Norfolk Walk: Mettingham
PUBLISHED: 09:13 07 December 2012
This walk, along quiet lanes, ancient tracks and grassy footpaths, passes isolated farms and cottages through a rural area just south-east of Bungay.
Start: Large lay-by on the B1062 just east of Mettingham Church
Map: Explorer OL40 & 231 G/R TM364901
Distance: 6 miles
Public Transport: There is no bus service to Mettingham
Timetables: 0871 2002233, www.travelineeastanglia.co.uk
This walk, along quiet lanes, ancient tracks and grassy footpaths, passes isolated farms and cottages through a rural area just south-east of Bungay. It also uses two short sections of the Angles Way long distance footpath.
Mettingham Castle was originally a manor house, the home of Sir John De Norwich, who was an admiral under Edward III. In 1342 he was given permission to convert his house into a fortified castle as a reward for his services. In 1390 the castle was taken over by a college for priests.
Recently English Heritage has helped to save the impressive gatehouse and the fragments of wall that remain.
■ St John the Baptist church at Ilketshall St John has a 14th century tower but the rest of the church was mostly renovated in the 19th century. The stonework for the east window was the gift of a young Prince Edward, later Edward VII, who stayed in the rectory as a guest of the Rev. F.Tarver, who had been his tutor.
Refreshments can be obtained from the Tally Ho tearooms (open daily except Mondays).
■ From the lay-by (marked on the OL40 map with a telephone box sign), walk along the road (B1062) downhill in a westerly direction for 200m passing the church and the tea rooms to a junction. Turn left along Rectory Lane and pass the village hall on the left. Keep along the road for about a quarter of a mile then at a marker post turn left onto a tree lined footpath (part of the Angles Way). Follow this lovely path to a road. Turn right and walk past the gatehouse to Mettingham Castle on the left.
■ Turn left at the junction and go left again at the next junction. Then turn right at a marker post by Castle Cottages onto a narrow path alongside the garden hedge. Shortly, this path widens out into a rather muddy track. This is Scotchman’s Lane which originally led into the castle. The track descends gently downhill and eventually the surface becomes grassy. At the bottom of the hill, at a junction of paths, turn left along a grassy, tree-lined footpath. Follow this path until it reaches the main road (A144).
■ Cross the road and turn left. Carefully walk alongside this busy road for about 200m to a junction on a bend. Turn right along Englishes Lane. Going uphill, keep on the road passing Hill Farm on the right and then continue downhill as far as Hill Farm Cottage. Immediately past this cottage, and opposite a group of poplar trees, turn left along the field edge. There is no finger post here and the path, which meanders with a wide ditch on the left, is not easily distinguishable. The path eventually reaches the main road (A144) again. Cross the road, walk over the wide grassy verge and cross a lane to reach the little church of St John the Baptist, Ilketshall St John.
■ After visiting the church turn left along a lane signposted to Ilketshall St Andrew, passing the lovely old Rectory (now called St John’s House). After about half a mile, turn left at the junction by Manor Cottages. Continue along the lane past Manor Farm (behind which is the site of a Motte and Bailey castle). The lane goes gently uphill. At the sharp left bend turn right along a track (another section of The Angles Way). The track bends left then right. Then, at a marker post, turn left (leaving The Angles Way). Walk across a large exposed field. Keep ahead for a short distance along the field edge with the hedgerow on the right.
■ Turn left at the corner of the field. Then go right over an earth bridge and follow the path through a rough grassy area keeping near the hedgerow on the right. At the corner of this area go right through the hedgerow and keep ahead eventually going downhill. At the bottom corner the path bears left by a large oak tree and goes back uphill.
■ At the top of the hill follow the path across another exposed field to reach a marker post by a ditch and onto a grassy path. Keep ahead along the path and onto a mossy drive by Mettingham Hall. Go through a wooden gate and turn right down the drive to reach the road. Turn left along the road (B1062), walking on the wide grass verge, to return to the lay-by and the start of the walk
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.
■ For more information about the Ramblers’ Association call 01508 538654 or visit: www.ramblers.org.uk