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Gunton Walk

Directions

Stout walking shoes are advisable, a pair of binoculars would also be useful. Some of this walk includes country roads. Please be careful of traffic when walking on roads.

Leave the station platform via the car park which leads onto a road. Turn right along the road and then take the first left towards Upper Street.

This road dips down between two rough meadows, and reaches a t-junction. Cross straight over, climb over the stile and follow the waymarked footpath which goes between some houses before coming out on the edge of two vast fields. Stay on this path, which gives some clear, open views across the countryside, heading towards the majestic sight of St Jame's church, Southrepps.

At the end of the field, the path continues straight into a wooded area, passing the bowls club and the playing field on the left, a children's play area on the right. The path turns to a track and leads into the village. When you reach the road, if you want to take a short detour to the beautiful church which dominates much of the skyline on this walk, then cross straight over into Church Street and walk to the church. If you visit the church, return to this junction and turn left.

If you do not want to visit the church, then turn right on the road signposted towards Gimmingham and Mundesley.

This road takes you out of the village of Southrepps and also takes you slightly up an incline to give some wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Stay on this road, passing the Stump Cross next to the first turning on the right (do not take this turning), continue a little further until you reach two right hand turnings next to each other. Take the second turning which leaves the road at a slight angle, and is signposted to Trunch.

This road rises slightly again. In front lies St Botolph's church, Trunch and behind lies St James's church. When you reach a set of farm buildings (Holly Farm), take the waymarked bridleway to the right. The track ends when it hits another track. Turn right and stay on this track as it bends round to the left (ignore the footpath off at an angle) and passes in front of a house on the right, and Warren's Barn on the left.

The path then goes into a slight gully and comes to a stile on the edge of The Warren. Follow the tracks through this wood which are signposted with yellow discs. It takes you to the other side of the wood, ending when it joins a minor road. Turn right and walk on this road for about 100 metres before turning left onto a boarded walkway which takes you through Southrepps Common Nature Reserve.

The boardwalk weaves through this lovely enclosed fen site, looping round in a big circle. Do not turn off this boardwalk but stay on it until it runs into a small car park. Turn left onto the road, and then after about 20 metres turn right onto another section of the boardwalk. This then turns into a narrow path which emerges on a small green area with a set of swings.

Turn right, and take the waymarked footpath which lies straight ahead and goes off parallel with the road. This path takes you through a shady area, with trees on either side and emerges at a road. Turn left and then right at the t-junction. The railway station and your starting point is about 300 metres on the left.

Points of Interest

1. Trunch Team Churches

There is an old rhyme which goes: Gimingham, Trimmingham, Knapton, Trunch, Northrepps, Southrepps, lie all in a bunch.

Today, there is still a 'bunch' of churches, loosely based on this old rhyme which in turn reflected an old Soke or administrative unit, older by far than the Norman Conquest.

Today the Trunch team has been widened and now includes ten churches which all illustrate the richness of history and celebrate the achievements of human life and ingenuity down the centuries. Several of the churches can be glimpsed from this walk, and Southrepps can be easily visited from the route.

The team is made up of Gimmingham, Mundesley, Southrepps, Thorpe Market, Bradfield, Antingham, Swafield, Knapton, Paston and Trunch.

All these churches have something quite remarkable and unique about them. Consider for example this - in Antingham, where two churches stand in one churchyard, no-one is quite sure why, there is a pre-Raphaelite design painted on the glass of the south chancel window. It was made in 1868 by William Morris and Co., whose popularity has enjoyed a revival of late. It shows Mary and Martha on either side of the Virgin Mary. Mary was designed by William Morris, the Virgin Mary by Burne-Jones and Martha by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Trunch Church - with its spectacular 95ft tower visible from miles around - has a particularly special oak font canopy - one of only four of its kind in England. If you visit Knapton church do not neglect to look up to see the stunning hammer-beam roof.

2. Flint

Like many parts of north Norfolk, the building material which dominates the most beautiful small homes in and around Southrepps is flint. There is thought to have been a great period of re-building in Norfolk in the 17th and 18th centuries. Farming was expanding, the great houses and great estates were being laid out and rising standards of living gave the confidence to re-build on a large scale. Thousands of bricks were hand made in Norfolk during this period, but the other favoured and plentiful material was flint and other rounded pebbles or cobbles. These were gathered on Norfolk beaches and carted overland. Their chalky, silvery colours combine beautifully with the dark red of pantiles and brick to give a gently harmonious appearance, so characteristic of this part of the county.

3. Southrepps Nature Reserve

This nature reserve covers about 12 hectares bringing together a variety of habitats including woodland, reedbeds, and grassland, each supporting its own specialist community of plants and insects.

Follow the network of boardwalks criss-crossing the reserve and you can weave through the reedbeds with their shoulder-high reeds, butterflies and dragonflies, through the damp grasslands with Orchids, Bogbean and the delicate grass of Parnassus.

The area was once part of a large tract of heath and grassland in the upper reaches of the Bure and Ant river valleys. Most of this area would have been lost during the enclosures of the late 18th century, although a small area of common land would have been retained to provide a source of fuel for the poor of the parish, and for grazing livestock.

Mill Common gets its name from the two post mills which were once nearby.