Colkirk

Charles and Joy Boldero enjoy a seven-mile walk around Colkirk near Fakenham. This can be a seven-mile walk or an 11½-mile walk. It starts at Oxwick, parking on the wide grass verge and not on the nicely close mown one.

Charles and Joy Boldero enjoy a seven-mile walk around Colkirk near Fakenham.

This can be a seven-mile walk or an 11½-mile walk. It starts at Oxwick, parking on the wide grass verge and not on the nicely close mown one. Use the first map reference to locate parking. Oxwick is situated on a minor road three miles south of Fakenham. Most of the paths were in good order and there were no stiles en route. This seven-mile walk ties up with the 4½-mile Whissonsett walk which appeared in the October 13 edition of EDP Sunday and which we had to cut short.

We went northwards along the country lane. At the right-hand bend we kept straight ahead to a finger-post sign. (if starting from Whissonsett, this is where the walks join - ignore here the turn right and follow this walk's route to ** below).

We kept along the track then along the field edge. We then dropped down onto the track. At the country lane we went right. We turned left into Gormans Lane, just before the 'school notice' road sign.


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At a right-hand bend by the church we went left, signed 'Restricted by-way' along a track which became hedged. There were good views along here to admire. We crossed the lane and continued along the field edge footpath opposite.

Bearing right through the wooded area, we went down hill at the field edge with trees on the left. At the yellow marker sign on the left by the wood we went diagonally right across the field (no path) to the yellow marker.

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We crossed the bridge and went along the hedged path to a road. We turned left along the grass verge, then crossed the main road going along the country lane, signed Shereford. We turned right at the cross roads, signed Fakenham.

Just before the main road we turned right into a country lane. We crossed the main road and continued along the country lane opposite. At a T-junction we crossed the road and went along the track opposite.

Further along we ignored a track diagonally left and the hedge was on our right on our track. At the end, by a house, we turned right along the country lane. Where the road divides, with a village sign on the Green, we kept left. It went left, then right, becoming Crown Road with the pub on the right.

We continued along this road, ignoring a turn left. At the junction, we kept round right and then took the left turn, Whissonsett Road. We kept along this road ignoring a path left. **At the second sign post, 'Restricted byway', we turned right along it, then left at a T-junction of tracks, turning left along the country lane to the start of the Oxwick walk.

(If you are doing the longer walk, starting from Whissonsett, then at ** ignore the turn right and keep along the road using the instructions of the Whissonsett walk).

t PLACES OF INTEREST:

1. Oxwick is a scattered rural village, with a ruined church.

2. St Mary's Church, Colkirk. The tower is thought to date back to the 14th century. The windows have an elegance about them thanks to the steeply pitched 'basket' hood moulds extending well down below the curve of the arch. One of the gems is the big angle piscina in the chancel. At the west end is a chunky round Norman font.

3. All Saints' Church, Tofttrees, has a square 15th century tower. The south doorway, now blocked, dates to the 13th century. Inside, the font draws the eye. It is said to be one of the finest Norman examples in the county, boasting a square oatmeal coloured bowl, which has barbaric looking animal heads at each corner holding a knotted rope trail in their mouths.

Tofttrees was once an important Roman crossroads. A road ran through it south from the coast and this formed the west boundary to Holkham Park and the Hundred boundary. Another Roman road was from Tofttrees to North Elmham. This road ran through Tofttrees via Horningtoft, where it was also used as a manor park boundary. Other roads radiated from Tofttrees as this was an important Roman site. A third, Tofttrees-Pickenham, went through West Raynham, where it joined the Peddars Way.

4. The Crown Inn at Colkirk gave us a warm welcome and there was an extensive choice on the blackboard menu. Charles had a pint of Ruddles Hedgerow. The pub is open seven days a week.

The village is an old one and famous names connected with it include Ralph Tatham (rector 1816-1857) who held the post of Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University, the actor, Karl Howman, who played 'Jacko' in the television sit-com Brush Strokes and was brought up in the village, and artist, Richard Foster.

t MAP REFERENCES:

OS Landranger, 132, Explorer 235

913249, 911252, 909259, 917265, 906271, 900275, 899274, 896281, 907283, 907282, 918273, 921264, 919262, 918252, 911252, 913249.

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