Tuesday 21 January. Four of us met up again for the second leg of the Nar Valley Way from Litcham to West Acre. A foggy and frosty drive to the start didn’t bode well for the day ahead but the mists soon cleared leaving sunny skies, however, it was still a little on the chilly side.
The walk through Litcham Common was boggy in places but the frost on the hedgerows provided great photo opportunities. We stopped for coffee at the East Laxham buttercross. Resuming the trail we followed the Nar Valley Way fingerpost heading west out of East Laxham but by the time that we had walked a third of a mile and reached Street Farm I realised that, despite the signpost, this wasn’t the route of the Nar Valley Way as shown on the Ordnance Survey map. So we retraced our steps back to East Laxham to pick up the true route of the Nar Valley Way heading north from Church Carr to make a minor detour to East Laxham church and also to visit West Laxham church before joining up again with the signed route just before crossing the A1065.
I can’t really understand why Norfolk County Council has made a change to the route of the Nar Valley Way from that shown on the OS map. This is confusing, misses out on the chance to visit the churches at East & West Laxham and is compounded by the fact that there is also a sign for the Nar Valley Way on the roadside at the southern end of West Laxham. I can only think that Norfolk CC believe that “their route” follows a slightly quieter country lane but to my mind, it is a pointless and less attractive diversion.
[Editorial Note: Norfolk CC have subsequently confirmed that the route at East & West Laxham has been changed to follow a quieter country lane. In fairness, this permanent change is highlighted on their website and the OS mapping is now out of date.]
We stopped for a late lunch at the Ostrich in West Acre where I had a swift half and a bowl of chips. Refuelled, we then made our way to the finish at West Acre. This section of the route is always boggy in the winter time and today was no exception although I have seen it worse. The mists came down again during our lunch break, which was a shame, but it didn’t spoil what had been a most enjoyable 10¼ mile walk.