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North Walsham 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.

On leaving the station, turn left along the main road, passing the HP factory on the left. Stay on this road until you reach the two water towers, and Stump Cross which commemorates the battle in the Peasants' Revolt in 1381. Take the waymarked footpath to the right along a short track which then opens out across fields.

Stay on this path until the end of the field. The path then does a zig-zag right then left and continues between two further fields on the left hand side of a hedge. At the end of this it reaches a track. The field directly in front of you is the field where the battle took place in 1381. Turn right.

The track ends and turns into a narrow footpath. It goes in between two fields. When it reaches the corner follow it to the right then left, heading towards the edge of Lord Anson's wood. The path then follows the edge of the wood. There is then a junction of footpaths - one strikes out across the fields, but your way lies to the left, still following the edge of the wood.

When you reach the road, cross over and carry on down the no through road. Before the railway bridge, turn left, climbing up the embankment. If you want to head back to North Walsham then turn right. But if you want to continue with the walk turn left along this disused railway line which is Weavers' Way. The track crosses two bridges and then comes into the former station of Felmingham. It then goes into Felmingham Cutting Nature Reserve. It is worth exploring the length of this unique nature reserve.

But our way leaves the cutting about half way along. You are looking for a path to the right - climbing out of the cutting (It is easier to spot the path by looking on the left hand side where you can see the waymarker post). Please make sure you use the path as the sides of the cutting are very sandy and are easily eroded if you scramble up them.

Climb out to the right, over the stile and across the field towards Felmingham Church. Cross the road and take the footpath straight across the next field, heading towards the corner of a hedge. Keep the hedge to your left, and carry on to the end of the field. The path then cuts back towards a gap in the fence between a line of bungalows. Take the narrow path through these into the residential close. Leave the close straight ahead and at the t-junction turn left towards the church.

Passing the church on your right, head for the t-junction in the centre of the village but be cautious of the traffic. Take the footpath off to the right along the edge of a field, pausing to look back at the church again. From this angle you can see the evidence on the tower that the church once had a larger nave. When you reach the end of the path, turn left onto a track. Then turn right following the sign down another track. This then narrows to a path which heads through Bryant's Heath. Just into this slightly wooded area take the left fork which is waymarked on a tree. Keep following the waymarkers - there are a number of informal paths criss-crossing the heath - you need to keep to the main path. Where the path passes a large hollow on the right your route is waymarked to the left towards a track which is visible from this point. When you reach the track turn right and follow this until the end of the heath. When the track ends, go into the right hand field. The path is waymarked and follows the edge of this field.

At the boundary with the next field, the path is way marked straight ahead, roughly in line with North Walsham church tower. At the next field boundary, the path heads towards a set of farm buildings and the bowls club. It comes out on a road. Turn right onto the road and walk down this road until you see the sign for Weavers' Way on the left through a gate. Follow this until it comes out on a road. Turn right and stay on this road. (Station Road) keeping left at the fork, past the playing field. This road reaches a t-junction. Turn left towards the railway bridge - the railway station is on the right.

Points of Interest

1. Stump Cross

As you will see from the inscription, this stone supposedly dates from, and marks the site of, a battle in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. This latter - day poll tax revolt took place when the poll tax was put up from 4d per adult to one shilling - the equivalent of about 2 weeks wages. The uprisings were not just confined to this area but took place spontaneously across the country. More than 100,000 people marched to London, pillaging the great houses along the way.

2. Felmingham Cutting

This is a magical nature reserve nestling in the cutting of a stretch of the former Midland and Great Northern Railway. When the line closed in 1959 the verges and the track bed gradually became colonised by a wide range of plants and trees. This has meant that it has become attractive habitat for wildlife, and especially for butterflies. A total of 16 different species have been recorded in the cutting so far, including the Small Copper and Common Blue - both fairly uncommon - and the migrant Red Admiral and Painted Lady. The cutting is managed by the British Butterfly Conservation Society for Norfolk County Council.

3. Paston Family

A family with a close association with North Walsham is the Paston family who started as humble squires at the village which bears their name, but became one of the dominant county families for more than 200 years.

The great medieval thatched barn which is still standing at Paston is a testament to the riches they drew from the land.

A descendant of the family, Sir William Paston is buried in North Walsham church. It was he who founded Paston Grammar School in 1606, the school Horatio Nelson attended from the age of ten.

4. Weavers' Way

The Weavers' Way is a 56-mile long distance walk, developed by Norfolk County Council, to take in many of the towns, villages and landscapes which were once at the heart of the county's flourishing wool and weaving trade.

A leaflet for this walk is available from most Tourist Information Centres or Norfolk County Council's Countryside Unit.

5. North Walsham Amenity Society

The Amenity Society has produced the following publications: 'North Walsham - a walk through the town', 'Cycle rides around North Walsham' and Walks in the North Walsham area'.

These publications can be obtained from local outlets in the town.