Norfolk Walk: Old Beetley and Bittering
PUBLISHED: 08:40 10 April 2012
This is a pleasant walk along very quiet lanes, good tracks and paths with rolling views. The walk goes past the interesting buildings at Rawhall, where the barns are used for the Woad Centre.
OLD BEETLEY AND BITTERING
Start: Beetley Village Hall, High House Road, Beetley (off B1146), north of Dereham
Map: Explorer 238 G/R 970178. Distance: 7.25 miles
Public Transport: Not on a convenient bus route from Norwich
Timetables: 0871 2002233, travelineeastanglia.co.uk
This is a pleasant walk along very quiet lanes, good tracks and paths with rolling views. St Mary Magdalene Church, Old Beetley, is keep locked (but there are key holders’ numbers; so come back later and explore it).
The walk goes past the interesting buildings at Rawhall, where the barns are used for the Woad Centre.
Woad is the most important natural dye used from the Neolithic to the present time and is grown in the area. It is open from May until Christmas, Thursday to Saturday.
At Bittering, on the north side of the Rawhall Lane, are the earthworks of Little Bittering (or Bittering Parva), a deserted village which was strung along the bank of a small stream.
There is a notice board explaining the layout and a gate to allow closer inspection. There no refreshment opportunities on the route.
■ From the village hall go east (away from the B1146) along High House Road, passing some houses on the left, for about three hundred metres, then turn left into a signed footpath across a field. At the end of the field, at a junction of lanes, go ahead into the lane (Church Road) opposite. Continue past some houses and then turn right through a gate into the churchyard. Keeping to the right-hand side of the church, turn right in front of the porch and then left on a wide path to the back of the churchyard. Go through a gap and out to a field.
■ Take the left-hand path diagonally left across the field. Continue ahead in the next field on a clear path towards some dwellings. On reaching a lane, turn left past Greenfields and, just after the lane bends left with a pond on the left and Beetley Hall on the right, follow the hall’s flint wall to the right onto a grassy track (Fisher’s Lane). Continue along this pleasant track and bear right at a crossing track. Follow the track for nearly a mile, ignoring a crossing track. There are glimpses of a fine house on the right above the valley. On reaching a crossing track (Folly Lane) turn left: this is part of cycle-way 13.
■ On ascending the rise there is interesting machinery on either side of the track belonging to the quarry (probably a conveyer belt). On reaching a lane at a junction, turn right: this is Hungry Hill. At the main road (B1146), turn right for a short distance on the wide verge. Then go left across the road into Rawhill Lane (signed to Bittering) past the national cycle-way sign. Ignore the road on the left, signed to Gressinghall).
■ Continue along the lane for about three quarters of a mile past more quarry workings, then past Rawhall, where the old barns are now the Woad Centre. Then go past a wood (Rawhall Wood) on the right and bear left with the lane and follow it for about another half mile. Just before reaching Dairy Farm on the left, on the right there are the remains of the medieval village of Little Bittering though only a few mounds now remain visible. Continue past a pond on the left with geese and past the farm, then turn left at the junction. Soon turn left again, before Old Hall Cottage, into Stony Lane (part of the Nar Valley Way long distance path).
■ Follow the lane for about one and a quarter miles (keeping ahead when the Nar Valley Way goes right onto a track). At the crossroads keep ahead and go past Vale Farm and Snowdrop Cottage. Then, at the next crossroads, turn left and follow this lane round to the right to reach the main road (B1146). Cross into the track (Field Lane) opposite. Follow this track for almost half a mile, going past a footpath on the left, back to Old Beetley. At the crossing lane (Church Road), turn right. Then, at the junction, go across the field ahead and, on the far side, turn right along High House Road back to the village hall.
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: www.ramblers.org.uk