This was our twelfth walk in preparation for the 2021 LDWA 100.
WALK NUMBER: 12 (The Wroxham Wander)
DISTANCE COVERED: 18.5 miles
NUMBER OF NATHAN’S FRIENDS WE “ACCIDENTALLY” BUMP INTO: 0 (but see below)
SUFFICIENT BEER CONSUMED: No (all the pubs are shut)
PUBS VISITED: 0 (not through choice)
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Dry and surprisingly warm
ATTACKED BY ANIMALS: No
NUMBER OF SNAKES SEEN: 0
The LDWA 100 in May is creeping up rather fast and so it was time for us to go on another little meander in the quiet Norfolk countryside. Above is what is currently Zaks American restaurant and they’ve been in these premises since 1979. Apologies for yet another mention of George Plunkett, but he has a photo of what this former tea pavilion looked like in 1931.
Nathan guided us through Mousehold Heath through trial and error (mostly error), but I must confess that I still manage to get lost in this area so I wasn’t much help. Here’s a pile of big twigs constructed to build a shelter.
A beehive sign, suitable given that the building behind was until relatively recently the Beehive pub. It’s now a Co-op, but the old web-site for the pub is being maintained as a community project, which is a marvellous idea. I’m not entirely taken by this habit of supermarkets taking over former pubs, once an asset like that is lost it’s going to nearly certainly be a permanent loss.
This is the end of the pavement on the Norwich to Wroxham Road, beyond that pedestrians are expected to walk down the round. It’s not ideal…… We decided that we wouldn’t walk back this way, instead going via Rackheath, which proved to be a sensible decision. One day there will be proper access for walkers and cyclists on roads such as this, but I fear that we have a little bit of a wait for that.
I’m very pro-rail and often grumble about new roads, but the council have done a good job here with the Northern Distributor Road (alternatively known as the Taverham-Postwick Road) in terms of footpaths and cycle access. The council were content not to make pedestrians to walk along the road here, so that made matters rather more pleasant.
Moist roads….. Komoot wasn’t entirely helpful in the stretch beyond this, as its routings tried to send us down private paths that weren’t on the definitive map. That meant some backtracking was necessary and although Komoot are reliant on external data, it’s a situation that means significant caveats would have to be made before anyone uses Komoot in rural Norfolk. Nathan muttered about Komoot quite a lot today but I considered it to be user error. I didn’t say that though, I didn’t want to cast a dark cloud on proceedings.
On the right is the railway line that runs from Norwich to Sheringham, and this point is just before entering Wroxham. There’s an amazing amount of earthworks that took place for this line to be constructed in what some people believe is a flat county. But, as Norfolk residents know, there are mountains and hills all over this area.
Looking over the bridge towards to Norwich, although we managed to miss the trains today so there are no photos of the new Greater Anglia fleet.
Here we are. A word of caution (I made have added jeopardy there, as it’s not really a problem to get this muddled up), the villages of Hoveton & Wroxham have effectively merged together, and the railway station is known as that, Hoveton & Wroxham (although that wasn’t the case before 1966, when it was just Wroxham). Roys of Wroxham is actually in Hoveton, along with most of the shops and food outlets.
This was the Castle Hotel, the only pub in Wroxham, but it closed in November 1996 and is now a residential property. There isn’t much more of a choice in Hoveton, with the really average Greene King King’s Head pub being the most obvious one.
They appear to have built Wroxham library on a floodplain (or where the river floods, I’m not sure of the geological term I’m supposed to use) but at least the stilts look sufficiently high to avoid damp books.
The footbridge over the River Bure, that’s Hoveton in the background.
This reminds me of days spent on Broads cruisers, although I found the driving the boat quite a hassle. I preferred the sitting down watching the scenery whilst eating sausage rolls.
The old stone bridge and there has been some structure here since the early medieval period such is the importance of this crossing. This is a challenging bridge to get under, and I think Heidi guided operations when we did this in a Broads cruiser, but accidents here aren’t rare. For anyone who fancies having a look at proceedings, here’s a YouTube video, although there have been much worse incidents here. It’s recommended to use the pilot service to get through here, to avoid any scraping issues.
And here’s another little video of what boating is like at Wroxham, involving an angry man from Broads Tours. I quite like this video.
We opted for chips at Greys in Hoveton and they were priced towards the higher end of the scale, but met my expectations in terms of the taste and temperature. More on this in another post though. At this point we had a quick meander around Wroxham, but it was rather packed with tourists and so we decided not to linger. We did though have time for a mini game of GeoGuessr and more on that in another post. Nathan saw someone he thought he knew, but it was all a bit vague (he claimed he hadn’t met him in person and only on Zoom, but I like to think there’s some gossip behind the whole situation), so I’m not counting that one in the tally at the top of the page.
This is St. Mary’s Church in Wroxham, unfortunately closed otherwise I could have seen the doorway which is apparently of considerable note. It’s a building rather marred by what I consider to be ugly additions, but its location near to the river gives it a peaceful feel. More on this Grade I listed (primarily for the doorway) church in another post, but it’s mainly fifteenth century although there are parts of the previous twelfth century church still in situ.
Trafford Mausoleum which is located in the churchyard of St. Mary’s Church and was constructed for the Trafford family who lived in Wroxham Hall, which has now been demolished. It was constructed in around 1830 and was designed by Anthony Salvin, also known for his work on restoring castles.
An interesting old property on Church Lane, which was once the heart of the medieval village but now feels a little more remote. It’s a really nice area of Wroxham, and there’s also a pleasant area by the river known as Caen Meadow. Nathan decided I was faffing about too much here taking photos, but I ignored those complaints because I couldn’t be bothered to walk any quicker.
Aaaaah, a lamb, how very lovely.
The walk was quite dry today, but there were areas of water to navigate.
The Taverham-Postwick Road as I’m now calling it, with lots of trees planted on the side of the bank. This was like a wind tunnel though walking alongside it, which wasn’t entirely ideal.
I’m not sure that I’ve been to Thorpe End Village, but it was nice to see the local LDWA treasurer here. As the name suggests there’s a village feel to this little settlement, which has rather now merged into the outskirts of Norwich.
And walking back into Norwich, this is the same path that Nathan took us down on a previous GeoGuessr evening walk. It was less muddy on this occasion and, fortunately, I had more suitable shoes on which made matters easier.
All told, this was another walk that went quickly and we didn’t encounter any medical issues on the expedition, which bodes rather well for the 100. The weather was quite balmy at lunchtime and we did debate getting an ice cream in Wroxham as a dessert for the chips, but the area was a bit busy and we thought it best to try and avoid people given the current health situation. So, another rather lovely day.