Oxborough

Charles and Joy Boldero enjoys a nine-mile walk around Oxborough. The paths were in good order when we strode out on this nine-mile walk. We parked by the village sign and church in Oxborough, which is situated on a minor road six miles south-west of Swaffham.

Charles and Joy Boldero enjoys a nine-mile walk around Oxborough.

The paths were in good order when we strode out on this nine-mile walk. We parked by the village sign and church in Oxborough, which is situated on a minor road six miles south-west of Swaffham.

With the church on our right, we walked along the country lane with the Bedingfield Arms on the right. We continued past the 'No Thro Rd' sign and after 50 yards turned right at a finger post sign with a new house on the left.

We went between fence and hedge then over a stile and kept along the field edge. We crossed the track and continued to a footpath sign, with the hedge on the right. We climbed the stile, with the hedge now on the left. We went diagonally right and climbed the stile by the River Gadder.


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We turned right, going over the river bridge along the country lane, then right along Chalkrow Road. Opposite some farm buildings we turned left at a bridleway sign along a track.

We went left along the country lane and after about 300 yards turned right along another track which was unsigned, though a house can be seen ahead. We ignored a track on the left, then turned left at a T-junction of tracks, keeping straight down it to the road.

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We crossed the road and continued along the road opposite, signed Swaffham. Reaching the T-junction, we crossed the road and went along the wide track (unsigned) opposite with a line of electric poles. We kept ahead at the farm buildings, along a track between fields, towards trees ahead. We ignored a track on the left and a copse and tracks on our right. The track we followed became a country lane. We went through the kissing gate by a sign on the left and crossed the sheep field diagonally, going through another kissing gate and over a bridge into the wood. We ignored a path on the right in the wood and continued beside the hedge at the field edge.

At the yellow marker we went between fences on a narrow path. This brought us out at the inn in Beachamwell. We kept the inn on our left and walked along the country lane which became a rough track.

We went through the gateway and kept towards the ruined church on our right and went through the small gate in the fence line and took the wide grass track across the fields to the road. We turned left along the country lane and at the sharp left hand bend by a barn we turned right, with the stone wall on the left, along the track. We kept along this track. Just before the wood we went right along a grass track to the country lane where we turned left along it back to the start of the walk.

t PLACES OF INTEREST:

1. Oxborough has long been dominated by the moated hall which Sir Edmund Bedingfield had licence to crenellate in 1482. Henry VII and Elizabeth of York stayed there in 1487. The Bedingfield family still reside there. Sir Henry Bedingfield (1511-83) was a staunch catholic. He was one of the first to rally with Mary Tudor against Lady Jane Grey. He was made the jailer of Princess Elizabeth in the Tower at Woodstock. Although he could be a stern jailer, he ensured Princess Elizabeth was not beheaded.

The Hall is now run by the National Trust and is a place well worth visiting with its 'secret doors and priest holes'. Tel 01366 328258 for opening times.

St John Evangelist Church's original spire was struck by lightning. It was rebuilt, but 70 years later the tower and spire collapsed bringing down the whole nave roof. Thereafter, the chancel became the church and is now prefaced by a grassy forecourt. There is, in the north aisle, an arch-braced roof with traceried spandrels. The brass lectern is outstanding. It was made in East Anglia at the end of the 15th century and was given by the rector, Thomas Kyppyng. The inscription on it asks us to pray for his soul.

2. St Botolph's Church, Shingham, was in ruins when we last saw it, so it was good to see it restored. Once, when the village was called Shungham, the roof was thatched. It is a Norman building and was linked with the ruined church of All Saints, Beachamwell, which you pass later in a meadow. It is said that the ghost of Diana and her dogs haunts All Saints Church and owls hoot eerily on moonlit nights.

3. The Great Dane Inn at Beachamwell has also had a 'make over' since we last visited. We had a friendly welcome from the landlord. It is a popular inn and people come from miles around to enjoy a meal there. It opens lunchtime for food, Thursday to Mondays. However if you are in a group it's best to call in advance on 01366 328443. If you are doing this walk on a Tuesday or Wednesday the landlord could arrange to have food available for you. Charles enjoyed a pint of the guest beer Tom Woods.

The village was an ancient one in the Dark Ages. An earthwork named Devil's Dyke was built which remained within the parish boundary until 1879.

t MAP REFERENCES:

OS Landranger 143/144 Explorer 236:

744015, 754020, 753015, 761014, 762015, 777017, 775024, 771031, 763048, 762052, 752023, 751050, 743038, 744034, 744027, 739024, 744015.

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