Exploring the rivers and villages of west Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 07:55 21 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:17 21 April 2019

Denver Sluice Complex Exlpore West Norfolk Photo: Tim Baldwin

Denver Sluice Complex Exlpore West Norfolk Photo: Tim Baldwin


Tim Baldwin’s final trip while he explores west Norfolk is to walk part of the Fen Rivers Way, whichruns for nearly 50 miles between King’s Lynn and Cambridge.

Stow Bridge Heritage Explore West Norfolk Photo: Tim BaldwinStow Bridge Heritage Explore West Norfolk Photo: Tim Baldwin

I'm going to walk from King's Lynn to Denver Sluice, writes Tim. A picturesque journey alongside the river.

I follow the Walk West Norfolk app on my phone. As I've added the journey to my itinerary I don't even need wi-fi or mobile phone signal to follow it which is rather handy when out in rural Norfolk.

My first stop, five miles in, is at Wiggenhall St Germans. Nestled beside the east bank of the river is the village shop, a hair dresser and public house.

Further along is Magdalen, a special feature of the village is a tidal bore or wave which can form on the river near the village. Dependent on particular lunar and tidal conditions, this phenomenon can occur when water from the Wash funnels into the river Great Ouse and forms a wave or waves as the river narrows at Eau brink, north of the village. Swimmers, canoers and spectators will often be drawn in to experience the spectacle.

Stow Bridge Exlpore West Norfolk Photo: Tim BaldwinStow Bridge Exlpore West Norfolk Photo: Tim Baldwin

The next stops are Stow Bridge and Wimbotsham. Then into Downham Market, one of Norfolk's oldest market towns. Dating back to Saxon times.

The train station is close to the river. This grade II listed building and signal box are well worth a visit.

Following the Willows Nature Reserve Walk, passed the pond and broadleaf woodland and in to town I stop at Discover Downham. With exhibits that show how the town's local trades, communities and location helped shape it. Of course when in Downham, a visit to the town square and the clock are always required.

I head back to the river towards Salters Lode and my final destination, Denver Sluice.

Downham Walks Exlpore West Norfolk Photo: Tim BaldwinDownham Walks Exlpore West Norfolk Photo: Tim Baldwin

Denver village is home of the historic windmill. Welcoming visitors to look around the mill tower and exhibitions. Keen Great British Bakeoff fans can even try a baking course.

The Denver Sluice complex manages the heart of the Great Ouse River System and a range of other systems that converge at Denver. Situated at the confluence of five watercourses.

The home of West Norfolk Rowing Club and Denver Sailing Club, the sluice plays a key role in river navigation, conservation, water abstraction, agricultural, land drainage and fisheries.

An impressive setup, the first sluice was built in 1651, although it had to be rebuilt after bursting in 1713. Today you can visit a small information centre and, as a group, pre-book a guided tour.

Magdalen Village Heritage Explore West Norfolk Photo: Tim BaldwinMagdalen Village Heritage Explore West Norfolk Photo: Tim Baldwin

A popular location for pleasure boaters and people wanting to relax by the water. While here I spot the pub with waterside gardens and head in to relax after my 14 mile walk from King's Lynn.

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