Norfolk Walk: Burton & Shimpling

This walk goes through the two villages of Burston and Shimpling along country lanes, tracks and footpaths and, for part of the way, along Boudica's Way, a long distance footpath that runs between Diss and Norwich.


Start: Burston Strike School

Map: Explorer 230 G/R137832

Distance: 6 miles

Public Transport: Simonds Buses Service No 1, run from Norwich to Diss via Burston.

Timetables: 0871 2002233,

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This walk from Sue Aldis goes through the two villages of Burston and Shimpling along country lanes, tracks and footpaths and, for part of the way, along Boudica's Way, a long distance footpath that runs between Diss and Norwich.

The Burston strike (1914-1939) has been well documented. Local schoolteachers, Tom and Annie Higden, came into conflict with the school authorities over the conditions the children had to endure and were sacked from their posts.

The children protested and the Higdens set up their own school paid for by Trade Union subscriptions from all over the country. The school is now a museum, but the strike is remembered by a Trade Union rally on the green every September.

The Higdons are buried at St Mary's Church next to the green. The tower of the church fell down in the 18th century, but the village was too poor to rebuild it.

A windmill built in 1850 once stood on the site of the modern mill but burnt down in 1946. St George's Church, Shimpling, is now redundant.

Started in the 12th century with later additions and a lead spire added in 1863, the setting is superb, along a cart track leading up from a farm.

Shimpling Place is a large 16th century timber framed building with one of five medieval moats which can be found around the two villages.

Refreshments can be obtained at The Crown public house in Burston.

? From the Strike School walk across the green and turn right along the road. Then turn right along a grassy track (Green Lane) opposite Market Lane. Ignore footpaths to the left and right. Just past the chicken enclosure turn right along a lane (Common Road) heading towards the BOCM mill site. Turn left along Mill Road and walk past the mill buildings. At a finger post by a small green, turn right along a footpath next to a row of pines. Carry on along this tree-lined path crossing a plank bridge and through a small wood. Keep ahead across the grassland and through the trees.

? Cross the bridge and follow the path over the field to reach a road (Gissing Road). Cross the road and walk along the path opposite keeping close to the hedgerow on the right. Follow the field edge path to a marker post at the corner of a wood. Pass the wood on the left, cross a bridge and follow the path over the field to the ornate railway bridge. Go over the bridge and keep ahead on the track to a marker post just past the electricity lines. Turn right and walk across the field to a track by Shimpling Place.

? Turn right along this track to the road (Station Road). Turn left along the road. Then, at the right bend, keep left long a track next to Lingwood House. At a junction of paths, turn right and join Boudica's Way. Walk along the lane (Hall Lane), passing pretty cottages, to the road. Cross the road and walk straight ahead along the concrete drive opposite towards Shimpling Hall Farm. Before reaching the farm, where the drive bends right, carry on straight ahead along a wide grassy drive to Shimpling Church.

? Follow the path along the field edge passing the church on the left to a bridge over a stream. Continue along the path as it goes across the next two fields to reach a road (Broad Way). Turn right along the road for a few metres and then turn right along a track (leaving Boudica's Way). Follow the track round to the right and keep ahead until just after a left bend. Cross a bridge on the right and turn left through some marshy woodland keeping the stream on the left for the time being. Keep ahead over a plank bridge and a stile by an old fallen tree.

? Walk leftwards to a marker post in the hedgerow and cross the bridge and stiles and turn right along the field edge path. At the corner of the field, ignore the stile and turn left along the meadow keeping the hedgerow on the right. Ignore footpath signs and bridges to the right as the field has been ploughed right up to the ditch thus making it impossible to walk safely. Instead, keep ahead along two field edges to some wooden gates where the path becomes a track which leads to the road (Audley End).

? Turn left and almost immediately go right at a finger post along a field edge path keeping the hedgerow on the right. Walk under the electricity wires and turn right at the corner of the field along a narrow barbed wire fenced footpath. Go over the stile and cross the railway line. Turn right around the field edge. At the single oak tree by a marker post turn left along a grassy path, ignoring a path to the right.

? At the corner of the field bear right through a wood, cross a bridge, then cross the meadow diagonally to the right and climb the broken stile by a gate and on to the road (Durbridge's Hill). Turn right along the road, ignoring a path to the right. Go past Wolsey Farm and, just before Hillside, turn right at a grassy area and walk along a field edge path which eventually becomes Market Lane. Carry on to the road and turn right back to the village green and The Strike School.


The Ramblers is Britain's walking charity which has been working to encourage more people to take up walking and to safeguard footpaths and the countryside for 75 years.

Whether you're an old hand or a complete beginner, the organisation can help you get the best out of walking through its network of local groups.

The Norwich Group has been established for more than 35 years and was the first group in the Norfolk Area of the Ramblers Association. Non-members are welcome to join all walks in national festivals and some special events and programmes. Most regular walks are intended for Ramblers members, but you are welcome to attend two or three walks on a try-out basis.

t For more information about the Ramblers' Association call 01508 538654 or visit:


This year the Ramblers are arranging four guided, linear walks along Boudica's Way, named after the Queen of the Iceni tribe, who led a rebellion against Roman rule.

The Way was created in the 1990s by South Norfolk Council, then transferred to Norfolk County Council, but in recent years had lacked maintenance and become difficult to follow. In 2010 The Boudica's Way Project, a voluntary community and small business led project, was formed to encourage greater access to this relatively unknown, unspoilt part of the Norfolk countryside.

Both Ramblers and non-members can join the walks from Diss to Whitlingham Park. The four Sunday walks take place on May 13, June 10, July 8 and August 12. On each day the full walk will be between nine and 11 miles but there will also be a shorter one of between five and six miles. There is return coach transport from Great Yarmouth and Norwich (advance booking is required).

Alternatively you can use your own transport to the start at Shelfhanger Road Car Park, Diss, and return transport will be available from the end of the walk.

? For full details call Peter James on 01603 478486 or visit: