This walk was socially distanced….. And is the third walk in preparation for the 2021 LDWA 100. But isn’t an LDWA walk in itself, because these have all been suspended until the troubles are over.
WALK NUMBER: 3 (Norwich to Lingwood)
DISTANCE COVERED: 22 miles
NUMBER OF NATHAN’S FRIENDS WE “ACCIDENTALLY” BUMP INTO: 3
SUFFICIENT BEER CONSUMED: No
PUBS VISITED: 0
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Moderate
ATTACKED BY ANIMALS: No
NUMBER OF SNAKES SEEN: 0
It’s taken me over a day to be able to upload this due to some faffing about with moving servers, but here we are, the walk we completed on Saturday 23 May 2020. There’s a bit more history to this walk as nothing overly eventful happened, but hopefully enough to remain sufficiently readable. I’m going to struggle to ham this up enough to make it a rock n roll type story, and certainly we didn’t smash anything up on our travails, but I shall dredge what memories out that I can.
The walk started near to Rosary Cemetery, which is notable for being the first non-denominational graveyard in the UK.
It’s a beautiful setting, peaceful and quite expansive, with nearly 20,000 people buried here.
Lion Wood, some of which is ancient woodland. Nathan seemed to think that I got lost in this wood, but I was just looking at some of the trees which weren’t on the path.
What’s left of Pinebanks, formerly used by Norwich Union. I’m not sure that I’ve seen these buildings and grounds for the best part of 25 years, despite it being relatively near to where I live. Not sure what’s going on here, but there should be some redevelopment of the area over the next few years.
This route took us back onto the Yarmouth Road. Nothing exciting happened here.
The Buck in Thorpe St. Andrew, which was closed before the current situation and it’s had a difficult few years. It’s a seventeenth-century building, with numerous extensions and an internal layout that I find quite disjointed.
This is Thorpe St Andrew Parish Church and I’ll have to write more about this elsewhere, otherwise this is becoming a history blog post. In short, this is the tower of the abandoned church which is now the gateway to the new 1866 church structure which stands behind it.
We walked by here in the morning and it was already open, so we knew that we could get chips on the way back and we looked forwards to them throughout the day. More on this bloody debacle later though.
And another derelict building, this time the Griffin pub which had been licensed premises since the middle of the eighteenth century. Formerly also known as Griffin & Pleasure Gardens and the Hungry Fox, it also took the perhaps ridiculous name of Gunga Dins Old Colonial House between 1984 and 1986. It looks like the building will avoid being demolished and since it comes with a chunk of land, there might be a fair amount of redevelopment around here.
The name of a property on Griffin Lane.
I have some friends that might get a sticker such as this just to avoid social contact after the current crisis is over.
Just as we were wondering how we were supposed to join the Southern Bypass, these steps appeared. They were much steeper than they look in the photo and reminded me just how hilly Norfolk is.
Here’s the beautiful and peaceful site of what was once Postwick Grove.
This is marked red and white to stop cars driving down the pedestrian path. This worries me, as it’s likely some bloody idiot has tried it.
The thirteenth-century All Saints church at Postwick, which we would have missed if it wasn’t for the Komoot app sending us down here.
Back into countryside, there were numerous woodland areas on this section of the walk.
Brundall Gardens, our first of three railway stations in the day. More on this station in another post, but this was originally known as Brundall Gardens Halt and was opened in 1924 to serve the increasingly popular local lakes and gardens. The station was inserted onto the existing line, just a short distance from Brundall’s main intermodal hub (well, the local bus).
Into Brundall, it was time for lunch. The staff here have turned their shop into a slalom type affair, which is an Ikea style effort which means you have to walk along every aisle, so the four poor staff stacking shelves had every single customer go by them. Although this amused me when Nathan got trapped in an aisle with four staff on all sides. Anyway, the store’s attempt to force staff to meet every customer within 3 inches aside, the meal deal arrangement proved satisfactory and the staff seemed helpful and friendly.
The lunch-time meal deal. I use this photo partly because anything food-related gets uploaded, but also so I could whinge on about the poor quality of the pork pies. I think Nathan agreed with me when I mentioned the quality, although I suspect he lost interest when I commented on the subject a few more times. I like to have things to get annoyed at.
The Ram Inn. It was shut.
The train at Brundall railway station, which opened in 1844. I hope that Greater Anglia haven’t realised that there’s a lovely station building here, as otherwise they might want to rush over to knock it down to build a car park.
This is about as much sense as I’ve got out of Greater Anglia information team about how much of the Brandon railway station’s frontage they can save. Anyway, I digress and this was a cheap dig. Which is actually probably what Greater Anglia will be doing at Brandon with their bloody car park.
The Huntsman. It was shut.
Mr Motivation excited me by telling that he knew that this pub was open.
It was shut. Although, it was open if we’d have timed it differently, so we were nearly there…. It was at this point that I realised I had made a mistake not to carry a bag, which could have contained a couple of delicious beers.
Nathan knew this area well, as he worked around here and so he was able to tell me quite confidently that there was no path and only a narrow verge on this stretch of road. Anyway, we enjoyed walking along the path that was unbroken and you can see just how treacherously narrow the verges were in places. But, I didn’t say anything as it’s not worth causing any upset.
Whilst walking down this road there was a surprise. Nathan’s friend Ben appeared driving down the road as if by an amazing coincidence. Let’s be realistic, Nathan’s slipped him £5 to drive up and down for an hour for this magic meeting. Let’s remember Nathan “doesn’t know many people”, but frankly, it’d be easier to walk around with the Pope the amount of times we’re stopped on walks. But more on that later.
Strumpshaw church, more on this another time….
After we had got over the ‘shock’ of Nathan’s friend driving by, we were rewarded with this sign showing that it was just 1/4 mile into Lingwood.
One mile later we arrived into Lingwood.
It was shut.
The former Methodist chapel at Lingwood. Again, to avoid this quick walk report turning into a major epic, I’ll write about this another time.
The Lingwood & Strumpshaw reading rooms, more another time….
When we heard the gates come down I explained, using all my knowledge and experience of the railways, that it would definitely be the train going from Great Yarmouth to Norwich. So we looked out for it coming from the Great Yarmouth direction. Anyway, the Norwich to Great Yarmouth train then appeared from the Norwich direction. We swiftly moved on.
I can’t recall ever going to Lingwood, so this is a first for me, the delights and excitement of Lingwood railway station. I really can’t make that sound interesting, although there’s some heritage to the station building (not yet knocked down by Greater Anglia), which was opened in 1882 by the Great Eastern Railway and is now in use as a B&B. More on this in another post though.
Looking down the line towards Lingwood’s sole platform.
After taking in all that Lingwood had to offer, we meandered back a different way to Brundall, taking a more scenic countryside route from Lingwood. Although not until we bumped into the second person that Nathan knew.
This is the thirteenth century St Michael and All Angels in Brundall, although it was once the parish church of Braydeston, but that settlement was abandoned in the medieval period.
After we had left the church, the next friend that Nathan had phoned up to make up an appearance came randomly cycling along with his family. With a conversation that was skilfully scripted to ensure that I could gather how competent Nathan was at his previous job, I pretended that I didn’t think this was another rigged effort.
Hmmmmm. We bravely went into the field full of danger, but we didn’t see the bull.
Back in Brundall, this is a glorious building and it dates back to the seventeenth century, now sadly lost as a pub, but it was the Old Beams and before that the White Horse.
A quick snack from the town’s other Co-op on the way back.
Free books outside a charity shop. I’d add it said that they were free, I hadn’t just assumed that, but I decided against carrying anything back.
As mentioned earlier, we had been looking forwards to chips, and in my case, sausage & chips, since we walked past this fish & chip shop, the Thorpe Fish Bar, earlier on in the day. So, I stroll in after nearly walking in the exit door, and checked if they accepted cards. Which they didn’t. Now, this situation just very slightly annoyed me. I spent 5 weeks in Poland earlier in the year and every single shop, bar, restaurant, hotel and newsagent accepted cards. But here we are in the customer service driven UK and a few outlets here stick rigidly to cash. This wouldn’t matter, but the pair of us walking professionals had one credit card and one debit card between us. But, anyway, that’s their choice and they did tell us that there was a cash machine at Sainsbury’s which was nearby. The service was incidentally excellent and friendly, so I was quite impressed by that.
So, Nathan very kindly offered to run to Sainsbury’s. I had already upped my order to jumbo sausage and chips in anticipation and I noticed Nathan meandering slowly over to the ATM without much running involved if I’m being honest. Given he’s told me that he’s the park run king, I had expected a little more eagerness. Then he messages me about half an hour later saying that the ATM is out of order. Since neither of us carried cash, this proved to be a disaster. I was a little disappointed that this could have potentially been a regular new source of fish and chips for me, but I’ll never know now. I seem destined to always eat at the wonderful Grosvenor fish and chip shop in the city centre. Some things are just destined to be though and this is fine, as the Grosvenor has delectable and succulent delights that I haven’t tired of for over twenty years.
That meant we had to walk the last miles back hungry. Other than Nathan mentioned a couple of times (9 times I think) that his wife would be putting a pizza in the oven that would be waiting cooked when he got back. So, I popped into Aldi and managed to buy some half-price rice pudding. Really living the culinary dream there….
And, that was that, the walk ended after 22 miles (it’s a bit shorter on the Runkeeper file as we did a bit before I turned it on, and some after I turned it off) and there were no injuries. This training programme is definitely flying along. And for anyone wondering, Nathan said his meat feast pizza was delicious. As indeed was my rice pudding.