Sue Walker, The Ramblers
Thursday, March 29, 2012
This Horstead, Little Hautbois and Coltishall walk from Tony Smith starts from the site of Horstead Mill, which was built in 1789 and was one of the largest on the River Bure.
Start: Horstead Mill Car Park, Mill Road
Map: Explorer OL40 G/R 268193
Distance: 5.5 miles
Public transport: Horstead is on a regular bus route from Norwich
Timetables: 0871 2002233, travelineeastanglia.co.uk
There had been a mill here from Saxon times but, sadly, the last mill was gutted by fire in 1963. The ruins and the wheel channels still remain.
The route goes through Coltishall village, passing 13th century, thatched St John the Baptist Church, which has some good stained glass windows. It then proceeds into the picturesque hamlet of St James. After that the walk follows the Bure Valley Path alongside the narrow gauge railway line to Little Hautbois. The return leg is alongside the River Bure. There is much of interest to see from this walk.
Refreshments are available in both Horstead and Coltishall.
From Horstead Mill car park cross the millstream past some seats and turn left on the far side. Then cross over the bridge by the lock and, on the other side, turn left along the bank for a quarter of a mile keeping the river on the left. Just before reaching the road, turn right over a bridge. Then cross another bridge and turn right past the Salvation Army building. Cross the road and turn right along the pavement in Church Street passing Coltishall Church and the Red Lion public house. Then turn left into Chapel Lane. At the end of the lane, with a gate ahead, turn right into an enclosed bridleway that goes past some allotments. Continue on the path behind houses and then down the field edge to reach a lane at a corner.
Keep ahead along the lane through the hamlet of St James. Keep ahead past The Hill on the left. Then, immediately before the railway bridge, go up the steps on the left and turn left alongside the railway track. Follow the path for two miles, firstly going under three railway bridges and then passing Coltishall Station where the old Station House is now a residence. After going under another bridge, the hamlet of Great Hautbois with its pretty common and pond comes into view down to the left. There are some steps down to reach the commemorative bench if a break is required.
Continue along the path beside the railway track then, just before the next bridge, known as the Adam & Eve Bridge after the public house that once stood beside it, turn left up some steps by a Bure Valley notice board to reach a road at the end of a lay-by. Turn right along the road for just a few paces to the junction at Little Hautbois.
Turn left at the junction, looking out for the impressive Little Hautbois Hall, built in 1553, across the field on the right. After about 200m, and immediately before reaching a bridge with white railings, turn left across a small green area and through a ramblers’ gate into a signed path. Go across the meadow keeping the River Bure on the right. Cross a footbridge, then cross a second footbridge.
Go through another ramblers’ gate and continue into the trees ahead along the interesting riverside path for a mile and a half back towards Coltishall. Along the way, look out for the medieval ruins of St Theobald’s Church, with its tower and walls still intact, and then a private fishing lake, both over to the left. Later on, look out for All Saints’ Church, Horstead, across the river to the right and then the girl guides’ centre on the left. After crossing a small wooden footbridge, continue for a further 500m to reach the road in Coltishall.
Turn right and take the metal pedestrian footbridge (beside the road bridge) over the river. Then turn left (with care) across the busy main road and enter the path on the other side. Follow the path with the river now on the left for about a quarter of a mile back to Horstead Mill.
•This article was first published in January 2012.