Norfolk Walk: Roughton, Hanworth and Matton
PUBLISHED: 08:46 05 July 2012 | UPDATED: 09:02 05 July 2012
This walk is across lovely undulating Norfolk countryside with good views and unique history with much of the route on footpaths and the remainder along quiet lanes.
ROUGHTON, HANWORTH AND METTON
Start: Near the New Inn, Roughton, on the old road beside the A140.
Map: Explorer 252 G/R TG 219369.
Distance: 6 miles
Public Transport: The start is on a good bus route from Norwich.
Timetables: 0871 2002233, travelineeastanglia.co.uk
This walk from Malcolm Palmer and Susie Bloomfield is across lovely undulating countryside with good views. Much of the route is on footpaths and the remainder along quiet lanes.
St Andrew’s Church, Metton, is a 14th century building with, unusually, an exterior passage through the tower. The church is usually unlocked but is undergoing substantial renovation work at present. Then the route goes along the edge of the Felbrigg Estate and passes between the pair of gatehouses at Marble Hill, which guarded the former main entrance to the park.
Refreshment can be found in Roughton at the New Inn (open all day at weekends and usual pub times on weekdays) and at the fish and chip shop.
■ Leave the New Inn and walk a short distance to the south along the Old Turnpike Road past the back of the garage to a T junction. Turn right and, after some 200m, take the clearly signposted restricted byway on the left. This densely-hedged narrow path ascends gently before opening out to give wide views over the fields to left and right. The hedges then close in again before the path meets a quiet lane. Turn left and follow the lane as it immediately veers right. The trees and hedgerows along the next stretch are especially delightful.
■ Ignore a turning to the right and continue to a T-junction. Turn right (signed to Hanworth) and, after about 300m and just beyond a cattle grid, the route enters this charming village. On the left there is a large pond and just ahead the start of the common, which is the largest enclosed common in England at 35 acres. The villagers still have grazing rights and cattle use the common during the summer.
■ Stay on the lane for about 200m passing attractive cottages. Where the flint garden wall of the last cottage ends, take the signed footpath on the right through a hedge, over a stile and across a paddock at the side of a house. Climb another stile into a large field and cross in a straight line to reach a lane. Turn left for a few metres then right at a footpath sign through the hedge into another field. Follow the direction of the arrow down the sloping field then through a kissing gate into a low-lying tussocky meadow.
■ Go rightwards diagonally over this narrow meadow to meet the hedgerow at the far side and turn right along it. Then veer left at a rather overgrown corner following the same hedge with stock pens on the other side. Pass through a gap in an intersecting hedge and walk along the left edge of the large field beyond. In a dip at the top corner of the field go up a flight of steps. At the top, turn right along a field edge for about 150m then left along the edge of the field to join a farm track swinging in from the right. The direction along the track ahead is clearly marked with arrows. Metton Church is on the left as the track meets a lane. A grassy knoll bears the village war memorial and a bench.
■ Across the road a stile gives access to a small cemetery. With the headstones to the right and a house to the left, walk downhill. Go over another stile then a plank bridge over a stream and over a third stile to reach a damp pasture. Cross the meadow diagonally leftward so as skirt the end of a ditch that rises in the field and is marked by some wooden posts. At the hedgerow on the far side arrows point the way over two adjacent stiles. The next field is crossed by power cables on wooden poles, two of which are in sight. The path runs slightly leftwards across the field past the left-most pole and then downhill to a wood. Follow the margin of the wood firstly to the right for a few metres then swinging left and reaching a corner with trees ahead and to the left. Pick up a cart track, which winds through the narrow belt of trees ahead, and arrive at a large cultivated field.
■ The next section is not clear as the footpath had not been re-instated, but there is an arrow on a post where the trees end giving the general line to take. Set off into the field from the marker post and maintain a constant distance from a patch of scrub off to the right in the middle of the field. The path runs parallel to, and about 100m from, the left edge of the field.
■ After nearly 500m the path connects with heavily used farm tracks at the south-east corner of Felbrigg Park.
Turn hard right and walk uphill along the dirt and rubble track to a belt of trees at the far side of which are the old gatehouses to the park. Pass between the impressive disused gate pillars and continue straight ahead for a kilometre crossing a lane at about the halfway point. The path eventually meets a second lane which swings in from the right. Keep ahead down this narrow lane to meet the B1436 road at a junction. Immediately before the road, turn hard right into Back Lane and walk for a kilometre with low land around Hagon Beck to the left and rising fields to the right. Pass the footpath on the right taken on the outward leg and pass Orchard Close. Then, a short distance beyond it, turn left to return to the start.
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