Nine extraordinary derelict and abandoned sites in Norfolk

The late september light at St Benet's Abbey. Photo: Simon Finlay

The late september light at St Benet's Abbey. Photo: Simon Finlay - Credit: Archant © 2009

Across the county dozens of buildings have fallen into disuse and become shells of their former selves. The sight of which is both haunting and intriguing. Here's a look at some of the most interesting derelict sites and ruins in Norfolk.

• Little Plumstead Hospital, Little Plumstead

The former hospital for those suffering with mental illness opened in 1929 and was closed in the 1990s. Most of the buildings have since been demolished to make way for homes, but parts of the hospital still remain, including the Old Hall which cannot be demolished and instead will be converted for other use.

• All Saints Church, Billockby

Located to the east of the Acle to Stalham Road is All Saints, a partly ruined church dating back to the 13th century. The church's tower collapsed after being hit by lightening in 1762, this fall also destroyed the nave, leaving only the chancel and porch. Today these are used for public worship between Easter and September.

• Church of St Mary, East Somerton

Within the grounds of Burnley Hall, you'll find the ruins of St Mary, a 15th century perpendicular church. The building stopped being used in the 17th century, but may have began to fall to ruin before then. The structure is incredibly overgrown and today a large oak tree can be seen growing right in the middle of the nave.

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• Baconsthorpe Castle, Baconsthorpe

Baconsthorpe Castle was a moated 15th century manor house built by the Heydons, a prominent Norfolk family. The Heydons began building work on the castle in 1450, but 200 years later fell into debt and had to demolish parts of the building. Today the ruins, which consist of a three-storey gatehouse, two-storey range, two-storey projection for the drawbridge, and towers are free to enter and are looked after by English Heritage.

• St Martin's Church, Shotesham

Five miles south of Norwich is the village of Shotesham which is home to the ruins of St Martin's Church, a late medieval structure. The remains include the west tower and an aisle-less nave while the church's other features are obscured by overgrown plants. The ruins are overlooked by the surviving St Mary's Church.

• Pontins Holiday Park, Hemsby

In its heyday, the holiday park on the Norfolk coast played host to more than 2,400 guests, however Pontins was forced to close in 2008 due to a decline in bookings and has since been left to decay.

• St Benet's Abbey, Ludham

Located deep within the Norfolk Broads is St Benet's Abbey, a ruined monastery founded during the Anglo-Saxon period. The Abbey buildings have been almost completely demolished, leaving only the gatehouse and wind pump.

• Sovereign House, Norwich

Once home to Her Majesty's Stationary Office, Sovereign House in Anglia Square has been empty since the 1990s. Built in the late 1960s, the building has been earmarked for demolition for years, in line with plans to revamp Anglia Square. These plans fell through in 2009 when the credit crunch hit and thus the building remains in place.

• St James' Church, Bawsey

Four miles east of King's Lynn is the village of Bawsey, home to St James' church which can be found perched high on a hill at Church Farm. Built in the 12th century, the Romanesque church was left for ruin in the second half of the 18th century.

• Do you have any images of ruins or derelict buildings in Norfolk? Send them to

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