Blickling to Calthorpe Circular walk, Blickling, Norfolk
If you fancy a slightly longer walk, try this 7.5 mile walk visiting villages around the Blickling Estate seeing various points of interest on the way including the Mausoleum, Blickling Great Wood, the Holiday Cottage known as the Tower and Blickling Mill.
Blickling main car park TG176285.
From the main Blickling car park, take the gravelled path passing the shop, toilets and Visitor Centre on your right. Pass through the wooden rails and turn left on to the drive marked “Park and lake”.
Turn right at the “tree seat” following Weavers’ Way and pass through the gates to the park. Take the gravelled track straight ahead of you and as this rises, you will have views over the lake to your right.
Pass through a set of gates and follow the Weavers Way to the right, which soon passes around the end of the lake. Just before some gates, turn left and follow a path through woodland to a car park and exit onto a lane.
Turn right and after 225 metres pass through a kissing gate on the left to follow Weavers’ Way across a meadow. Cross a wooden foot bridge and then the “Chinese” bridge and turn right to follow the River Bure to another kissing gate.
From here the path follows a low causeway, crossing a wooden foot bridge and exits the meadow via a kissing gate. Follow the hedged track and pass houses on either side. On reaching the lane turn left.
After 215 metres turn right onto a track (known as Beech Lane) still following Weavers’ Way. Presently Weavers’ Way leaves the track on the left hand side via a public footpath which runs beside a fenced field.
At the end of the path turn right onto a lane and then immediately left and follow the lane to Erpingham village.
Before reaching the Village you will pass the site of an old mill. Erpingham was one of the very places in the Norfolk to have both a watermill and a windmill on the same site. At the time of the photograph taken during the latter part of the nineteenth century, both appear to be in good condition and working and the watermill had probably recently been either be newly painted or renovated. The watermill had a brick ground floor, white weatherboard upper floors and a Norfolk pantile roof. By 1894 the windmill had disappeared, and by 1965, the rest of the mill, now being used as an old barn being played in by children, for safety reasons, was filled with straw and burnt down. Little now remains.
At the T-junction in the village turn left, leave Weavers’ Way and follow The Street to Calthorpe. As the road bears right continue straight on (signed to Wolterton). Pass the church (Our Lady and St Margaret) on the left and just after, at the crossroads, turn left.
Our Lady and St Margaret
Our Lady and St Margaret sits in a walled churchyard above the narrow lanes of this tiny village. In appearance it is almost entirely 19th century; only the chancel was not refaced in un-knapped flint by the Victorians, but these have mellowed with age and only the tower still appears rather stark. The east window is very pleasing with its narrow interlocking tracery and clear glass panes. It pre-dates the Victorians, dating from a restoration in the 1820s. There is also an interesting green font, with a towering 20th century font cover, typical of the style in red and green.
Follow the lane, going down the hill (the lane drops well below the level of the surrounding fields) and take the lane on the right. Follow this lane as it zig-zags between arable fields.
Continue following the lane, passing a restricted byway on the right. After a while the lane ends at a track and a farm drive signed as a public footpath. Take the track straight ahead, crossing the footbridge over the River Bure and when you meet the road turn right.
Pass Blickling Mill on your right and 100 metres later turn left into Blickling Great Wood, cross a stile and follow the path through the woods. Great Wood has been a feature of the park at Blickling since its earliest medieval times, and its ancient boundaries survive as low banks in the undergrowth. Bluebells are plentiful in Spring.
The original Blickling Mill was burnt down some time before 1559, and the National Archives at Kew, show that in that summer it was rebuilt, apparently from the ground up, by Sir James Boleyn, then lord of the Blickling manor and resident in the old ‘Boleyn’ Blickling Hall. The mill sits just at the end of a long section of meadows naturally set above even the winter water levels. Downstream the land on either bank is very low and boggy. No better site for a mill could be envisaged along this long stretch of the river. In the early 1900’s it had three storeys, and in the 1930's after becoming derelict and dangerous, the top two storeys were removed. The old attached Mill House is now used as a National Trust Holiday Cottage.
After 100 metres go straight on over the cross-tracks along a woodland ride. Pass a bench on your left and just ahead the ride forks – take the right hand fork. Follow the ride, ignoring side paths, until you reach a clearing with the mausoleum on your left.
The Mausoleum is grade II* listed and was designed by architect Joseph Bonomi the Elder, based on the Roman tomb of Cestius Gallus. After the death of the 2nd Earl, John Hobart in 1793, one of his four daughters had the Mausoleum built to commemorate him. His two wives, Mary Anne (Drury) and Caroline (Conolly), are also buried in the Mausoleum with him. Have a look through the windows and go round the back to read the memorial stone, topped by a magnificent bull - the emblem of the Hobart family.
When you have finished at the Mausoleum pass by and turn right onto a path. The path will meet a track at which point you can see The Tower in the distance in front of you.
Seen across the field from the walk, and now luxurious National Trust holiday accommodation, the Tower was built for the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire, John Hobart, and his guests to watch horse races. During WW2, RAF officers were known to play golf nearby.
Turn left onto the track; follow it through a gate and back through the parkland to the entrance. From here you can retrace your steps to the car park and the end of your walk. Depending on the time of the year, and time of your walk, what better time to visit the hall and/or one of the catering outlets.
Blickling main car park TG176285.
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