The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Day 3 - S Walsham to New Hainford

22 March (0740-1515)
Distance: 16 miles (tot: 51 miles)
Weather: AM: wall-to-wall sun; PM: cloud
Number of rabbits in field next to campsite: 156
Number of black rabbits (named Frith?): 1

The grass was heavy with dew, the sky completely cloudless and a stunning orange sun was just rising as we climbed out of the tent bright and early this morning. You can't ask for a better start to the day than that, can you?

With today being a bit of a 'linking day' on roads we had a choice to make: the short way on busier roads or the long way on little lanes, and with the potential to find a handy path heading our way through Ranworth Marshes? The long way won hands down, and it was a good choice. The hoped-for off-road paths didn't materialise but we did enjoy the view at the top of this post (of Ranworth Broad) and the lanes were incredibly quiet.

At Woodbastwick (where we were too early for the recommended Fur and Feather Inn to be open) we pondered whether the village name is pronounced as it looks. 'Woodbast-ick' was the obvious pronunciation, but we couldn't help take it one step further and conclude that it should be 'Wu-ba-stick'.

The next village on our travels was Salhouse where we expected Geoff's brother to run out of his house offering us tea, but in the absence of any stranger approaching us in such a manner we made tracks onwards to trespass a little on our way to Wroxham (I'm getting quite bold with my trespassing, you know!).

Wroxham, it seems, is a little town which is owned mainly by Roy. His name appears on the department store, supermarket, cafe, toy shop, fashion shop, children's shop, garden centre and car parks. We only took advantage of two of his enterprises before picking up the 'Bure Valley Walk', which runs alongside a narrow gauge railway. For some reason I had expected this to be a surfaced path and was happy indeed to be proved wrong. Not only was it unsurfaced, but for much of the time it wasn't hidden in a cutting either.

After lunch on a village common, field paths took us to Hainford where an unfortunate lack of further convenient field paths meant we were obliged to walk three sides of a square to reach our night stop. It didn't turn out to be as bad as expected as we managed to avoid the stretch of B road by meandering our way through some woodland, and then the little bit of A road we had to follow had a pavement.

So, for a day that I expected to be almost exclusively on tarmac I ended up happy that at least a third of it was on nicer surfaces and traffic free. Plus we saw some good views, gawked at many a thatched house as we passed through villages and enjoyed another whole day of excellent walking weather.

(Geoff - that was the very campsite. If only they were all like that; I rather liked it.
Sally - it would be lovely to see you. Look out for a comment in response to yours; it should appear soon.
Alan - tsk - letting the side down, aren't we?!
Robin - an even harder life in weather like this!
Conrad - as we passed the Three Feathers we commented that it wouldn't have been much use to you even if it had been on the right side of the river. Aside from looking as though it had long been an ex-pub, it didn't look like it had been at all inviting even when it did exist.)
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  1. Prepare for rain in ten days time when I go to Dartmoor!

  2. Luckily for Mick and Gayle, their navigation would have let them down disastrously if they reach Dartmoor in 10 days time!
    I'll try to produce some fine weather with a trip east!

  3. following your progress with interest again. About 5 years ago my husband and I cycled along the bure valley railway from Aylsham to Wroxham.