Route details, maps, pubs, features, local history and folklore for a wide variety of walks focusing primarily on Norfolk and Suffolk

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Paston Way - Trimingham to Cromer

St Botolphs church, Trunch

A 13 mile walk along Norfolk's Paston Way from Trimingham to Cromer.

Another interesting branch of the Paston Way which provides a wander past the parish Churches of Trimingham, Trunch, Bradfield and Southrepps as well as the local village pubs which are obligingly open all day on a Sunday. The final stretch from Northrepps into Cromer offers an alternative wander past Sally Beans Cottage, renowned for being the lookout from the old Smuggling days of the 17th century.

Trimingham to Cromer Walk - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

Start point
TriminghamView in OS Map | View in Google Map
End Point
CromerView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Total Walk distance
13 miles
Walk difficulty
Easy

Accommodation:

Woodhill Park CampsiteView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Website
Description
Woodhill Park Campsite, Runton

Transport:

Sanders Coaches - bus Service
Service Number
5 - Sanders Coaches Service 5 Cromer to North Walsham to Norwich
Timetable

Walk Data

Date of Walk
2012-10-04
Walk Time
10:00 to 17:30
Walkers
Griffmonster, Kat
Weather Conditions
Overcast deteriorating into persistent rain and wind

Walk Notes

A Curious Thought

In recent years, being a regular bus passenger, I have noticed that the button for the stop bell is frequently embossed with a braille message upon its surface. This has provided many a journey with wandering thoughts about the logistics that are presented to blind people travelling on buses. Braille may be a good idea but how does a blind person know that it is their stop in order to locate the bell button and press it?

On this particular Sunday, I got a few insights from a blind persons perspective. We had wandered through to the bus stop adjacent to Cromer Parish Church and had a good twenty minutes of waiting for the Sanders bus service through to Trimingham where our walk was to commence. There was no hurry to get started and it was intriguing to pass the idle time watching the world go by. Sunday is always a slow start which was reflected in the lack of traffic and the slow shuffled pace with which occasional folk would wander along the street. Some window shopping. Some ambling by with newpapers clutched in their hands or folded under their arms. A dog walker, the dog as lethargic as the walker. Sporadic groups of aging pensioners arrived at the Church whose bells gave a constant peel resounding out across the town, calling the congregation to the morning service. Cars drew to a halt and little old ladies would inch themselves out, some assisted by the driver, until they were upright and off they would wobble under their own steam. Others teetered on fragile legs up the pathway to the church door. Occasionally younger folk would accompany them. And all of these people, every single one of them was turned out in their Sunday best. Sunday best is not just a suit or dress. Sunday best is that attire that is something a little brighter than other formal wear, something that is only brought out of the wardrobe on a Sunday. I never knew people still had Sunday best, but this observation certainly proved me wrong.

It was whilst standing here immersed in this scene that we noticed a man heading toward the bus stop from the town centre. A well dressed chap, but certainly not his Sunday best. Probably in his thirties, maybe a little older. As he slowly paced toward us he swung a white stick to and fro, sweeping it across the width of the pavement clearly indicating that his sight was either non existent or severely lacking. Even so, as he got to the point where we were standing he appeared to know that it was a bus stop. He motioned towards me and excused himself and then asked whether this was the stop for the Norwich bus. He clearly knew I was standing before him so he must have had some residual vision or it was a jolly good guess that I was standing there. Maybe it was a pure guess. Maybe he had the logic that if he uttered a phrase with an expected retort and no reply was forthcoming he could conclude that he was not directly facing anyone.

I informed him that indeed this was the stop he needed. The 44 service was due in a few minutes and I added this information in my reply to which the chap thanked me and added his quandary about not knowing which side of the road he needed to be on, saying that he had thought he needed to be on the opposite side of the road. I assured him that he need not worry, that he was in the correct position and the bus was imminent.

It was in the brief few seconds before the bus arrived that my wandering mind considered the mans quandary. There were two issues with waiting for a bus on the opposite side of the road. Firstly, was the simple fact that there was no bus stop there and therefore no bus would stop anyway. This is unusual as logic dictates that bus stops normally occur directly opposite each other on either side of the road or at least within a few yards of each other. However, this particular stop in Cromer is on the one-way traffic system and as a consequence the buses only head in one direction so anyone waiting for the bus on the opposite side of the road would have to wait until the council decided to restructure the traffic flow and make Church Street bi-directional and then approve the placement of a bus stop on the opposite side. This could take many years. A lifetime even. Thats a long time to wait for a bus. Even if, by fortunate coincidence, this restructuring took place and a bus did arrive, it would present a second issue, namely that the direction of travel would be in the opposite direction to Norwich. Sheringham and Holt would be the expected destinations from that side of the road under a traffic flow restructuring scheme.

The chap interrupted my thoughts to state that he was off to Aylsham and before I could question him on how he would know he was in Aylsham the bus had come into sight and I was informing him of its arrival. The bus drew to a halt. The doors opened. Another couple who had stood waiting allowed the blind man to board first and he stepped up to the driver and requested a single journey to Aylsham to which the driver provided him with a ticket. There was no request to provide a call or shout-out when the bus arrived in Aylsham. He just took the ticket and proceeded into the confines of the bus and took a seat. Hopefully he would know when his stop arrived. But if he could not determine the correct side of the road for the bus stop then how would he know the correct stop in the bus journey. I had visions of him alighting at a village he did not know and ending up at a destination that was not of his required choice. Maybe that was how he had arrived in Cromer. Maybe he had assumed it to be Aylsham. I do wish I had slipped in the question of 'how will you know you are there' just to relieve my curiosity. I had the opportunity but let it slip from my grasp. Therefore I am still left with the curious thoughts concerning the logistics of buses and blind people.

Wild Weather

The night prior to the walk was a bit wild with winds and rain buffeting the tent on the Wood Hill site in East Runton. Even though the rain had ceased and the day was a lot brighter, there were a few doubts about the state of the footpaths. This doubt was somewhat emphasized at Trimingham. The route takes the little lane down the side of the church and within a few yards it presented a flood. Not just a large puddle across the width of the road. No, this was a fully fledge flood. A full 100 yards of muddy water of indeterminate depth that lapped at the raised verges on either side. And beyond that 100 yards the lane curved around to the right and vision of just how far the flood carried on was unknown. On the left we were able to make out a gap in the hedge where the source of the water was still pouring from an eroded gulley in the verge. Torrents issued down, seeping off of the water-logged fields that still had the stubble of the years crops.

After a couple of minutes surveying the scene it was concluded that there was enough grassy verge in front of the high hedgerows to get past the waters. Maybe. Certainly to get to the bend in the lane. The only way to determine for sure was to attempt the feat. So, with a little trepidation, we inched along the left hand verge. The hedge presented a few obstacles with branches that impeded the way forward, but with care we managed get around them. The water course pouring in from the fields was easy to negotiate, it was a simple step over. Then beyond the curve the road met a slight incline, enough to draw it clear of the floods. It took a little time, and a little caution but the length of the flood was circumvented.

Despite this initial flood the rest of the route was surprisingly dry. Even the paths across the river meadows at Gimmingham were not marshy as expected. The only areas that needed a little careful navigation were at the gates and styles where many feet had turned the ground into a quagmire. Even so, there were enough debris to step across and keep ones feet clear of the sinking mud.

More rain issued as we headed up toward Northrepps and the final part of the walk. A shower near Antingham where we took the little shelter offered by a tree, a hedge and some farm machinery. Then more persistent rain when we got to Northrepps, the worst of which passed whilst we took shelter in the pub. Even so the lane up to Sally Beans Cottage was awash with water streaming down it.

Sally Beans House
Sally Beans House

Directions

A walk along the tracks, lanes and footpaths of North East Norfolk.

Take the lane down the side of the church in the centre of Trimingham. Before the lane junctions with another road there is a footpath that cuts across the field on the left. Take this and where it meets the road cross straight over and into the field entrance opposite. Follow the ensuing footpath across the field heading for the remains of the bridge. The path eventually emerges onto a road. turn left and the path continues immediately on the right. This leads over another field and down a steep hill to another road. Turn right and the path continues a few yards on the right, leading down to water courses that make up Mundesley Beck, then up to Hall Farm where it emerges through the Farm entrance and onto a road. Continue straight ahead on another footpath that leads over more fields to the southrepps Road. Turn left. John of Gaunts house can be found here by walking a little off-route up the road on the right. Before this historical house there is a track on the right that leads to the next road. Turn right. Ignore the first footpath on the right and take the second one, once again leading across the fields to another road. Turn left and where the road meets a junction take the footpath diagonally opposite and behind the houses to emerge in front of the Church at Trunch. Turn right. The pub can be found by following the road around the church.

Continue along the road southwards out of Trunch and once beyond all the housing take a track on the right. This emerges onto a road at a double bend where the route effectively carries on straight ahead. Follow this lane through to Bradfield. As it enter the village take the first left then a right and keep on this lane toward Antingham. do not cross the railway and follow the road around and out of the village. The Paston Way continues on the right where it then parallels the road so in times of rain the road, which is not busy, can be used as an alternative, meeting back with the official route at the cross roads. At this point there is a path through the woods on the left. Turn right when it emerges onto the road and continue to the junction. Go straight over and up the grassy bank to find a footpath along the field boundary that leads through to Southrepps. Go straight across the road and the Vernon Arms is on the right.

Follow the road down to the Church. turn left, then right navigating around the church. Keep to this road through to Northrepps. Once again this is not the official path but is a suitable alternative for wet days. Follow the road through the village and the Foundry Arms is on the left. As the road bends to the right just beyond the pub, follow Nut Lane which leads off up the hill. Keep to this road through to Cromer. Sally Beans House is found at the top of the hill as the road sharply bends to the left.

Stormy seas at CromerFloods at Trimingham
On the left Stormy seas at Cromer; On the right Floods at Trimingham

Pubs

The Crown, Trunch View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub

Although the present building only dates from 1953, an inn has stood on this site since the 1700's. The pub is currently a Batemans house and offers a good range of ales including several of Batman's own brews plus guest ales which has earned it an entry in the Good Beer Guide for each year since 2000. A small selection of freshly cooked simple dishes is available together with roast dinners being served on Sundays. This is very much a well frequented community pub and well worth seeking out.

Review

A very friendly and busy pub on the Sunday lunchtime when we visited. We were made to feel very welcome and offered the Sunday lunchtime bartop snacks. The beer was excellent, with a good range to choose from. The Batman's Yella Belly Gold was a worthy choice, a satisfying golden ale with citrus notes. A true old fashioned local despite the modern external appearance.

Vernon Arms, Southrepps View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
Address
Church Street, Southrepps
Website

Dating from the mid 19th century, this brick and flint building was formed from three cottages. It is said that manor courts were held here in the 1800's.

Today the pub is a popular old-fashioned village pub serving food including local crab and lobster specials and guest ales. Children, dogs and muddy walkers are always welcome.

Review

We arrived early afternoon after the lunchtime food had finished. Nonetheless, the pub was still busy with drinkers. Good to see some guest ales on offer and the Jennings Little Gem was a pleasant bitter ale.

The Foundry Arms, Northrepps View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
Address
Church Street,, Northrepps
Website

A charming family run Norfolk country pub serving good, honest locally sourced food. The pub has been around since the mid 19th century and has had several similar names including Foundry and Mark Lane Arms and The Market Lane and Foundry Arms. Each name reflects the location of a nearby foundry where the Gallas plough was developed in 1830 which became widely used across Norfolk until the 1920s. The church weather-vane depicts a plough in commemoration of this innovative design.

The pub has its smuggling connections, with a wheelwright known as 'Old Summers' being the ringleader of the smuggling activities. Local folklore tells of one occasion when the smugglers tied the chief preventive officer to a post while they hid away their booty. Of course no-one had witnessed this when the village folk were questioned. Their activities were aided by a lady called Sally Bean who used to live in a cottage on what is now known as Nut Lane, but was commonly called Shucks Lane after the legendary ghost dog. Her cottage sat atop a hill, the highest ground around and consequently had good views all around so that early warning could be given if the preventive men were on the prowl.

In 1880 the pub was taken over by Bullards brewery before Watney Mann took the Norwich brewery over. It is currently a freehouse The pub bar is open all day, every day from 12 Noon for drinks and coffee. Food is served lunchtimes and evenings and available on Sundays from 12 Noon until 3.30pm.

Review

It is not often one sees Woodfordes Norfolk Nog on offer in pubs, but the Foundry Arms was an exception. This filling dark ale was just the ticket for the increasingly wet and windy conditions that were setting in. We was soon involved in a lot of friendly banter with some of the locals. Friendly and popular little local.

Red Lion, Cromer View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Address
Brook Street, Cromer
Website

The hotel is situated on the cliff top above the fisherman’s beach with views across the sea and the towns Victorian Pier. The Red Lion dates from the 18th century and is one of the oldest pubs in Cromer. The current building dates from 1887 and replaced the original building extending the site with the acquisition of several fisherman's cottages on which the Assembly Rooms were built.

Accommodation, local food including Norfolk Sausages, Venison, Cromer Crab, Morston Mussels and a good ever changing range of local Norfolk ales makes this pub well worth a visit.

Review

These days, whenever we are in Cromer the Red Lion is our pub of choice. Theres always a good selection of local Norfolk ales and on this occasion I opted for some Winters Genius, a dark stout which was rich, creamy and very satisfying.

Trimingham church dedicated to John the Baptists Head
Trimingham church dedicated to John the Baptists Head

Features

Sunken Bridge from the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint RailwayView in OS Map | View in Google Map

Heading across the fields toward Gimingham there is an unusual sight of a brick bridge in the centre of the field. Although submerged into the field with just its parapet visible it is nonetheless obviously a bridge. A bridge over nothing. You cant miss this as the footpath leads directly over this bridge although this can be inaccessible due to the undergrowth necessitating a diversion around its side.

It does not take much research to discover that this is the remains of a bridge that once traversed the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Railway which linked Cromer and North Walsham. This particular section across the field was a cutting between Trimingham station and Mundesley and is clearly visible on OS maps produced in the 1920's as is the bridge which is depicted as linking the two sides of the field that are separated by the line. There are parts of the old railway still visible on the landscape but on this particular field the cutting has long been filled in leaving the bridge parapet as a folly in the field. Why this was not taken down is a mystery.

John of Gaunts HouseView in OS Map | View in Google Map

Between Gimingham and Trunch, as the Paston Way crosses the Southrepps Road and located a few hundred yards off route is John of Gaunts House. This is clearly marked on the OS map as being opposite Royal Farm. This is a little confusing as the house is actually located on the same side as the Farm. The house that stands here is thought to date from the 17th century which is a long time after the period that John of Gaunt belongs to. Born in 1340, John of Gaunt became the 1st Duke of Lancaster and was a member of the House of Plantagenet, the third surviving son of King Edward III of England and the father of Henry VI. He died in 1399, being interred alongside his wife in St Pauls Cathedral.

Local legend states that the site of John of Gaunts house in Gimmingham once contained a 'large hall with pillars' belonging to the Manor and has been referred to as John of Gaunts Palace. The fact that John of Gaunt was the lord of the Manor is without question but the location and exact detail of his palace are little known about. With Royal Farm adjacent and Hall Farm across the opposite field one would presume that this is all part of the old manorial grounds and maybe what is still referred to as John of Gaunts house was indeed the very site of this legendary palace.

Sally Beans HouseView in OS Map | View in Google Map

On the last leg of the walk, as it heads out of Northrepps up Nut Lane toward Cromer is Sally Beans House. The house sits on top of the hill, just past the sharp bend in the road. This location offers some splendid views across to the south and there is a bench here to sit and take it all in.

Surveying this scenery from this vantage point one can easily see why Sally Bean, who owned the cottage in the 17th century, became a renowned lookout for the local smugglers. She would keep watch for signs of preventive men and inform the smugglers when their presence was spotted, thus thwarting many attempts when the authorities tried to curtail this illicit trade.

Church of St John the Baptists Head, TriminghamView in OS Map | View in Google Map

Probably the most intriguing aspect of this church is its dedication to St John the Baptist's Head. This dates back to the late medieval period of the 14th and 15th centuries when the village had a great devotion to John the Baptist, the man who was said have Baptised Jesus in the River Jordon.

John the Baptist was eventually imprisoned by King Herod and then executed by beheading. His head was said to have been taken as a relic and many locations lay claim to having the actual head including Amiens Cathedral in France where devotees would pilgrimage and pray. As an alternative to such an arduous journey the church at Trimingham created a shrine which included a life-sized alabaster carving of the head. This allowed people to pilgrimage to Trimingham where the could pay their devotions. Even today the village hall is still named The Pilgrims Shelter.

The alabaster head has long since gone, thought to have been destroyed during the reformation in the 16th century when all such images and icons were wiped out. Despite this, the cult of John the Baptist carried on in Trimingham and the name has been retained.

Church of St. Botolph, TrunchView in OS Map | View in Google Map

The church of St Botolph at Trunch dates from the 14th century and is renowned for its font canopy which features carved and painted panels depicting the twelve apostles. The hammerbeam roof features carved angels and there are medieval misericords under the seats in the chancel. There is a rood screen depicting 11 disciples and St Paul although their faces have been scratched out during the reformation.

Church of St. Giles, BradfieldView in OS Map | View in Google Map

Saint Giles is a large church for what is now a small community. The church, however was once bigger still.[2] There is evidence of this both inside and out, because the north and south arcades were filled in when the aisles were demolished. The pillars and arches can still be seen, set in the walls, the early 14th century capitals revealing the age of the church. The porch is dated 1786, along with the churchwardens' names, which is probably shortly after the aisles were demolished. At the east end of the church there is a decorated window and pentagonal buttresses with stone pinnacles added in 1864 when some restoration work was carried out on the church. Above the chancel arch there is a wall painting of Christ in Judgment. He sits on a rainbow showing his wounds. The wall painting dates from the 15th century.

Church of St James, SouthreppsView in OS Map | View in Google Map

The huge church at Southrepps can be seen for miles around and its tower is one of the tallest in the county. The base of the tower is decorated with scallop shells, the pilgrim symbol of St James. The building was constructed in the 15th century with the chancel being restored in the 19th century.

References
St Botolphs Church, Trunch
St Botolphs Church, Trunch

Images

Below are a selection of images taken from from the photo album for this walk. Feel free to browse through these or click on any image to view a larger version in the Gallery.

Click on an image below to view the Image Gallery

Maps

Below is the route depicted on the OpenStreetMap, Ordnance Survey Map and Google Map. Links to full page versions are found in the Essential Information

Summary of Document Changes

Last Updated: ... 2016-01-16

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