This was our ninth walk in preparation for the 2021 LDWA 100.
WALK NUMBER: 9 (Finding the Source of the River Yare Part 1)
DISTANCE COVERED: 14.7 miles
NUMBER OF NATHAN’S FRIENDS WE “ACCIDENTALLY” BUMP INTO: 1 (might have been someone I knew)
SUFFICIENT BEER CONSUMED: No (all the pubs are shut)
PUBS VISITED: 0 (not through choice)
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Dry
ATTACKED BY ANIMALS: No
NUMBER OF SNAKES SEEN: 0
Above is a photo of the railway lines in Norwich. I had tried to get a photo of a train in, but the bloody thing moved too quickly. I don’t think a career in photography is really for me, unless I specialise in taking photos of train lines.
Anyway, an explanation of our plan. A couple of weeks ago we started our walk to find the source of the River Wensum. The lockdown means that we can’t use public transport or really walk that far from Norwich, so later parts of that expedition (I say expedition as we’ll likely make it one, everyone else would call it a walk) are for the future. Today, we decided to start a similar project to follow the route of the River Yare to its source somewhere near Dereham.
I’ve split the walk from today into two parts, mainly to increase the suspense of the whole thing for anyone reading. As a spoiler, don’t get too excited for part two. Nathan refused to investigate a seemingly mystical water feature which was bubbling (I thought if he put his head in it then he might find a solution to the problem) and neither of us fell over. We did have a couple of incidents in Waitrose (including a moderately embarrassing navigational error), but that might be as exciting as the second part gets. Anyway, let’s focus on the first part of today for now.
For anyone wanting to follow along, we started walking along the river just past Redwell Brewing’s Taproom.
It was a frosty morning and this is the Yare near to where Bev lives (not that near, I don’t want to encourage sightseers to her property) which is in a rather decadent part of Norwich. If anyone does want to know where Bev lives, she’s got a reputation in the village, so just knock on a random door and ask.
This stretch of the River Yare is by Mill House, at Trowse Millgate.
I took a lot of photos today of river scenes, probably too many if I’m being completely honest. Here are some of the frosty ground as I thought that it might look a little mystical. Our policy for the day was to stick as near to the river where we could, although in places that was obviously impossible. We don’t try and stick by the river if there’s a chance of falling into it or being arrested for trespass.
The river splits before Old Lakenham, the River Tas goes off south and the Yare cuts through the village. Above is Mill House on Mansfield Lane in Old Lakenham.
The Cock pub is still abandoned and there have clearly been intrusions inside, so I wonder whether the building can ever re-open as a licensed premises.
This was a stretch of the river where we struggled to stay near to, as buildings in Lakenham are built to the river’s frontage. We went down Sandy Lane and Cooper Lane to try and see a bit of river, but we were conscious that a railway line meant we’d have to backtrack.
We didn’t expect such a long stretch of boardwalk, which was slightly worn in places, but it is clearly still being repaired. Breaking the ice never loses its appeal, probably the sign of a feeble mind or something, but there we go. I presented some rather fascinating bits of ice to Nathan, who carried them about for a bit before throwing them away. We discovered some interesting mini piers that jutted out into the River Yare, and pretended that one was Great Yarmouth Pier. It was a little pathetic, but imagination is the key as they always say.
This stretch took us from Asda (well, the Greggs next to Asda) and down Hall Road. It’s evident from the above map how far we strayed from the river at this point.
Nathan’s doing his vegan thing so he made do with a vegan sausage roll and a vegan steak bake. I went for a chicken bake with chicken, as it seemed wrong to pass by Greggs and not to quickly pop in. Service was quick, the food was delicious and the chicken bake was hot. All rather lovely.
The route of Hall Road has changed slightly as the railway bridge can’t support the volume of traffic that today is rushing hurriedly towards Greggs. So, they changed that bit of the road to be called “Old Hall Road”. Clever thinking…..
This photo was taken from the Ipswich Road, near to the Marsh Harrier pub. It looks scenic, but behind me was a road that seemed to have more cars on than the M25. I exaggerate slightly, but this wasn’t quite the rural idyll it might appear.
I like the language used here. “If the cows become a bit lively”…. By this, they mean the bloody things are charging towards you at some considerable pace. Fortunately, the cows were hibernating so they didn’t cause us a problem.
These photos are all of Marston Marsh and some of the paths here were inaccessible, so we got pushed back from the river a little in places.
Good job that Clive wasn’t here. He’s still annoyed at the swan that knocked him out of a canoe about five years ago and that story still lives on in Hike Norfolk. Not least because people keep writing about it.
Marston Marsh is a floodplain that covers 26 hectares, which is also used as grazing land in the summer.
I had a look at what the city council said about this site, which included:
“Also included in the site are some small areas of damp woodland.”
I can confirm that there were small areas of damp woodland. Indeed, there were large areas of damp everything.
“There are five wildlife ponds.”
To be honest, there was one big huge pond.
“Species of interest include: water voles, otters (probable), orchids, as well as general good marsh flora, dragonflies. Geese use site in winter and a snipe was also recorded this winter.”
And what you can expect to see….. Nathan has found some binoculars at his house, but forgot to bring them. I don’t know what he was expecting to see through them anyway other than a flood. There were some people looking like they were bird spotters and although that’s an admirable interest no doubt, it’s not one which overly intrigues me. Unless they’re penguins or something in the marshes, that would have attracted my interest. Anyway, I digress. I’m still pondering what this “probable otter” is, he sounds challenging.
Here comes Bear Grylls.
Nathan lifted his arms up so they didn’t get wet in the water. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t want to sound judgemental. The observant reader will note how moist the whole area was.
Anyway, on this bombshell, I shall save the second half of the walk for another post.