North Pickenham Circular Walk
This North Pickenham circular walk is a lovely country walk which takes you right past a very special church.
However, as far as seeing inside the church, it will very much depend on what time you walk. Usually in the winter months it’s only open on Saturday and Sunday from 2-4pm, but once the clocks go forward, it tends to be every day from 2-4pm.
But don't let that put you off the walk because it's still a lovely one to do, it's not too long but gives your legs a good stretch!
The reason St Mary's Church is special is that it has some very old wall murals that were discovered when it was being restored. It’s believed they date back to 1090, as with many of the Norfolk churches and priories.
It’s a tiny church, but this wasn’t the size of it when it was built. It was definitely larger. What you see today is a remodelling of the original church.
Restoration started in 1993 and the interior and exterior are testament to the dedicated work of the volunteers, and particularly to Bob and his wife Gloria who started the whole restoration process off.
If you're lucky enough to walk past when it's open, you'll see the wall paintings which show 6 layers of paint, going right back to 1090. Totally original paint.
A little warning: In the winter months this North Pickenham Circular Walk may well be flooded at the footbridge in the meadow by the village, in which case you will have to walk back along the road. I have walked this walk many times, and my photos show both the winter and summer months! Although this photo below looks like you can get through, we couldn’t! The water was too high.
The North Pickenham Circular Walk
Length: 3.4 miles
Ease of walk: Easy
Dog friendly: Yes
What you’ll see: open countryside, meadows, narrow footpaths, historic church
OS Map: No 236
PDF download: North Pickenham Circular Walk
- Park in the village and head along Houghton Lane (passing The Blue Lion on your left). Continue to walk through the village on this quiet lane until you reach a T junction.
- Turn right towards South Pickenham and walk along this lane until you see a gap and footpath on the left hand side.
- Turn left along this narrow path which threads its way through trees and hedges either side of you. This turning from the road also has a signpost showing you the way.
- Once out of the other end of the tree-lined path, you come to an open field. Bear right (signposted again) keeping the hedge on your right. Walk along the well trodden path at the edge of the field until you reach a metal farm gate.
- Turn right here, through the metal gate (you'll see a white hand painted "footpath" sign) and head towards the church along the wide track.
- Stop off to have a wander around the church of St Mary’s, Houghton-on-the-Hill. It’s only open between 2 and 4 pm, Saturday and Sunday in the winters, and in the spring and summer every day (between 2 and 4pm as well).
- From the church, continue along the track heading down the edge of the field until you reach another lane. At the lane cross over onto the concrete farm track and turn immediately right to walk behind the hedge following the waymarker sign post.
- At the end of the post and wire fence turn left following the signs on the way marker and walk down the hill, (there is also a metal gate on the corner of the field here). *Don’t walk onto the road (unless you find that the field further down is flooded, in which case you do need to walk onto the road anad back to North Pickenham the same you way came up). If it's not flooded, continue to follow the path around the edge of the fields.
- Turn left when you reach the end of the path in the fields and walk down some wooden steps, also signed with the National Trail acorn as this is the Peddars Way. Hug the left hand edge of the meadow to walk over the wooden footbridge and head over to the far side of the field. (This is the part of the walk you won’t be able to get through if it’s flooded and been raining a lot). In the summer it's easy to follow the well trodden path.
- Walk through the kissing gate at the far end of the field and follow the winding path along the edge of the field and all the way back to the village.