A 14 mile walk around the Salthouse Sculpture Trail
Inaugurated in 2008 by The North Norfolk Exhibition Projects, this trail across Kelling and Salthouse heaths was set out to exhibit both the natural beauty of North Norfolk alongside examples of contemporary Norfolk art. Although most of the sculptures have now gone, the walk nonetheless provides a peaceful route around this part of the county.
Holt to Salthouse Sculpture Trail - Essential Information
- Start point
- HoltView in OS Map | View in Google Map
- End Point
- SalthouseView in OS Map | View in Google Map
- Total Walk distance
- 14 miles
- Walk difficulty
- Footpaths, permissive paths, tracks with some road walking
- The trail uses the road from Salthouse Heath to Holt and caution should be taken when walking this
Sanders Coaches - bus Service
- Service Number
- 9 - Sanders Coaches Service 9 connecting North Walsham, Cromer, Sheringham, Holt and Fakenham
- Sanders Coaches Website
- Date of Walk
- Walk Time
- 11:00 to 17:30
- Griffmonster, Kat
- Weather Conditions
- Blue skies and sunshine
It was whilst finding an alternative path to the coast path between Salthouse and Cley that the Sculpture Trail was first encountered. A simple blue on white circular waymarker attached to a wooden post clearly stated
Salthouse Sculpture Trail and an arrow pointed along the footpath across the Walsey Hills towards Cley. Indeed, there was a sculpture at the highest point along the footpath overlooking the coast and the regimental lines of wind turbines that now cover the horizon. A weathered wooden cross with four chains hanging from its cross member. The cross was topped with a rusting iron hoop and a triangular plate with a central hole filled the hoop. Interesting but with no plaque or attached note it was impossible to understand what this was supposed to symbolise. It looked somewhat barbaric. Something of a medieval apparatus for hanging tortured bodies in chains.
It was later discovered that this work was entitled 'Monument to Salthouse Mariners' and was constructed of reclaimed sea defence timbers by Kevin Lee and represented the linking of the crucifixion and the reminder of the Salthouse Main Channel.
It was not long before a little information about The Salthouse Sculpture Trail was gleaned from the vast resources of the internet. It was inaugurated in 2008 by The North Norfolk Exhibition Projects who provided an annual exhibition of Norfolk contemporary art in Salthouse Church. The trail was put in place to promote both the natural beauty of North Norfolk as well as contemporary Norfolk artwork. A rough drawn map of the route was available from the Salthouse Trail website together with a brief description of the trail. Unfortunately the map and the website are no longer available although I have transcribed the route onto the OS, google and openmaps for this site.
With the Kevin Lee item whetting ones appetite for finding other sculptures, the trail was worth the exploration. A Sunday morning was the elected day that the trail would be walked. This entailed a bus journey from Runton through to Holt from where the trail could be picked up at the town centre. On normal weekdays the Sanders buses run through to Holt on a regular basis. Timetabled services are clear and definitive and the destination of Holt is clearly depicted on the destination blinds of these distinctive yellow buses. Sundays are different. Sundays are deemed the day that Sanders should confuse the populace. Holt no longer gets dedicated services on Sundays. Holt is an extension service from the 44 service from Norwich. What is supposed to occur on these radical Sundays is the 44 service gets to Cromer and then changes to a service 9 for Holt. In reality, as discovered on this particular Sunday, what frequently happens is the 44 service runs through to Sheringham and then changes to the service 9 to Holt. Therefore, patiently waiting at East Runton, a double decked beast of a bus motored towards the stop with Sheringham emblazoned on its destination blind alongside the 44 service number. At this point we were oblivious to the fact that the 44 and 9 services were one and the same on a Sunday. We politely waved it on. We didn't want the 44, we wanted the 9 to Holt. The 9 didn't turn up. The timetable pinned to the bus stop only listed the time and service number for each specific destination. Only when one consults the printed timetable leaflet does it become evident that the 44 and 9 service are the same bus. So, for future reference, if one wants a bus to Holt on a radical Sunday, do not trust the destination blind or the service number or the timetable. If it is either a 44 or 9, with assertive hand and confident gaze, hail it down!
With the first bus of the day missed, and with the limited Sunday service, this left about 5 and half hours to complete the 10 mile trail which appeared to be ample time. Well, it stated 10 miles on the downloaded leaflet with the map and on all other web resources where the trail is mentioned. However, by the time we had reached Salthouse it was clear that the total distance would be considerably more than 10 miles and as such the route had to be amended to be certain of connecting with the last bus back. This was a disappointment but the section omitted was the path out towards Cley and this had already been completed.
The fact the trail is more like 14 miles was not the first surprise. This walk was entitled The Sculpture Trail. Online resources had stated it was a trail connecting items of sculpture. There was news articles about the sculptures that were placed around the route. One would think and expect to encounter numerous sculptures en route. Walking out of Holt there were no sculptures. Probably expected as this was urbanized. Then onto Kelling Heath, a delightful setting for natural sculptures to blend in with the landscape. Despite searching gazes the total number of sculptures amounted to zilch. So, onto Salthouse. Not a sculpture in sight. Then up to Salthouse heath. They say you cant get lost on the heath as there is a ghostly old man with a lamp who guides the wayward wanderer in the right direction. The ghost was not encountered and neither was a sculpture. Some mighty fine views but all sculptureless. The route then heads back to Holt along the country roads which are noticeable by their lack of sculptures. To put it bluntly no sculptures had been encountered what so ever. None. Zilch. This was not so much a sculpture Trail as a Non Sculpture Trail which is pretty much like any other trail.
Salthouse is the perfect half way point to stop, rest and have refreshments. The Dun Cow is the local pub with food available, plus there is Cookies Crabhouse which is a highly recommended purveyor of seafood although booking is recommended at this popular eatery. The Old Post Office on Salthouse Green also offers freshly made sandwiches and hot coffee. It was here that the delicious Norfolk Dapple cheese was savoured. As a walk snack, a sandwich of this dry but full flavoured hard cheese was better than any glorified crafted dishes on offer at the pub.
On the return journey, the church by Kelling Hall also offered a tempting treat. Probably too tempting. I do not approve of scrumping and can testify to being suitably apprehended and given a clip round the ear for such an endeavour as a boy. However, this large and inviting tree stood in the graveyard, alone apart from the bones of those departed and the breezes that whispered around the flint walls. The apple fell off in my hand. Honest. And a church is supposed to be a sanctuary that offers food to the hungry. Surely a few coins in the collection box would suffice for the humble picking of such a tantalizing fruit.
To conclude. This walk is not for the budding sculpture or art enthusiast. Such folk will be sorely disappointed. As a walk though, it is a worthy expedition with the natural and peaceful areas of Kelling Heath and Salthouse Heath being highly recommended areas to ramble through with some exceptional views of the coast.
The return from Salthouse Heath to Holt is via the road and although not busy, this certainty is not a quiet lane and one should take care, observing the highway code at all times. An alternative walk would be to omit the return section and use the Coasthopper bus service back to Sheringham or Cromer.
With the previously mentioned difficulties on the outward bus journey, it should be noted that the return bus from Holt was late. This was the last bus of the day which was a little disconcerting. Two smokers from the adjacent Railway pub had commented that the Sanders buses are always late, '..if they turn up at all' which did not fill one with confidence. It should be noted that the Konnectbus also offers a service back to Sheringham and Cromer and through to Norwich. One such bus sat opposite and was set to depart a few minutes after the depature of the Sanders bus. We spoke to the driver. It would be an additional fare but he let us wait until the final seconds and then the Sanders bus sauntered into sight. The Konnectbus left ahead picking up the Sanders bus fares along the route and most likely got to Norwich on the scheduled time.
Quiet lanes, footpaths both public and permissive are used to negotiate this walk
From Holt Market Place take WhiteLion Street northwards turning right onto Cromer Road. Keep to Cromer Road all the way through to the A148 Holt by-pass and continue for 400 yards to Bridge Street on the left. Proceed down Bridge Street for 100yards then take the right fork onto Warren Road. This is not much more than a track. Continue straight ahead onto a footpath where the track turns right. Keep to the footpath and at the start of the Kelling Heath campsite bear to the right. Aim to walk through to the campsite rception which can be found by following a roughly straight line through the wooded camping area. Follow the trail to the right of the reception and entertainment area which will descend down to a pond and be bordered by the North Norfolk Railway line. Turn left and walk in front of the pond, following the course of the line. The path will ascend a hill and emerge from the woodland onto heath.
Where the path meets a track across the railway, take this and keep to the main path. This will cross a road and continue down to the A149 Coast Road. Cross the road and take the permissive path alongside the road. Where thiis meets a track, turn right onto the track. Keep to this until it meets a footpath on the left at the first field boundary. The footpath follows the boundary. It will turn left then keeps to the next east west boundary. Follow this through to the end where it meets the road. A path follows the road back up the hill to emerge at the sharp turn. Cross the road and continue down the track opposite. Keep to this until it meets a road. Continue onto the road for 100yds then take a fotpath diagonally across the field on the right which emerges onto Cross Street at the edge of Salthouse village. Take the footpath on the left that points to the church. Proceed through the church yard and out onto another footpath to lead through to Purdy Street. Turn left and continue down to Salthouse Green.
For a shorter walk, one can proceed back up Purdy Street then onto Bard Hill until there is access onto Salthouse Heath at the top of the Hill.
The official route will use the footpath just up from the Dun Cow, on Purdy Street. This leads across the Welsey Hills. Where the path descends to meet another path, turn left and follow this through to the road. turn left, then take the next left. Thius will lead down to the entrance to Salthouse Heath on the right.
Follow the track across the heath and out onto the road. Turn right and follow the road to the junction. Turn left and then take the footpath on the right that leads off at an angle. At the end of this path turn right onto the road. Ignore the junction where it bears round to the left, then take the next junction on the right. Keep to this through to the first housing of Holt. Beyond the first road on the right is a footpath. Take this through to where it meets Peacock Lane. Turnleft and follow the road down to White Lion Street, with the Market Place at the end.
The Kings Head pub can be found by following the Market Place into the High street where the pub is on the left.
Dun Cow, Salthouse View in OS Map | View in Google Map
- Coast Road, Salthouse
Extensive pub on the Coast road overlooking the Salthouse marshes. Originally built in the mid 1800's and recently refurbished. The pub declares that it is a pub serving good food rather than a restaurant with a bar although the trade is clearly reliant upon the food trade. The beef is supplied by the local farming whose cattle graze on the marshes. Family and dog friendly with outside garden areas overlooking the marshes There is also a secret garden at the back of the pub. Adnams and Woodfordes ales on offer.
The Dun Cow offers both Woodfordes and Adnams ales. On this occasion the Wherry was sampled, sitting in the courtyard away from the masses of diners that filled this trendy bar.
Kings Head, Holt View in OS Map | View in Google Map
- High Street, Holt
The pub, a grade II listed building, dates from the late 18th century and has been known as both the Kings Arms and the Kings Head. In 1941 the building was damaged by 'enemey action'. The present day pub features 2 bars, roaring fires, beer garden, accommodation and up to 14 ales on pffer at any omne time.
Without doubt the Kings Head is the place to go in Holt for real ale. This rustic old inn has the charms of what a traditional pub should have and with 6 fine examples of East Anglian ales, there is something for everyone who enjoys this classic drink. On this occasion the Green Jack Trawlerboys was the choice of the day. A classic unabashed bitter that refrshes that palette down to the last drop.
Gallows Hill BarrowsView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Salthouse heath is the location of the largest barrow cemetery in Norfolk. The 27m round Halfpenny Hill and Gallows Hill, together with some thirty smaller mounds cover the site masked by the gorse and the encroaching birch and oak woodland.
Cremation urns have been excavated from the site which are said to date from the late Bronze Age.
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: ... 2016-01-15