Rambler: West Barsham & Waterden
Start: On the wide verge beside the B1105 at Barsham Oaks, 2 miles from Fakenham on the road towards Wells. Map: Explorer 251 G/R 899335. Distance: 5.
Start: On the wide verge beside the B1105 at Barsham Oaks, 2 miles from Fakenham on the road towards Wells.
Map: Explorer 251 G/R 899335.
Distance: 5.5 miles
Public Transport: West Barsham is not on a bus route.
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This pleasant walk from Ian Mitchell is mainly along well-hedged green tracks and lanes with wide ranging views over rolling countryside, and there are two interesting churches along the way.
West Barsham is a picturesque village with the small part-Saxon Church of the Assumption with some Saxon windows and perhaps also a door, which it is believed to have once connected with a central or sanctuary tower according to Pevsner. It stands beside a mowed green and is backed by the parkland of West Barsham Hall. The key to the church can be obtained from the hall along the road - the phone number can be found in the church porch.
Little is left of the village of Waterden, but All Saints is a charming small church with Norman doorways and a 14th century font, and it still has its boxed pews. Not much of the tower now remains but there is a wooden bell-turret.
t Proceed along the road towards Wells to reach the nearby road junction and turn right in the Barsham direction, and then immediately take the lane on the right signed to West Barsham Hall. At the end of a fine avenue, there are some houses, a large farm and the church around the left bend at West Barsham, and they make a charming picture. Continue along the lane, passing the impressive 20th century West Barsham Hall over to the right, to reach a T-junction.
t Turn right and, at the next junction, keep ahead past the lane on the right to East Barsham. For those coming by bus, alight at East Barsham Church and take the West Barsham road for a long half a mile, ignoring a left turn then, at the T-junction, turn right. After some 300m turn left into a track (Hand Lane). Follow this track west for almost a mile to reach the B1105 road with a large barn on the right.
t Cross the road into another track beside a house and follow it, gradually going downhill for over three-quarters of a mile, to reach a corner. Turn right and climb uphill to reach a minor lane opposite a farm entrance and lovely views over the valley at Waterden. This was never a large parish, but the site of its deserted village lies in the valley near the farm. Turn left down the lane for about three hundred metres to reach a mown grass path between fences on the right. This leads to the church of All Saints, Waterden. Although regular services are no longer held here, it is usually open.
t After visiting the church, it ought to be possible to leave the northwest corner of the churchyard to walk along a short footpath shown on the map in the adjacent field to reach the lane just past the Old Rectory. However, until the Norfolk County Council installs a bridge across the ditch, it is necessary to return back along the mown path to the lane and turn right, passing The Old Rectory, to reach a junction. Here there are two green lanes on the left.
t Take the first one sharp left with the electricity line along the hedge going slightly uphill. Follow this lane for nearly two miles. Then, soon after passing a house, turn left along a crossing lane to reach the junction near the beginning of the walk. Turn right back to the start.
t Walk collated by Sue Walker for Norfolk Area Ramblers' Association. For more information about the Ramblers' Association call 01508 538654 or visit: www.ramblers.org.uk