Norfolk Walk: Santon and Two Mile Bottom

This walk, produced to coincide with Ramblers' Walk-in-the-Woods Week, is a figure-of-eight walk and so can be split into two separate, shorter walks if required.


Start: St Helen's car park and picnic site, Santon (signed off the lane between Santon Downham village and the level crossing)

Map: Explorer 229 G/R TL 826874

Distance: 7 miles (or 4.5 or 2.5 miles)

Public Transport: Santon Downham village can be reached by bus from Thetford

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Timetables: 0871 2002233,

This walk, produced to coincide with Ramblers' Walk-in-the-Woods Week, is a figure-of-eight walk and so can be split into two separate, shorter walks if required.

The walk starts at the picturesque St Helen's picnic site in the Thetford Forest, near Santon House and the tiny 17th century All Saints Church in the Little Ouse Valley. Though redundant for some years, this church is beautifully cared for and is a 'must' to visit: the little booklet there is most informative.

Not far away on the walk there is a very good explanation notice board at the site of St Helen's Oratory, a Saxon chapel that was mentioned in the Doomsday Book. There was also a flint pit nearby. This area was cultivated in Roman times, long before the Forestry Commission took over.

The walk uses parts of three long distance paths, the Little Ouse Path, the St Edmund Way and Hereward Way, as it wanders either side of the river. It also visits Santon Downham and St Mary's Church. There were no refreshment opportunities on the route apart from the Post Office and shop in Santon Downham.

For The Long And Medium Walks

t From the car park, go along the lane towards the church. Then take the metalled path on the left at the end of the car park. When the path bends left go right past a wooden post and then between short posts on a grassy path. Follow the path left under the railway bridge past Railway Cottages to a crossing path and turn right. Continue along the track (on the St. Edmund Way and Hereward Way paths). After a while there is an interesting notice board on the right about the site of St Helen's Oratory church and the flint pit. Continue along the track, ignoring a grassy track on the right, to reach a main road (A134).

t Turn right along the verge. Then turn right into a wide signed track (St Edmund Way). Ignore the track with a barrier across on the right and take the left-hand track through a barrier with notices on either side about no admittance to unauthorized vehicles. Go under the railway bridge and, on reaching the Little Ouse River at a landing stage, go right. Continue along the footpath past a way-marker, now following the Little Ouse Path towards Brandon.

t Cross the bridge and go over a fen area on a good path, then uphill into the forest on a wide open path. At a signed wide crossing path turn right. Then, at a marker on the right and a notice board about bats, turn left into narrow path between the trees. On reaching a crossing track, with a meadow ahead, go left and follow the markers on a track round the meadow.

t At another crossing track with way-marker and a Wildlife Trust Reserve notice turn right. At the next crossing track, that goes to Little Lodge Farm, cross into the footpath opposite. Then at the next crossing track follow the marker left. Continue for about three-quarters of a mile past a forest number 17 marker and a way-marker to a track on the right, now signed St Edmund Way. Turn right and go between the meadows to a footbridge. Cross the footbridge over the river. For the medium walk return to the picnic site to finish the walk.

To Continue The Long Walk And For The Short Walk

t From the bridge over the Little Ouse River follow the metalled footpath towards the church with the river on the right. Then cross the lane into the metalled path opposite and, when it turns left, go right onto a grassy path beside a wooden post and between short posts. Bend left under the railway line to a track and turn left. Follow this wide open track for about three-quarters of a mile through two gates to reach a lane.

t Turn left and go over the level crossing. Go past the lane leading to St Helen's car park and the Santon Downham sign, then cross the bridge over the Little Ouse River. Continue along the lane soon passing a car park, public conveniences and the post office on the right. Go past Bridge House following the Little Ouse Path again.

t At the junction opposite St Mary's Church keep left uphill to a marker post and a forestry number 17 marker, and go left onto a wide track past a barrier. Continue for just under half a mile and, just past a signed footpath on the right, turn left into the track signed St. Edmund Way between meadows. Go over the footbridge to cross the river and return to the car park.

Join The Ramblers

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: