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Sue Walker, The Ramblers
Thursday, March 29, 2012
New Buckenham is a small village based on a still-intact medieval ‘grid pattern’. Among a number of 16th century houses is the market house on stilts, two pubs and local shops.
Start: New Buckenham Village Hall car park
Map: Explorer 237 grid ref 088907
Public transport: 0871 2002233, The Semmence Bus 10A runs from Norwich
There is a large common designated a Conservation Area to the east of the village.
On the edge of the village are the remains of New Buckenham Castle, built around 1150 by William II de Albini to replace Old Buckenham Castle. The circular keep is the earliest in England.
Leaving the car park, turning left into Church Street, then go left again into Grange Road to pass the church on the right. At the end, turn left on to the footway beside the B1113. Bear left into Wymondham Road (with a ‘No Through Road’ sign). The cycleway continues with The Common and Spittle Mere on the right. Pass through two gates. Continue to the junction with Upgate Street, cross the road and turn left along it.
Soon after going round a left bend turn right at a finger post and follow the path past South Farm on the left. Go through a small gate beside a hedge and cross the bridge beyond. Then turn left and follow the field edge beside a hedge and then a ditch.
Just after the hedge ends, continue to a footbridge across the ditch and a path junction with a post and way-marks. Cross the bridge and continue to the right on the other side of the ditch, which is now on the right of the path. On reaching Rode Lane, turn left then, after a few metres, turn right into another finger-posted path. Follow this until the next path junction at the far end of the woodland. Cross the ditch via the bridge and turn right passing through the end of the woods, then keeping straight ahead to a row of seven poplars.
After the trees turn left beside the hedge and continue to a stile in the corner and out to the road (Church Road) on the other side. Turn right and walk to the staggered junction in Hargate.
Cross the B1113 r o a d diagonally rightwards into Fen Road and continue to a junction. Turn right into Ash Lane. Go past Fen Farm, Ash Farm and Boundary Fruit Farms, and then, just after a farm track on the left, look for a finger post on the left with a Tas Valley Trail marker. The direction that the finger-post points in is an opening into the side garden of a property. Take this path into the garden and on to another post with a marker sign.
Cross over a dirt bridge and proceed past the post and beside some leylandii on the left following the footpath signs to the hedge.
Turn right here, following the way-marks, and go through the hedge to the side of a field. Proceed ahead with the field on the left, and the hedge and then a ditch on the right heading for some distant buildings. Ignore the footbridge oto the right and follow the path to cross a dirt bridge beside a marker post. With the ditch now on the left, continue straight ahead towards Shrubbery Farm. At the farmtrack, head for the yellow gate where the path continues by the left of the gate and the right of a tree. Follow this to the front of the farm buildings to a way-mark that points to the right of a small wall and the left of the ditch. Carry on along this path, keeping on the Tas Valley Way.
When the path reaches Fir Covert Road, turn right and after about 200m take the path with a finger-post on the left. Follow the post direction and head for a small footbridge over a ditch with a marker post. Cross the bridge and turn right, keeping the field to the left and the ditch to the right, and proceed to the next bridge over the ditch. Turn right across the bridge and pass through a small gate. Follow the way-marks pointing off to the left. The direction of this path is about 45 degrees from the corner of the meadow just entered. Head down this meandering path in the general direction of four oak trees in front of Dove Barn.
Cross the tracks to both Dove Barn and Turnpike Lodge, then follow the path that heads to and follows the hedge on the right side of the meadow and on to a gate. Pass through the gate and two stiles then cross the field to a track (you may need to skirt the edge of the field instead). Turn left at the track and then right after a few metres at the corner. Keep to the right side of this field until this path meets another coming in from the left at the end of another track. Turn right up this track and then left at the first turning (Marsh Lane). Follow this lane to King Street and Castle Hill Road junction. Cross the road and turn left along Castle Hill Road.
Take the path to the castle, which goes off to the right, and follow it round to the right to a path junction. Turn right and pass to the rear of the castle and moat. This path continues alongside a field with St Martin’s Gardens to the right. At the lane, cross over and keep ahead back to the village hall.
•This article was first published in December 2011.