Thursday 28 November. Josephine is back from holiday in New Zealand and joined the “Four Musketeers” today for the fourth leg of the Peddars Way. I guess that we’ll have to call ourselves the “Famous Five” from now on. Picking up the thread where we left off in Sporle, we set out for a walk of 11 miles to Great Massingham. We stopped after 4¾ miles for coffee in Castle Acre and then walked a further 3 miles before stopping for lunch in the middle of nowhere. I think that we all needed a longer rest at this point. Revived, we then walked the last 3¼ miles into Great Massingham where we called into the Dabbling Duck for a very welcome pot of tea. We made great pace throughout: just 3¾ hours of walking meant that we had averaged almost 3mph. We have now completed two thirds of the Peddars Way with 36¼ miles behind us and just another 16½ miles to go.
Sunday 24 November. Just 6 (Karen, Hilary, Josephine, Linda, Derek & me) turned out for the 6 mile walk around West Dereham. The dreaded cross-field path came early into the walk. Karen had sorted out a roadside diversion but we took our chance with the Somme-like crossing. It didn’t seem too bad to start with but quickly deteriorated into the sticky gluey muddy mess of old. Coffee was taken at West Dereham church after which paths on grassy fields removed most of the accumulated mud. We had lunch near to the site of St Mary’s Abbey which was founded in 1188. A short walk then took us back to the cars.
Thursday 21 November. A forecast of showers and a high wind chill cast doubt over today’s walk but it proved to be wrong and our decision to go ahead was proven correct. Leg 3 saw us walking 9 miles from Little Cressingham to Sporle (just off the Peddars Way). The first 3½ miles were along quiet country lanes but it was a relief when we eventually transferred on to the more normal “green” tracks. We found a sunny spot at North Pickenham for lunch before walking a further 3 miles or so back to the cars. We have now reached the half way point on the Peddars Way trail and today’s walk was good training for the 11 miles that we will be tackling on the next leg from Sporle to Great Massingham.
Tuesday 19 November. Today was the second leg of the Peddars Way – 8 miles from Stonebridge to Little Cressingham. The gang of 4 set out on a clear crisp morning making our way to Thompson Water for our coffee break. The trees are still hanging on to their autumn colours and provided a fine spectacle as we made our way to lunch just before Home Farm near Merton Park. We found a beech tree with branches almost at ground level which made for a good seat. Suitably refreshed we then tackled the last few miles back to the cars.
Sunday 17 November. 10 members turned out for the 5 mile pre-AGM walk from Ferry Meadows. Our route took us out of Nene Park and over the A47 to pass across Milton golf course and into the edge of Milton Park. A subsequent internet search revealed that Milton Hall is the largest privately owned house in Cambridgeshire. It isn’t open to the public but the footpath took us around the outer edge of the adjoining parkland. Crossing back under the A47 we re-entered Nene Park to complete the walk back to the Visitor Centre for the AGM where we were joined by Graham and Amanda.
As usual, the AGM was uneventful other than Sarah standing down from here role as Group Secretary and Amanda volunteering to pick up the reins.
Tuesday 12 November. Sadly, Josephine couldn’t join us today so it was Karen, Bea, Hilary and me on this first 8.2 miles of the Peddars Way. I met Karen and Hilary at the Dog & Partridge in Stonebridge where they left their car and jumped into mine for the 10 mile drive to the start of the walk at Knettishall Country Park. We had a short distance of 0.92 miles to walk to the official start of the Peddars Way where the obligatory “Start” photo was taken. From here it was a very pleasant walk through typical Breckland woods to our lunch stop at the picnic area adjacent to the crossing point for the A11. The run across this busy dual carriageway was safely negotiated and we finished the walk just after 2 o’clock, some 3½ hours after setting off. The weather got better as the day went on and soon developed into warm sunshine. Karen completed the day by driving us back to the start where my car was waiting for the journey home.
Thursday 7 November. I was out this afternoon for a 6 mile walk with the Thursday Strollers around Wakerley Woods. As usual there was a good turn out of 28 walkers but we were outnumbered by Red Kites circling above us. I counted at least 40 at one time but the zoom on my phone camera was unable to fully capture this wonderful sight.