it will be too long before I do it again.

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Sawtry

Sunday, 2nd June 2019
It was a lovely sunny day and 7 Fenland Ramblers turned up at the little car park in Sawtry for Josephine’s walk – plus one from Huntingdon group and one from Peterborough group.
We followed undulating field tracks, eventually reaching picturesque Little Gidding church, tucked away in a remote corner of the countryside, where we stopped for elevenses.
We weren’t the only esteemed visitors as King Charles 1 visited and sought refuge here in the 1640s, and the poet T.S. Eliot popped in in 1936.
More field paths with waving fields of barley and wheat rippling in the breeze, tracks and woodland paths eventually brought us back to Sawtry – a very nice walk.
Photos courtesy of David M.