December 7 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 23, 2013
Less than an hour from the city and coast, and with evocative landscapes of golden fields on its doorstep, south Norfolk is one of the county’s treasures.
Its wealth of medieval history can satisfy the hunger for adventure from the hardiest of explorers.
And with two airfields, the area is a hive of military memories.
Old Buckenham airfield, which was recently sold to local aviation enthusiast Geoffrey Lynch hosts the annual air show which attracted more than 5,000 people in June.
The former RAF base was built in 1942 for the United States Army Air Forces.
And just a few miles down the road is Tibenham airfield which is home to Norfolk Gilding Club. The airfield is also the venue for the annual runway run, which raises thousands of pounds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
The area also boasts air museums at Dickleburgh, Seething and Flixton.
South Norfolk is home to two of the most-loved family attractions with Banham Zoo and Bressingham Steam and Gardens.
The zoo, which welcomed its six millionth visitor this week, had double the reasons to celebrate this year when it saw the arrival of twin tiger cubs in June.
Zoo director Martin Goymour said: “I believe I am extremely lucky to live in Banham. We are halfway between Bury St Edmunds and the city of Norwich.
“There is a lot to do in the south and people have the zoo on their doorstep. We also have a touring caravan site and we are within close reach of the Broads.”
Mr Goymour also championed the area’s pubs and restaurants.
“Some are hidden away in nooks and crannies but the area is delightful to explore.
“The scenes of the countryside are just wonderful,” he added.
Bressingham Steam and Gardens near Diss has been the official home to the Dads Army Appreciation Society’s collection since 2000. The exhibition includes a recreation of Walmington-on-Sea, the fictional home of Captain Mainwaring and his men.
People can also meander around 20 acres of gardens or take a ride on one of the four railways.
Arguably one of the best ways to explore the south is by walking along the Boudicca Way, a long distance footpath which runs for approximately 36 miles between Diss and Norwich.
Named after the Queen of Iceni, the route encompasses quaint villages, wildlife and an abundance of floral delights.
But don’t just take our word for it – the path was listed among the world’s “Top 30 Travel Secrets” by Lonely Planet Traveller magazine earlier this year.
After securing a £50,000 grant in 2011, work was been carried out to improve the path, install new signposts, repair footbridges and raise the profile of the trail through a new brand and website.
And explorers who would rather discover the county by rail should look no further than the Mid Norfolk railway which takes people on a nostalgic trip from Dereham to Wymondham.
The disused railway line was restored in 1995 and runs steam locomotives to and from the market towns.
At 17.5 miles long, it is one of the longest preserved railways in the country. The line soaks in the views of rural mid-Norfolk and Wymondham Abbey.
In March, the Abbey, which welcomes 20,000 visitors through its doors each year, was given a £1.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The project aims to work with schools, colleges and businesses to welcome more people to the Abbey while developing tourism links and improving signs around the town.
Two new extensions – one within the ruined chapel – will create space for visitors, including families and schoolchildren, to learn about the Abbey’s history.
An archive of documents, dating back 700 years, will be conserved and some, including a 1613 King James Bible, will be restored.
Public access for organised groups will, for the first time, be permitted to the Abbey Meadows which is a county wildlife site.
Brimming with history and medieval architecture, south Norfolk is home to four market towns: Wymondham, Attleborough, Harleston and Diss.
Florence Ellis, South Norfolk Council’s cabinet member for tourism, said: “South Norfolk is the jewel of the county.
“We are proud of our market towns and the unique characteristics that get visitors coming back time and time again.
“South Norfolk Council is investing in the promotion of the district by bringing the attractions of its market towns and the Waveney Valley to thousands more people across the country.
“By teaming up with Visit Norwich, we are raising the profile of South Norfolk and boosting tourism businesses and jobs.
“The council is also introducing state-of-the-art touch screen tourism services to bring information for visitors into the 21st century and extending availability in the evening, at weekends and bank holidays.”
Bressingham Steam and Gardens
Old Buckenham Airfield
The Mid-Norfolk Railway
Wymondham Heritage Museum
Redwings Horse Sanctuary
Forncett Steam Museum
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