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Norwegian flagNorfolk Suffolk Post Lock Down Tour 2020 -

Peddars Way cycle route - North Norfolk Coast - Norfolk Broads - Beecles

07.09.20 - Home to Swattesfield

map linkWe didn’t get away from home until about 4.00pm as we had quite a lot to do before we left. It took us a little longer getting all the kit out and packed before we left. We weren’t too worried about leaving that late in the day as our campsite was only 14 miles away. Our route was very straight forward as we knew our way through to Finingham as we have cycled that way several times before. We stopped at the pond at Wyverstone Street where there is a bench and had a quick brew. There was a guy fishing at the pond and we were amazed that he actually was catching fish in the murky water. From there it wasn’t too far through to Finningham and then on to Gislingham where we stopped at their village store for some milk. From Gislingham it wasn’t too far to the Swattesfield campsite. It was a nice little site with some Glamping tents and we soon had the tent up and a brew on.

08.09.20 - Swattesfield to Shipham

map linkWe had a quiet night's camping and after packing up the tent we went over to the picnic table that was near the washroom to have our breakfast. We got away from the campsite at about 9.30am and headed off through Gislingham. Going out of Gislingham village we came across a pink painted one up and one down cottage which must be one of the smallest houses in Suffolk. Our route took us to the B1113 which inturn took us to the A143 which we crossed and headed for Rickinghall where we then turned off for Hinderclay. We joined route 30 at Thelnetham which took us then on to Hopton where we stopped at the Post office stores to get something for our lunch. Frank was a bit concerned at the junction of the main road that the signpost showed that Bury St Edmunds was only 3 miles away, we suspected that the 1 was missing off the sign. Our route took us through to Gasthorpe which is a lovely little place and I was hoping to find a bench there for our lunch. But unfortunately when we got to Gasthorpe we were out of luck for a bench so we decided to take the track to the church at Riddlesworth where we were hoping to find a bench there. Unfortunately when we got to the church we had no luck and so we had to make do with the stone steps just outside the churchyard. Whilst we were brewing up the caretaker of the Riddlesworth school came past and we had a chat with him, he was interested in our new Koga bikes, so we explained all the features.

After our lunch we left Riddlesworth and after crossing the A1066 we set off north along Lodge Lane and soon found the track we needed that took us through West Harling Forest. We were now on a bit of the cycle route 30 which took us on to the Peddars Way cycle route. Near Brigham we saw that there was a track that we could take that would save us going into Brigham itself. Initially it was rideable but unfortunately it became a bit overgrown so we ended up pushing the bikes, so we perhaps would have been better going via Brigham. After the track the route took us along high Bridgham road and on to the Peddars Way. It wasn't long before we had to cross the busy A11 dual carriageway at Roudham Heath. It took a little while to wait for a break in the traffic to allow us to safely cross. Having safely crossed the A11 our next obstacle was the Thetford to Norwich railway line. Fortunately there was a signposted diversion which took us to a very low bridge under the line. With a quick left turn we were back on a good surfaced track on the Peddars Way Cycle Route as we crossed Roudham Heath. At Stonebridge we joined the A1075 and there was a short bit of cyclepath alongside it. We had hoped to find somewhere open in Stonebridge for a drink but the pub was shut.

We left Stonebridge on a small tarmac road heading north and near Brickkiln Covert as we really needed another brew. I asked a lady who was in her garden if she would fill up our water bottles for us, she very kindly obliged. We stopped for a brew just a little further on at Woodcock Hill where we saw a fallen tree that we could sit on. Unfortunately there were several gnats about so we got going again as soon as we had finished our brew. A little bit further on the Peddars Way Cycle route was back to a track as we went along the east side of the Stanford battle area crossing through the trees of the Madhouse plantation. We left the Peddars Way cycle route at Sparrow Hill and took route 13 through Merton and then onto Watton where we stopped at the Tesco supermarket to get something for our evening meal. We then left Watton following route 13 through Saham Toney and Saham Hills and on towards Shipham and it wasn’t long before we had got to the Spring Farm campsite. The campsite was a lovely small site run by a young couple. It had compostable toilets and a small washing up area, and a nice little shower room which we took advantage of before settling down for our evening meal. Later in the evening there was a lovely sunset.

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09.09.20 - Shipham

map linkWe both felt a bit weary today, what with self isolating during lockdown we hadn’t been able to get out on the bikes so we weren’t as fit as we should be. We liked the campsite so we decided to stay another night. We spent the day reading and in the afternoon I cycled into Shipham to the post office to get some supplies for our evening meal and breakfast.

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10.09.20 - Shipham to Bircham

map linkHaving felt suitably rested after our rest day yesterday we set off at about 10.00am from Spring Farm campsite and headed for Bradenham to get us back on the Peddars Way cycle route. We passed the lovely Bradenham village green with its cricket pitch and headed west along Station Road towards North Pickenham. We joined the Peddars Way Cycle route just north of North Pickenham. This was a straight grassy track which was easy riding through trees and open farm land. At the outskirts of Swaffham we had to cross the A47 and we were back onto a tarmacked road past Grange farm and over an old railway bridge that once spanned the Swaffham to Dereham railway line, sadly axed in the Beeching cuts in the 1950’s. After a little dogleg we turned left to go up past Palgrave Hall which then turned into a track which was a little steep and rough in places but it was easily rideable. At Great Palgrave we were back on to tarmac and we headed towards Castle Acre.

At Batholomew’s Hills we crossed the A1065 to South Acre where we got our first views of the lovely Castle Acre priory.We were soon descending to the lovely river Nar where there was a lovely ford which had a footbridge to cross it so we didn’t get wet feet. There was a bench there so we decided that it was a good place for our lunch stop. It was a busy place and we chatted to various people as they came by. Castle Acre is a lovely little place with its priory and castle remains which are worth going to see. As we passed through Castle Acre we went through the old Bailey Gate which was part of the old castle. We stopped at the Spar store on the High street to pick up some supplies and something for our evening mill and left on the Massingham road which is a very straight road out of Castle Acre.

At Massingham common we came across the Ordnance Survey Trig Point where we left the tarmac road and we were back onto a track. This initially was a good track but as we got closer to Great Massingham the route coming up to the junction with the Lynn road was quite sandy and it was safer to walk the bikes. A little further on we could hear the cackling of a rather large Goose farm near the Peddars Way near Great Massingham. At Little Massingham It started to get a little chilly so we stopped and put on our windproof yellow jackets. We crossed the A148 near the Harpley Dams. A little further on there were several Tumulus in the fields alongside the Peddars Way near Harpley Common. At Anmer Minque we took the B1153 directly into Great Bircham and then turned left in the village to find the windmill where our campsite was. We were glad to get there and get the tent up as it was a little overcast and a bit chilly.

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11.09.20 - Bircham to Holme-next- the-sea

map linkWe had had a quiet night and woke to an overcast sky and the wind was a bit keen. After our breakfast and packing up the tent we were away by 10.30am. After about a mile from the campsite we were soon back on the last part of the Peddars Way cycle route. It was a grassy track and again had the usual two 4/4 ruts and the smaller rut in the middle. Unfortunately the ruts were quite deep on this section and made it difficult to ride in places. As we got near the Sedgeford plantation near Fring we came across a bench. Well it was a good place to stop and have a brew, unfortunately there was a bit of a cold wind so we had to put on a fleece. As we were sitting there drinking our tea a guy came past on a mountain bike carrying an enormous rucsac on his back. We kind of thought that he could do with some panniers as it can’t have been very comfortable. After our brew stop we headed down to the Fring to Sedgeford road. The Peddars way route carried on up the steep hill in front of us and Frank said “we are not going up that are we?” I said that was for foot access only, the cycle route was off to our left following the valley into Sedgeford. I think that she was a little relieved!

Once we got into Sedgeford I nipped off to find the Church micro cache whilst Frank turned off towards Ringstead. I could hear her puffing a bit over the radio so I guessed the hill out of Sedgeford was a bit of a pull. When we got to the village sign at Ringstead we met a family that were cycle touring. They were on a nine day tour and they had come that day from Kings Lynn and were on their way to Burnham Market. Apparently the place they were camping at had no facilities open due to Covid-19 restrictions. They laughed and said that they would just have to smell! We wished them a good trip and headed for Holme-next-the-sea. It wasn’t too far along the road and we knew where the campsite was as we had been there back in 1997 on our first ever cycle tour. We had rung the owner to book our pitch in the morning and he had given us a pitch number. Unfortunately when we arrived the person in the adjacent pitch had placed their rather large tent over most of our assigned pitch. I gave the owner a ring and he said that there was another pitch free, so we pitched over there. He said that on the pitch next to us he was expecting a lady with a camper van. After we had got the tent up I cycled into Hunstanton to buy some supplies. I thought I would have had to have cycled to the Tesco store which is at the far end of Hunstanton but as I got into Old Hunstanton there was a small convenience store on the left. I managed to get all that we needed there for our evening meal and our breakfast.

Whilst we were making our evening meal we got chatting with the couple in the tent next to us, funnily enough they were from Bury St. Edmunds. Whilst we were eating our evening meal the lady with the campervan turned up. After she had parked her van up she set about putting up what we thought was a rather large windbreak all around her van. I got chatting to her and it turned out that she had 12 dogs in her van and the windbreak was to keep them all in.

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12.09.20 - Holme-next-the-sea to Stiffkey

map linkAlthough the women in the VW campervan tent had been a little noisy we were far enough away to not let them disturb us and we had a reasonable night's sleep. We packed up reasonably quickly after our breakfast and said our goodbyes to the lady with the 12 dogs and the couple from Bury and left the campsite at 9.45pm. I decided that it would only be right to complete the last bit of the Peddars way and do it properly and visit the sea. It is a short ride through the village to the dunes. At the golf course the footpath was too sandy for the bikes so we locked them up against a fence and headed off on foot. Being the big kid that I am, I just had to skim a few stones when we got to the sea. The weather was good so there was a good view along the beach to Hunstanton. After a short walk up the beach we headed back to the bikes and got onto the good old coast road the A149. Normally we would have avoided this by going inland but I wanted to go to Brancaster Staithe. The part through Thornham and past Titchwell nature reserve didn’t seem too bad for traffic and we pulled into the post stores in Brancaster village to get some cold drinks as it was fairly warm in the sunshine.

A little further on we pulled into Brancaster Staithe itself to have a look at the staithe and all the lovely moored boats in the harbour. We sat on a little wall next to the Creek to have some lunch and brewed up much to the annoyance of a young black headed gull who squawked raucously. Perhaps he was hopeful of some of our lunch. After our lunch I decided to take some photos of our new Kogas fully loaded. Whilst I was taking some photos a couple came over to have a chat about our new bikes. After our chat we set off again back on the A149 through Burnham Deepdale and past Burnham Norton where the road makes a sharp left turn to follow the coast and we crossed over the River Burn at the lovely Burnham Overy Mill and then up a short climb to the Tower Windmill at the top of the hill. It is owned by the National Trust and used as a bunkhouse. From the windmill we headed towards Burnham Overy Staithe and then on towards Holkham. On our tour back in 97 we had had a lovely cycle along Holkham Meals and we were tempted to do the same but decided it was getting late in the day.

As we have found with this bit of the coast road before there were so many impatient drivers. Today was no exception, they were overtaking us coming up to bends and forcing the on coming traffic to brake heavily to avoid a collision. Whenever we can we try to pull in to allow traffic to pass, unfortunately along that piece of road there are very few places to pull in. Car drivers just need to learn to be patient. When we got to Wells we stopped at a cafe for a well earned cup of tea and some wonderful lemon drizzle cake. As we passed along the harbour front I noticed a fish stall and we bought a large dressed crab and a pint of brown shrimps, that was our evening meal sorted. There were quite a few people crabbing off the harbour as well as the usual tourists. A little pull up from the harbour and we were soon at the Coop supermarket where we picked up some salad and a baguette to go with the crab and shrimps. From there it was a short ride to get back on the coast road and fortunately this part of the A149 up to Stiffkey is fairly wide so we didn't have too much hassle from impatient car drivers. When we got to Stiffkey we soon found our turning down to the High Sand Creek campsite. They were certainly very Covid-19 aware as the reception lady took all my details through the glass panelled door. The campsite has certainly changed a lot since we were there in 1997. Back then there were no designated pitches and the facilities were in one of the old wooden army huts and from what I can remember were very basic.

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13.09.20 - Stiffkey

map linkWe had agreed that on this trip we would take things easy as we both weren’t very fit after lockdown, so we decided to have a leisurely day and stay at the campsite for another night. It is quite an interesting area as the campsite is on the former world war 2 anti-aircraft training camp and the marshes are lovely to walk through. Whilst we were having breakfast a cheeky duck came into our tent. I guessed he was a resident of the campsite as he didn’t seem that bothered about us. We gave him some small pieces of bread soaked in water.  After a lazy morning reading and after a bit of lunch I cycled into Stiffkey village via the track to go to the village shop to get something for our tea. On the way I met a party of people walking llamas which quite surprised me, well what else do you do on a Sunday afternoon! More traditionally I passed the Stiffkey cricket ground where they were indeed playing cricket and wondered if they would be having cucumber sandwiches for tea! 

When I got back we both went and had a look around the Rescue Wooden Boat museum which is on the campsite housed in one of the old Anti-Aircraft army base buildings. It was really interesting as they are trying to preserve some of the old wooden fishing boats that used to fish around the Norfolk coast. Unfortunately due to the covid-19 restrictions they could not take us around the workshops where they were restoring the boats but the museum was very interesting and they had some information on the old Anti-Aircraft army base. We then went for a walk on the marshes and saw several  Curlews and Linnets. There were loads of Blackberries on the path to the ‘Whirligig’ so we enjoyed eating them as we went along. The ‘Whirligig’ was the old R2 rotary launching track for the RCAT radio controlled target planes. They used to launch the radio RCAT controlled planes from the circular track and then the anti-aircraft gunners would fire at them for practice.

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14.09.20 - Stiffkey to Baconsthorpe

map linkAs we were getting ready to leave one of the other cycletourers that we had noticed on the site came over for a chat. They were from Devon and had left their car on someone's drive in Colchester. We had a long chat with them and they were enjoying the quiet Norfolk lanes. We left the campsite via the bridal lane to avoid the hill into Stiffkey village and we were soon back on the good old A149. I must admit I do love the North Norfolk coast with all its marshes and wildlife. I spent several family holidays as a kid at a caravan at Blakeney. Sadly North Norfolk has changed a lot since the 1970’s as it has been taken over by the wealthy types from London, buying all the houses up as second homes, driving up the prices and making them unaffordable for the locals. There are now gastro pubs and posh expensive restaurants and posh shops. On a weekend you can’t move for big expensive Mercedes, Audis, BMWs, and Range Rovers.

We stopped at Blakeney and went to the Spar to pick up some drinks for the journey before heading down to the harbour where we found a bench and had a brew. It was a lovely morning and it brought back such lovely memories of my holidays there as a kid. On the harbour quay there was an interesting Crabbing notice to not use hooks and to keep social distancing whilst crabbing. From Blakeney quay we headed back along the coast road to Cley. As usual the impatient idiot car drivers were out in force. From Cley we went on to Salthouse only to find that Cookies Crab shop was closed. What a shame as we had been looking forward to having one of their wonderful crab salads. We tried the Dùn Cow across the green for lunch but they were full up so we decided to head back to Cley. We stopped at the Cley Smokehouse where I managed to get some crab and prawn rolls. We cycled the short distance to Cley church and found a bench just outside the church gate that was a little in the shade and was perfect for our lunch spot. After being suitably refreshed we headed off towards Holt. Although there was some climbing it was much less steep than the climb out of Salthouse would have been. Once the climb was over we were soon rolling down towards Holt.

On getting to Holt we decided that we had better find a supermarket to buy something for our evening meal. I did remember that only a few months ago the only supermarket in Holt Budgens had caught fire and had burned down. I asked a local as to where there was an alternative and he suggested Larners. This was a shop that my parents used to enjoy visiting when they used to come to Holt to visit my brother. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions they were only allowing a certain number of customers in the store at a time. Unfortunately according to the store attendant they were having problems with their tills at the checkout but he didn’t tell me what the problem was. After a bit of a wait he let me in and once I had my items in my basket I went to the check out. The store guy hadn’t told me that the problem with the tills was that they couldn’t take any card payments, unfortunately I didn’t have any cash. Fortunately I had my headset on and asked Frank if she had any. Fortunately she did and met me at the side door so that I could pay for the groceries.

Our campsite was at Baconsthorpe which was only a few miles south east of Holt and we got to the Baconsthorpe Meadows Campsite at about 4.00pm. There was a sign on the reception to say that it would be open at 5.00pm, as it was still quite hot we found some shade under a tree and had a brew while we waited. It was a nice campsite which is 5 acres in size and only for tents which makes a change. It had lovely grassed areas with hedges in between. Come 5.00pm I wandered over to the reception and found the owner and booked in. It turned out that although they have pitches for 53 she was restricting that to just 15 because of Covid-19 restrictions and as it happened we were only one of three pitches that night so it was lovely and quiet.

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15.09.20 - Baconsthorpe to Walcot

map linkWe woke up to another lovely day and after our usual breakfast which on this tour seemed to be a bowl of Jordans Strawberry Crunch and a bacon sandwich washed down with two mugs of tea we packed up the tent and loaded the bikes. I must admit we are both well impressed with our new Koga Worldtravelers. Although we loved our old Giant expedition bikes, these Kogas are really good, well they ought to be at the price we paid for them. Our route for the day was to cut across country to Walcot. One of the nice things about this part of rural Norfolk is that there are some lovely country lanes lined with hedges with very little traffic on them. They are only a car width and some of them are what we call a cycle dual carriageway as they have a strip of grass running up the middle. From Baconsthorpe we headed east towards North Barningham and passed a brilliant sign which read ‘If pigs are out ring Kevin’ and a mobile number. We then turned slightly north east and headed to Gresham village. As we were going through the village we met a cycletourer who we said hello to but he didn’t stop. Soon after we met another who did stop for a chat. I asked him if he was with the other guy. Yes he said, but he was a bit fed up at the moment as he was told Norfolk was going to be flat. We laughed and I said that is what everyone thinks but they don’t take into account the Cromer ridge. The two guys were from Dublin and the guy we were chatting to was riding a Tout Terrain Silkroad with a pinion gearbox. I asked him how he liked the bike. Excellent, I bought it off a guy for €1500. I told him that he had got a real bargain as they are great touring bikes. He said he had better get going otherwise he might lose his friend. We wished him well and headed off ourselves.

Our route from Gresham village took us through Metton village where soon after we met the B1435 that goes up to Felbrigg. We turned right towards Roughton Where we crossed the busy A140, the main road from Norwich to Cromer. In Roughton there is a little green next to a small stream and there was a nice bench under the shade of some trees which made the perfect place for our lunch stop. After being suitably refreshed we headed along the B1436 to Thorpe Market and crossed the A149, which is the main road from North Walsham to Cromer. As we headed for Southrepps you could see its lovely church dominating the skyline. We stopped at the village store at Southrepps for some drinks, before heading up to have a look at Southrepps church. We then headed off to Trunch. This part of Norfolk is blessed with some really lovely churches and Trunch is no exception with its 15th century hammerbeam roof and amazing font cover. From Trunch we took the road to Knapton and then on to Paston where we joined the B1159 which took us past the Bacton Gas Terminal where my uncle worked for a while as a maintenance engineer. When we got into Bacton village we stopped at the Bacton Superstore to pick up some supplies. Due to Covid-19 restrictions they were only letting in 4 people at a time and there was a wonderful old couple in front of me who seemed to be buying up the shop. It was lovely as they were in their late 80’s and they were bantering with each other about what to buy and who was going to pay for it, it was quite entertaining. When they did get to the checkout the wife said to her husband you will have to pay for it as I haven’t got any money! I laughed with the guy at the checkout that they were a pair of characters, yes he said they are but it is lovely to see them as it is the first time they have been out since March. From Bacton it was a short hop along to Walcott Where the road is right next to the sea and the road is always half covered in wind blown sand from the beach.

We soon got to the lighthouse pub and I went into the bar to see about booking into the campsite. There was a young girl behind the bar so I asked her if we could camp in their campsite. 'You what' was her answer. I repeated my request. ‘Oh you want to camp, oh I don't know anything about that, I will have to go and ask'. She came back a little later and said 'You have to book online'. I said 'What if I can't book online, what do I do?' She just said 'I don't know' shrugged her shoulders and proceeded to serve drinks to a chap who had walked into the bar. Now there's a friendly welcome. Fortunately I did have a smartphone and fortunately had a 4g signal so I got onto their website and booked a campsite spot. The girl now seemed to have disappeared from behind the bar. Eventually an older guy appeared. I told him that I had booked a campsite pitch for the night. ‘That's nice’ he said and then there was this pregnant pause where I expected him to tell me where the campsite was and about the facilities etc. So I said where is the campsite then. ‘Out the back’ came his reply. So how do I get to it? I said. ‘Go around the back’ was his reply. Do you ever get the feeling that perhaps you are talking in a foreign tongue or just that people just don’t know how to welcome people and be helpful. Well we did go around the back and found the campsite which was fairly busy but we found our pitch and got the tent up. There was only one set of facilities for male and females so you had to pick your moment to have a shower. We had planned on eating in the pub and wondered what that was going to be like. Fortunately our waitress was much more friendly and helpful and the food was good.

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16.09.20 - Walcot to Salhouse

map linkAlthough the campsite was busy, it was a fairly quiet night. There were several other cyclists on the campsite who we got chatting to. A couple from London who were not actually touring but were with their bikes and going out for day rides and a couple of bikepackers from Clacton who had ridden up to Scotland and back using gravel roads as much as possible. They had intended to have gone over to America to ride the Great Divide route, but obviously due to Covid-19 restrictions they had to cancel that and decide to go to Scotland instead. It is good fun chatting to other tourers as you get the opportunity to discuss gear and routes. After our chat we packed up the tent and headed off to have a look at Happisburgh where I had spent many a childhood holiday. There was always a thing with our family when we went to Happisburgh as to who could see the lighthouse first. We were amazed when we got to Happisburgh just how it had changed in the last 20 years since we had last been there. Unfortunately that part of the coast has suffered from bad coastal erosion and they must have lost at least 150m of the cliffs. The road we used to go down to the beach on was now closed and they have now built a new car park nearer to the lighthouse. Several houses at the end of Beach road have been lost to the sea. As we were just leaving we met the couple from London on their bikes and ended up cycling the next bit with them as they were going in the same direction and just after Happisburgh Common we said cheerio to them and wished them a good ride.

We then headed west to East Ruston and then on to Honing where we stopped at the old Midland and Great Northern station. I had spent a lot of my youth exploring the old M & GN lines with my friend Simon back in the 1970s. Then there were much more of the old stations and track beds left. Sadly there are less and less now. Fortunately some enthusiasts have begun with lottery funds to reclaim Honing station. Sadly the buildings had been demolished but they have removed all the overgrown vegetation and made it much more presentable with interpretive boards explaining the various parts of the station. From Honing Station we headed for the lovely village of Worstead with its lovely church. As we passed the small green in front of the village school we spotted a bench which made a great place to stop and have a brew and have some lunch. From Worstead we headed south towards Wroxham where we needed to cross the river Bure. On the way we passed the lovely church of Saint Mary the Virgin at Tunstead. There was a lovely old VR Postbox in the churchyard wall. We fiddled our way through country lanes to Ashmanhaugh which is quite a sprawling village without a real center. At Five Crossways we turned left to have a look at the delightful parish church of Saint Peter, Hoveton which was built in 1624. It is quite a small church without a tower, built in red brick and has a lovely thatched roof. It was a lovely little spot and just in the churchyard was a bench so we took the opportunity to stop and have a brew. Whilst we were there a lady came to tend to her husband's grave who had recently died. She came over to chat with us. We felt really sorry for her loss, apparently they had been married for 57 years. Although her husband had not died of Covid-19 he had died during lockdown and she was quite upset as although they had had a burial they couldn’t have a full funeral and none of her relatives could come. She explained that she had a big family as she had 5 children, 15 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Frank explained that she knew how she felt as she had lost her mum on April 1st and like her although she had been cremated none of our family could attend as everyone was shielding or self isolating at the time and that they were hoping to have a celebration of life service sometime next year as and when Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed. As Frank said she just wanted to give the lady a big hug but couldn't, which was just so frustrating.

From the church at Hoveton we headed down the A1151 into Wroxham and stopped at Roys of Wroxham’s supermarket to pick up some supplies. We stopped at the bridge over the river Biure to have a look at the boats but there wasn’t much about apart from the Broads Tours mock Paddle Steamer. As it was rush hour there was a lot of traffic going through Wroxham but it was only a short way to our turning to Salhouse. We were booked into the Salhouse Lodge which had a small campsite. When I booked in, the lassie said that we could camp anywhere we liked as long as it was away from a cottage at the rear of the Lodge. The site was mainly set up for campervans so there weren't a lot of flat ground for tents and the only flat area was near where the electric hook ups were. So we pitched just to the right of the electric hook ups. And guess what the lassie came over with a campervan owner to say that we were too close to the electric hook ups and could we move our tent.

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17.09.20 - Salhouse

map linkFrank was having problems with her hip and needed to rest it so we decided to stay put and move on tomorrow. I went over to see the manager to see if it was OK for us to stay. He came out and said it was OK but could we move our tent further away from the electric hook ups as they had other people coming in that night. I didn’t like to mention to him that it would be the second time we have had to move our tent. In the afternoon I cycled down to Wroxham to get some more milk and something for tomorrow's breakfast. Fortunately I didn’t have to cycle right into Wroxham as there was a petrol station at the junction of the Salhouse road that had a small supermarket. We decided to eat again in the pub as the food was quite good.They had the Lee Vasey band on as the evening entertainment and they were very good. They did a series of covers of various 70 and 80’s numbers. They obviously had a set of regulars that came to see them, as several people came from the crowd watching to sign a number and then sat down.

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18.09.20 - Salhouse to Reedham Ferry

map linkWe were up fairly early and Frank had had a good night's sleep and her hip was feeling much better for yesterday's rest. Although it was sunny there was a little chill in the wind. After our usual breakfast of Jordans cereal, a bacon butty and two mugs of tea. We soon had the tent packed and we were on our way by 10.00am. We left the campsite on narrow quiet roads towards the Salhouse broad end of Salhouse and on towards Woodbastwick where we passed the Fur & Feather Inn, Woodfordes Brewery and the Woodbastwick Forge and then the lovely Woodbastwick village green with its wonderful thatched village pump with the gorgeous flint church behind it. We decided to stop to have a look at the church as my father used to preach there on many occasions and at one point every Sunday during an interregnum when they were waiting to appoint a new incumbent. On some occasions when we were teenagers my mother, my sister and myself joined him at mattins. My mother played the organ and I got the chance to ring the bell. It brought back such happy memories and I couldn’t help but pop up the steps of the pulpit and remember my dad standing there all those years ago. I can still hear him now with his often closing statement ‘ And you and I as we leave this church of Saints Fabian and Sebastian. We will reflect on…..’ as he concluded his sermon and then my mother would come in on the organ with the introduction to the next hymn.

We headed out of Woodbastwick towards Ranworth and passed the turning to the Horning foot ferry. I hadn't realised that it had started up again. When we got to Ranworth we stopped to have a look at the church before taking the turning down to Ranworth Staithe. The tea shop was open so we decided to stop and have a pot of tea for 2 and 2 scones with jam and cream. I went in to get them and when I came back with them to the tables outside Frank was chatting to a couple of guys. They were down from Newcastle and sailing around the Broads on a lovely wooden Wayfarer. They were interested in our new Koga WorldTravellers. After our tea and scones we were about to leave the Staithe when two cyclists turned up. They were Nick & Judith who were from London and had come up to Norwich for a few days and were out on day rides on their road bikes. After saying our goodbyes we left Ranworth Staithe and headed for South Walsham village which has another lovely village sign.

From there we headed south on easy country roads to Lingwood where we passed its station on the Norwich Great Yarmouth line. We then fiddled our way through quiet roads to South Burlingham and then on to Limpenhoe. We stopped at the church at Limpenhoe for lunch and a brew as it had a nice bench at the back of the churchyard. While we were waiting for the tea to brew I noticed some Dragonflies flitting about and they turned out to be Common Darters. While we were finishing our lunch Frank asked if there was a shop at Reedham Ferry as we needed to get something for our tea. A quick look on Google revealed that the only shop nearby was in Freethorpe which was a little diversion north from our original route. It didn't take too long to get there and thankfully it was open. Our route to Reedham was straight south and was easy going as we were going slightly downhill to the Yare valley. We passed over the railway bridge near Reedham station and we were soon cycling alongside the river Yare and arrived at the Ferry Inn where our campsite was. It was a good little campsite with good facilities and after our evening meal we had a ;ittle walk along the river looking at the boats and the Reedham Chain Ferry.

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19.09.20 - Reedham Ferry to Laxfield

map linkWe had a lovely quiet night and woke up to another lovely morning. We crossed the river Yare on the Reedham Chain ferry and headed along the only road to the wonderfully named Nogdam End where we followed cycle route 31 towards Raveningham. As we got to Raveningham Hall there was a milestone Raveningham to London 111 miles which was erected by Sir Edmund Bacon of Raveningham Hall. As we passed by Raveningham Hall there was a beautiful herd of Sussex cattle grazing in front of it. A little bit further on we stopped for a cup of tea and cake at the Ravenous Cafe at the Raveningham Centre. Whilst we were drinking our tea an elderly came past and started chatting to us. They were keen cyclists and were interested in where we had been on our tours. Suitably refreshed we headed south towards Beccles. At Gillingham we followed cycle route 30 into Beccles and crossed over the river Waveney. We have sailed many times on the Broads but the river Waveney is the one river we have never sailed, maybe one day. Beccles is a lovely little market town and we soon saw most of its narrow streets looking for its Tesco store and getting caught up in its one way system. We eventually found it and stopped to get something for our lunch.

We left Beccles following the Eurovelo 12 route south out of the town. Having done quite a bit of the North Sea Cycle Route in Holland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden it seemed odd to us that this is the NSCR as it must be at least 10 miles from the coast. We kept looking for somewhere to have our lunch and eventually near Beck's Green on the road between Ilketshall St. Andrew and Ilketshall St. Lawrence we found a nice big log to sit on that was on a large grass verge. From our lunch stop we fiddled our way through quiet country lanes to Rumburgh which had some lovely thatched cottages and then turned south to Linstead Parva where we crossed the B1123. Our route took us to Cookley Green and past Huntingfield to Heveningham where we passed over one of the tributaries of the river Blyth. Rather than join the B1117 at Heveningham we turned right to go via Ubbeston. Unfortunately there was a very steep hill climbing out of Ubbeston up to Ubbeston Green. Even in the lowest gear we both couldn’t get up the hill, and we both had to get off and push our bikes up the last bit. If there hadn’t been such a sharp turn from the flat and we could have had a bit of a run up to it and maybe we may have got up it. It was only a short ride from Ubbeston Green along the B1117 to the Croft campsite. It was a nice quiet little site with good grass and facilities.

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20.09.20 - Laxfield to Home

map linkIt was another lovely bright morning. We have certainly been lucky with the weather this trip as the waterproofs have stayed in their panniers. When we got to Laxfield we stopped at the Co-op to get somedrinks and something for our lunch. Laxfield is a lovely village with some beautiful half-timbered buildings and a striking flint church. We left Laxfield on a minor road to Wells corner where we had a really brief bit on the B1116 before turning off left to Wilby where we crossed the B1118. There were some lovely leafy lanes at Athelington which gave some welcome shade from the hot sun. At Bedfield we stopped to have a look at the church and spotted a bench in the graveyard which we used to sit and have our lunch on. From Bedingfield we went to the lovely named hamlet of Rishangles where we joined the B1077 for a short while before turning off left to the village of Thordon which is a pretty village with the All Saints church which has a lovely Lych gate and an unusual circular building which we haven’t been able to find any information on it.. From Thorndon we then crossed over the A140 at Thornham Magna and after passing The Four Horseshoes we were soon back to Finningham and on to our route back to home that we had taken on the way out.

It has been a cracking little tour, we have been blessed with the weather not seeing a spot of rain and it was such a nice tonic for us both after the pandemic lockdown. For me it has been a bit of a nostalgia trip as we went to so many places where I used to have my childhood holidays and certainly it was our first cycle tour directly from home. You could say it was the most environmentally friendly tour we have ever done. We used our own leg power all the way to get us around and the only mechanised journey was the Reedham Chain Ferry.

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The End.spacer imageTo part 2 -