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Holt Country Park

PUBLISHED: 16:35 27 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:54 22 October 2010

Map of walk.

Map of walk.

Charles and Joy Boldero take a five-mile stroll by Holt Country Park. This was a most enjoyable five-mile walk with fine views of the countryside and the well-signed paths in good order.

The present Hempstead Hall was built in 1880, apparently on the site of a traditional Elizabethan manor house built for William King or Kynge, who died intestate in 1594.

Charles and Joy Boldero take a five-mile stroll by Holt Country Park.

This was a most enjoyable five-mile walk with fine views of the countryside and the well-signed paths in good order. We parked in the Holt Country Park. Go along the A148 Holt by-pass, turn right into Hempstead Road. Between the 30mph and cancellation signs, opposite Heath Farm drive, turn right into the car park. Holt is situated on the A148, 22 miles north-west of Norwich.

All Saints Church, Hempstead has a thatched chancel. It is thought to have been built in the 14th century.

We walked back towards the road and just before it we turned right along a path with the wood on our right. We ignored all the paths off. Our path took us to the road where we turned right along it.

We passed the Old Mill on the left and the River Glaven on our right. We ignored a path to the left, then soon took the signed path right, a track beside the field edge. By the electric pole, the path went down right, then left with a hedge on the left.

At the corner we climbed the stile and passed the pond on the left. We climbed the next stile and walked up across the meadow under the watchful eyes of Sam the donkey and his companion. We climbed the stile, went to the lane with a duck and geese pond on the right and continued along the narrow country lane.

Opposite a bungalow and at the footpath and yellow marker signs we turned right, going over the bridge, and continued along the path with a ditch on the right.

Echoes of the past rear up in the form of an arch in Holt Country Park. It was once part of a driveway leading to Holt Lodge.

We ignored the turn right and at the second earth bridge, with a white-topped pole, we went right, then left and followed the path around, going through the kissing gate with the church on our left. We crossed the road and went along Chapel Lane, ignoring a path on the right.

At the top of the hill we turned right along a tree-lined track, Back Lane. At the end, we ignored a path left. We turned right along the country road, admiring the gardens we passed. At a T-junction we crossed over and went along the track opposite with another lovely garden on our right. Reaching the field, we crossed it on a good path between the crops. We climbed the stile and turned right along the field edge, then went left with the hedge on our right. We turned left by the barn, then went right after 30yds, with a barn on the right, along a track. At the bottom of the hill, we went left, then kept right with trees on our left. We crossed the River Glaven as our path circled right.

Going uphill and reaching the barrier, we went round it and crossed the meadow to the stile in the left-hand corner by the road. We went right, then left in the wood, climbed the stile and continued along the woodland path.

At the yellow arrow we kept left, later going round the stile and kept to the main straight track, ignoring all paths off. We turned left at the cross tracks, going through the gate and continued along the main path, ignoring all paths off. We turned right into the main entrance of the Park, then went around the wooden fence line opposite with a play area on the right. This is the new Trafalgar Drive. We ignored paths off and at the boundary turned right, soon going under the arc.

A few paces on, we turned left at some cross tracks. With a seat on the left and a fire marker, a dog bin on the right, we turned right again, ignoring paths off. At the seat we went left, then went through the gate, keeping straight ahead with factory/fence on the left. At a junction of paths our path went left, then right uphill back to the car park.

There is no pub on this walk, but in the unspoilt Georgian town of Holt there are several places where good food can be obtained all day.

t PLACES OF INTEREST:

1. Hempstead watermill and house was built by Richard John Gurney in 1830, then it was known as Holt Mill. The river was dammed by the mill thereby forming a large lake that is still above the mill today. In about 1905 the water wheel was removed and replaced by a turbine. A John Tuck was a miller and coal merchant in 1907 and he took over the mill from George Bird. In 1912 the road on the Holt side of the mill was washed away to a depth of several feet. In 1911 a bakery was built within the complex. Water for the bread-making was carried by bucket from a spring on the opposite side of the road. The turbine was also used to run a circular saw blade set in a steel bench. The River Glaven had 16 mills throughout its length at the time of Domesday.

2. The present Hempstead Hall was built in 1880, apparently on the site of a traditional Elizabethan manor house built for William King or Kynge, who died intestate in 1594. In 1946 a George Knight bought the Gurney Hempstead estate. He sold Hempstead Hall Farm to a Mr Mack, whose family still live there today. In 1988 William Mack won the first prize presented by Anglia Television for the Norfolk Farmland Conservation award.

3. The Saxon church stood to the north of the present building. It was demolished save for the west wall of the nave and part of the north wall. Today All Saints Church, Hempstead has a thatched chancel. It is thought to have been built in the 14th century.

4. Trafalgar Avenue's 17 English oaks were planted in October 2005. Local people, Holt Country Park, Holt Town Council and North Norfolk District Council all played a part in establishing this fine avenue of trees.

5. The arch was once part of a driveway which led to Holt Lodge.

Holt Country Park covers several acres. There are ponds to sit by within the woodland area with a variety of wildlife to see and hear. Some of the tracks from the main car park could be suitable for wheel chairs. The park has won a coveted Green Flag two years running. The park is owned and managed by North Norfolk District Council. There is an open-air 'teaching barn' centre thanks to a lottery grant from the Awards for All fund. For more information call Paul Ingham, park manager on 01263 516001

t MAP REFERENCES:

OS Landranger 134, Explorer 251:

088383, 097378, 100372, 105370, 109371, 109367, 105367, 089369, 088367, 084368, 081377, 085379, 087382, 088381, 088383.

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