Parish Walk 33 5th September 2010

Report of Parish Walk
Twelve go wild in autumn.
OK, so that is stretching the truth a bit but there were 12 of us and it was nearly autumn and the wild refers to the Nature Reserve
As usual we had the group photo at the start (this time Ashwellthorpe Village Hall) to go onto the website. Maybe one day in the future an archaeologist will find all those and wonder what on earth we were up to.
We walked through the wood and over the fields to Silfield St, although it took longer than expected due to a veteran farm machinery day being run on the fields. With old tractors, traction engines, balers, threshing machines (troshers) etc there was too much of interest for a walk to compete with. Anyway after photos of the event we moved off to Silfield St and then into Burnthouse Rd. I wonder why the name. As usual we did not worry about a direct route (but do not tell the walkers that we went further than really needed) and diverted onto a footpath over the fields and had another impromptu halt for blackberries. These little routes are often overlooked and unless they are used they may disappear. With the sound of the traction engine hooters (which resembled the poop poop of Mr Toad with his new car in The Willows in Winter the follow up to Wind in the Willows) we finally arrived at Silfield Nature Reserve. Here we were relieved to find that fears of terrible traffic noise from the A11 was not realised. There was a drone but it was not my stories of past walks but the traffic through the trees but after a while we did not notice.
The pond was looking good with rushes, lilies, ragged robin etc, and we sat by it to enjoy refreshments and yet more talk. At this point the next noise was a peep peep which was the shrill noise of a kingfisher flashing across the water. The blues and golds of it’s feathers were just fantastic so it decided to give us a second chance and came back again. It rather put the dragon flies and various plants into the shade.
Anyway it was then time to complete the circuit back to Silfield St over more fields with a very short section next to the A11 which was the only thing capable of stopping the conversation.
Arriving back at the farm day that age old affinity of men for machines came to the fore with “oh look a Fordson” or “yes but look at that Ferggie”. People were having great fun harvesting, harrowing and ploughing to their hearts content, and it was good to see the machines being used after all the hours of restoration. If we had been later our path would have disappeared but as it was we walked between the activity a bit like Moses walking through the parted Red Sea.
Only 10 of us made it back to Ashwellthorpe but do not worry, no harm had came to the other two from restless natives, as the lure of old tractors had been too much. It was commented that to lose one husband may be regarded as misfortune but to lose both is carelessness (as Noel Coward would have said), but it was agreed that when hunger struck they would return.
All in all a good walk of 6.4 miles
For pictures see Photo Album page

Next walk 17th Oct 10am meeting at Fundenhall Church

Report of Parish Walk 32 30th July 2010

Report of Parish Walk 32
To infinity and beyond (well not quite but it sounds good)
Well it was touch and go as we did not have the official map of the route but Natural England came up trumps at the last minute and the ink was hardly dry on the page as we set off for the Village hall.
In the end over 20 people set of into the unknown for a journey to boldly go where no man has been before. When we reached Mackie’s Loke there was hesitation in case we fell off the end of the world but if Captain Cook could go where no human hand has set foot we could wander down a lovely loke.
The start is a bit rough but this is only because it is being improved with rubble and will be easy to walk later. The later parts of the loke are almost a green tunnel of trees through which a Green Woodpecker flew for us.
Later the Barn Owl flew up and down the field to entertain us, which was a great bonus and we hope that you believe that we had laid it on at great expense.
All in all a good country walk, but just on our doorstep, so we hope that people return as we did not lose anyone to the restless natives.
In the end there was a concerted move to get to the White Horse as children were complaining that parents were too interested in walking and they wanted to sit in the pub garden and see how much fizzy drink they could manage.
N.B. several people asked the status of the ‘footpath’ and we explained that it is a permissive path as part of a Higher Stewardship Scheme. It sounds deadly boring but your taxes are going into this scheme all over the country to improve the environment so we intend to put some information on the website to inform those that want it.
Click here to see Natural England – Higher Level Stewardship scheme
Click here to see a link to the walks Defra, UK – Rural Affairs This is the link to the map of the walk
Next walk 5th Sept (see Events page and also posters in noticeboards nearer the time)
For photos see Photo Album

Parish Walk No 31 18th July 2010

13 of us started at the King’s Head but it was not an unlucky number as 2 people were a bit late and missed the start but managed to catch us in Hapton. From the pub we walked a short distance along the road to take the bridleway to Hapton. It was a relaxing walk in the sun with long clear views across the fields.
At Hapton we went via the Meeting Place field off Holly Lane and down between the houses and then along the side of the B1154, as sadly there was no alternative. We kept well in to the side and soon reached the gate into Manor Common. The path was well cut which was lucky as there was a lot of vegetation including nettles. Over the big wooden bridges and up the steps lead us onto the field beyond. The common is well worth a look as it is a lovely old fashioned scene.
From the field we looked back over the trees on the common to see the Turnpike and also Fundenhall Church peeping out from behind some more trees. After this we walked up and over the field to reach the old railway bridge where we stopped to pick grass seeds out of our boots.
Down the road a few yards we turned right to walk down the field and over a stile onto the Tas Vally way. This lead us over some very pleasant fields to return to Hapton, although sadly the last part of the path to the road was a mass of nettles. Those of us in shorts remembered those nettles for quite a while.
After that it was simply a short walk along the road to walk between the houses and along the side of the School field. At the end of that was a gate into the churchyard which we walked through back onto Holly Lane and then rejoining the bridleway we retraced our steps. We finished at the King’s Head where several of us had a refreshing drink

Report of Parish Walk No 30 6th June 2010

This walk started at Fundenhall Church and was very different to the last walk as that was the largest number of participants that we had, whereas this walk was just 4 of us. Luckily we had checked out the route during the week and found a few sections impassable due to nettles but had brought a hand scythe with us and cleared them and hope that this might encourage people to use the paths. We had a good walk and enjoyed it and as it was a lovely route which not many people saw we plan to adapt it for an Ashwellthorpe start and use it again.
The route went via the Fundenhall village sign and over the fields (where we saw a deer) to the road near Tacolneston Church, and then over the fields to come out near Tacolneston School. There is a footpath behind the houses there, but it has been blocked by fences, garden rubbish and even buildings for some time. Sadly they do not seem to value their footpaths as much as we do in our Parish.
Anyway we walked along the road and rejoined the path to go over some fields with lovely views. Passing through a narrow part bordered by trees we crossed a footbridge and up the field to pass through a small wood and out onto the road opposite Tacolneston church. All it took then was a short walk along the road back in the direction of Tacolneston and onto the footpath at the corner to walk via the wood back towards Ashwellthorpe. We finished at Fundenhall church where we met two walkers who had just missed the start of the walk. Anyway they had still enjoyed a walk of their own.
For pictures of the walk Click Here See Walk into the next Parish
Next scheduled walk 18th July.
We also plan to include an extra walk as a Friday evening short walk as soon as we hear that the new path off New Rd is open. Watch the website for information

Report of Parish Walk 29 25th April 2010

This was a bit of a departure from the usual walks as it was in reality a guided wander through Lower Wood Ashwellthorpe, which is nationally recognised as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and is therefore protected by law..
The turnout was the largest so far of any of the current series of Parish Walks with 33 of us participating, on what proved to sadly be a rather damp and dismal day. This, however, did not dampen the spirits of everyone and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.
Barry Watkins (Warden of Lower Wood Ashwellthorpe) led the walk and gave a very instructive and interesting commentary. He started by leading us to his garden to give a bit of the history including the fact that the wood was recorded in the Domesday Book and has been used through the ages for collecting wood and feeding pigs. Apparently standard Oaks were planted in most Parishes and in this wood on the orders of Queen Elizabeth 1 for use in boat building (hopefully the invading navy did not arrive too soon as oaks take a long time to grow). Laterly the wood was used to provide wood for the Coop brush factory in Wymondham during the early part of the 20th Century. This wood was provided by coppicing (cutting trees down to the ground in a rotation as a harvest and allowing a few years growth for regeneration). People living in the village used to work there and Lily Thompson who lived on the Street and sadly died last year had many tales of working there.
We were intrigued to hear that the gap between Lower Wood and Upper Wood (seen directly ahead from New Rd) may have been cut around 1800 to provide a line of sight between Wreningham Church (it received signals from Telegraph Hill in Norwich) and Telegraph Farm in Bunwell. This was part of a signal network intended to warn of approaching Napoleonic ships, and messages could be sent from Gt Yarmouth to London in minutes. This Wreningham Church is not the present one (see note at the end of this report)
Anyway, we then walked via Barry’s garden to enter the wood. We walked in a large circle via the rides seeing a variety of flowers and trees. Sadly with the hard winter the bluebells and Ramsons (wild garlic) were not yet in flower. We saw celandine, wood anemone, early purple orchid, lady’s smock etc. Barry reminded us that this is the most northerly collection of Hornbeam trees in Britain, so we are lucky.
We saw the recent coppicing and heard explanations of the value to wildlife. A number of us do not like to see the coppicing as it seems a brutal way to manage a wood but we heard that it mirrors the way that the wood was managed previously and is bringing back flowers, insects, birds and animals that have been absent for years. Maybe,therefore, we will be lucky enough to have Nightingales return and hear their lovely song. In spite of the number of people and associated noise several people were lucky to see a Muntjak Deer (see wildlife page to see how to identify them). CLICK HERE to go to the Deer recognition page in this website
We were all encouraged by Barry to walk in the wood and enjoy it as we are lucky to have this lovely facility on our doorstep.
The walk finished via Barry’s garden again with a look at the pond created by digging clay for clay lump bricks.
We got home just in time to miss the heavy rain but it would have been good if the afternoon sun had accompanied us during the walk
CLICK HERE for a link to the Photo Album which contains the folder for this walk (Parish Walk 29)
Next walk 6th June starting at Fundenhall Church
Note about old Wreningham Church
St Mary Nelonde Church. This is shown on old maps as a ruin and some people can remember stones in the location. The Rectory which is passed if you walk past the wood towards Wreningham and Long’s wood was probably the site of the Rectory for this church.
Memory has it that the site which was pointed out was probably the one which is marked on the 1906 OS 25inch to the Mile map [Norfolk Sheet LXXXVI.7] as “Site of St Mary’s Church and Burial Ground” in Field Number 267. A more modern map ref. for this is 1:25.000 Sheet TM 09/19 – 148984. This site is some fields east of Bellar’s Grove; the map ref. for the latter is TM 09/19 – 141982.

Various studies done in the last 40 years may well have discounted the above site
NB We hope to add a powerpoint presentation about Lower wood to the website in the near future

Parish Walk 28 20th March 2010

Well we were surprised and thrilled to see that this was the largest turnout so far for one of this series of Parish Walks. When we arrived at the Bird in Hand there were a few of us and we thought that was good, but more cars kept arriving until there were 29 of us!
On top of that it was a lovely day; probably the best day of this year so far with blue sky and it was warm. Sadly yesterday was wet so some parts of the route were changed to avoid the worst of the mud.
We set off towards Wreningham, passing the Church until we met the footpath on the right just on the sharp left hand bend. This follow the field to join Hethel road which we walked along for a short distance to turn right onto the field and run parallel to Penny Green. This kept us off the road again until we joined Wymondham road for a short distance to turn into Potash Lane which we followed until the footpath which passes Brunel House. Passing the house we followed the field edge with masses of free range hens in the fields enjoying the sun as much as us.
The stile at the end led us into one of our favourite fields- not sure why but it just has rough grass, tall hedges and a big pond. The path leads you to the far end to negotiate some mud and onto a farm lane past Church Farm. At Hethel Church the front ‘runners’ waited for the everyone to regroup and then set off via the permissive path opposite the Church which winds through the new wood. Lovely and quiet but with plenty of bird song. Rejoining the road we went straight over the crossroad until turning right at the play area the path went beside the houses and along a path bordered by hedges.
We were convinced that spring had really arrived when turning right at the end we spotted our first primroses of the year, and then joining Cranes rd the skylarks were trying to outsing each other.
Getting near the end now we crossed the B1113 and straight ahead for about 200 metres to turn right over the field with good views ahead-including the end of the walk. The field drops down to a ruined house surrounded by masses of snowdrops. Wonder who lived there? From here it was only a short distance over a footbridge, through some really deep mud (no one slipped over)and up the slope beside a field to the starting point.
Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and many of the group continued this with a stop in the Bird in Hand.
Thanks to everyone for coming. We will probably use this walk again as it seemed popular, but can make some changes to the route, especially if it is not muddy.
The next walk is 25th April and will take the form of a walk around Ashwellthorpe Lower Wood with Barry Watkin the warden who will give us a guided tour and explain the wildlife and history of the wood. Meet at Ashwellthorpe Village Hall at 10am.