Norfolk Walk: Northrepps
PUBLISHED: 08:48 12 October 2012
This walk follows a circular route from Northrepps parish church going south-westward before curving back towards the coast and clipping the edge of the parish of Sidestrand.
Start: Parking area outside St.Mary the Virgin Church, Northrepps. (please read the sign and park accordingly).
Map: OS Explorer 252 G/R TG245391
Distance: 6 miles
Public Transport: Sanders Coach service 33 connects Northrepps with both Cromer and North Walsham.
Timetables: 0871 2002233, www.travelineeastanglia.co.uk
This walk from Malcolm Palmer and Susie Bloomfield follows a circular route from Northrepps parish church going south-westward before curving back towards the coast and clipping the edge of the parish of Sidestrand.
The countryside it crosses is undulating with pleasant views and good clear paths, and there is the added interest (according to one’s taste) of a busy little airfield.
The village sign dated 1977 depicts interesting aspects of Northrepps’ history including connections with the Henry Rolls car radiator design, the invention of the Gallas Plough and development of the Breeches Buoy.
The parish church of St Mary the Virgin has an impressive 90ft tower containing 8 bells, two of which date from the early 17th century. The exterior of the church speaks of the late middle ages, the interior more of the 19th century and, in the south aisle, there are several modern memorials to the Gurney family including that of a daring young SAS soldier killed in action behind enemy lines in France in 1944.
For refreshment Northrepps has a charming family-run Norfolk country pub, the Foundry Arms, which could be used as the base for this walk after suitable permission is sought and obtained.
■ Leave the churchyard through a gap in its west wall and follow a clearly marked footpath along the field edge with an overgrown disused pit on the right. After about 250m, at a T- junction of paths, turn left and go downhill, soon passing to the right of a large house and emerging in a lane. Go right for a few metres then follow the footpath fingerpost into a large field on the left and head diagonally over gently rising ground to the railway embankment just visible on the far side. At the time of the walk, the path was well-trodden through the crop.
■ Cross the railway (the Bittern Line) with care using the stiles and stairways provided. On the far side continue the line of the walk as indicated by way-mark signs. This section is wide and grassy between fields with the airfield coming into sight ahead. After a short distance a hedge begins and there is an arrow directing walkers along its left side. Over to the right, and running parallel, is the 615m long grass landing strip of Northrepps International Airport.
■ On arriving adjacent to the car park, and with the buildings of Winspurs Farm ahead, turn left at a way-mark sign. Then go right to skirt the sides of a small field and enter a restricted byway deeply rutted by farm vehicles. Turn left along this track for about 800m to meet a lane near Southrepps Hall. Turn left and follow the lane over the railway line and past Bridge Farm to reach a junction with another lane coming in from the right. At this junction, cross the road and follow the direction of a footpath sign across a few metres of rough ground to connect with the end of a narrow path between hedgerows.
■ Go left into this path which, although narrow, fortunately receives attention from the land owners or local users who are obviously active in keeping it passable. After a while the path descends and meets the Paston Way at a T- junction faced by a grove of trees. Turn left along the Way which, almost immediately, curves right and passes the front of a lovely Georgian former rectory to a shady lane in the vicinity of Frogshall.
■ Turn right, go round a bend and at another T-junction cross straight over to enter a clearly signposted public footpath rising between trees. For several hundred metres the footpath follows the left edge of dense woodland with occasional mouldering remains of fences and gates hinting at the presence once of a substantial estate at this spot. Eventually the path swings leftward away from the trees and meets a crossing path. In view just ahead is a grove of trees which surrounds a pond known locally as the ‘Shrieking Pond’ - supposedly haunted by the ghost of a local woman said to have drowned herself here in the 18th century.
■ Turn hard right along the crossing path and enjoy a broad grassy walk between thin hedgerows until the woods close in again from the right. Continue beside the trees for about 400m, and then stay on the track as it swings left and descends between banks towards the coast with occasional glimpses of the sea opening up ahead. At the end of this path, turn left along a lane up to a scatter of houses and a plant nursery at Hungry Hill. Then continue onwards along the lane into Northrepps, continuing ahead in the village and then round to the left back to the church.
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