This Norfolk Heritage Walks book was borne out of the desire to try and find some walks that had something of interest, either along the way or at the beginning or end of the walk.
This is your chance to discover something of historical interest for yourself whilst following the walks around or close to these wonderful sites.
I love walking, but sometimes I feel like I want something other than just a path or farm track. That’s where this book, Norfolk Heritage Walks, comes to the fore.
Here’s what you can expect to find on each chapter in the book:
Norfolk is incredibly rich in history. It may be a flat county, but what it lacks in mountainous views it sure does make up for in huge skies and, more importantly, historical castle ruins, church and priory ruins, windpumps, windmills and lighthouses, and last but not least, grand stately homes. All are steeped in history and all have absorbing stories attached to them.
What I wanted to do was to try and bring this rich tapestry of Norfolk life to you in the form of a more specific walking book.
Whether you live in Norfolk or are just visiting, there are so many wonderful sites to visit, many of which often take you by surprise; particularly the ruins. These are Norfolk’s hidden gems.
There are 18 circular Norfolk heritage walks in this book and each one features a point of interest that played an important part in the lives of Norfolk dwellers many years ago.
The Roman’s feature in the book, with a walk around the amazing ruins of Burgh Castle, but it was during the Norman era that Norfolk really grew in popularity. Huge churches and priories were built and unfortunately dissolved. However, this dissolution left behind some staggeringly beautiful architectural structures that you can still admire today.
Windpumps played an incredibly important part of Norfolk Broads life, draining water from the fields to the rivers, making sure that villages weren't flooded, and they also feature in the book, along with a few derelict ones too, that you will walk past.
Norfolk also became the land of the wealthy aristocrats with numerous grand houses being built. Many of these have fantastic grounds to walk around with a few unusual structures placed in varying parts of the estates such as a Mausoleum at Blickling Hall and Ice Houses at Blickling, Felbrigg and Holkham Hall. The woodlands that have been planted over the centuries also provide beautiful walks at any time of year.
All the maps in the book are superimposed from OS maps so they are accurate in terms of scale but reduced to fit on the pages.
Below a snippet of an example of one of the maps. Obviously when walking, it’s advisable to either have a proper OS map or know where you are!
Having said that, most of the Norfolk Heritage Walks are fairly obvious and there are also a lot of waymarker posts.
I do always try to put myself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t know the area when writing up the detailed route directions, so you'll find the numbered directions are easy to follow.
The artwork within the book is drawn by the talented artist, Will Assheton
When I saw a drawing that he had created of St Paul’s Cathedral, as well as one of Nelson’s Column in London (Nelson being a Norfolk man and so piqued my interest), I immediately knew that I wanted to commission him to come to Norfolk and draw some of the historical buildings that feature in this book.
He has a real passion for structure and the aesthetics and this really shines through in his drawings. His pen and ink drawings were the perfect medium for these wonderful ruins and they feature on various walks within the book.
He came and spent several days in Norfolk sketching the architecture and took them back to London to finalize. I really think they bring Norfolk history to life.
All of the 18 circular Norfolk heritage walks have some fascinating point of interest that you can either visit or just wander around, usually at the beginning or end of the walk.
Being in Norfolk, all of them are graded as easy and the majority of them are dog friendly, but not all of them; the route directions will tell you whether the walk is suitable for dogs.
For each walk you'll find the following:
The picture below is an example of what you can expect to see.
With this book, you now have a perfect excuse to take a circular walk around the Norfolk countryside whilst learning something new about Norfolk’s history; that’s what I hope you gain from choosing some, or all of the many walks in this book.