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Three RAF personnel in the gardens at Blickling Estate with the hall in the background
Blickling Estate was home to RAF Oulton personnel during the second world war | © National Trust Images
Norfolk

Blickling Estate RAF Walk

Requisitioned by the War Office in 1940, Blickling Estate provided valuable accommodation to men and women of all ranks who served at nearby RAF Oulton during the Second World War. Walk in their footsteps to see all their major billeting sites at Blickling. There are no steep slopes making this an ideal walk for all abilities. After your walk you can visit the RAF Oulton museum located in the east wing near the house to learn more about the stories of the men and women who served at Blickling. Entry is free but please note that opening is subject to volunteer availability.

Total steps: 10

Total steps: 10

Start point

Starting grid reference TG 17652 28589 W3W: Mistaking.earth.troubles

Step 1

From the main car park facing towards the house, follow the way markers located to the left of the barn. Keep right at the tree with the seat around it and head through the white park gates ahead of you.

A metal archway over a pathway surrounded by trees
Blickling Estate RAF Walk start point | © National Trust Images/Samantha Burgess

Step 2

From the fork on this main path you can explore two nearby sites used by the WAAF’s (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) stationed at Blickling. Follow the path to the left, turn left again and through the gate, the area in front of you was the location of WAAF site 2. This included 9 Nissen huts, some of the foundations still exist today. Head back to the fork in the main path and turn left to proceed up the gentle slope. As you head up the path with the lake on your right, the wooded area to your right was the location of WAAF site 1.

Two paths leading out into Blickling Estate parkland
The fork in the pathways at start of the RAF walk near Park Gates | © National Trust Images/Samantha Burgess

Step 3

Head through the gate and follow the path round to the right towards the lake. Turn right at the corner of the lake.

View through trees of path to take at top of main path on RAF walk
RAF Walk point 3 - top of main path | © National Trust Images/Samantha Burgess

Step 4

Follow the path back towards the house, keeping the lake to your left. The path tracks gently round to the right as you head towards the house. Follow the path, finding the house to your left as you reach the end of the lake. The gardens between the path and the house were the location of RAF Dispersal site 5.

A footpath on the left, running alongside the lake on the right
RAF Walk point 4 – top of the lake | © National Trust Images/Samantha Burgess

Step 5

Back at the white park gates, head left and follow the road to go past The Buckinghamshire Arms pub, a very popular wartime haunt for RAF personnel. Take the path to your left after the pub.

Road with the Buckinghamshire Arms pub on the right
RAF Walk – The Buckinghamshire Arms | © National Trust Images/Samantha Burgess

Step 6

Follow the path past the front drive of the house and head to the church gate.

Two bollards marking the route outside the Orchard
RAF Walk point 6 – bollard outside the Orchard | © National Trust Images/Samantha Burgess

Step 7

Head into the churchyard. Turning your back to the church door, look across the main road to the field beyond. This was the location of the NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes). In the churchyard you can also see the grave of Sergeant Leslie Billington behind the church. You can find out more about him and his fellow aircrew in the RAF Oulton Museum. Head back out of the churchyard and take the lane to your right towards the Farmyard.

The view from the churchyard over a meadow with gravestones in the foreground
RAF Walk point 7 – the churchyard view | © National Trust Images/Samantha Burgess

Step 8

To the right of the Farmyard is the Estate yard. This was the location for RAF motorised transport. Follow the path to your right signposted 'Lake Walk' through the trees and pass through the wooden gate.

Buildings and gates making the entrance to the Estate yard and a sign for the Lake Walk
RAF Walk point 8 – the Estate yard and Lake Walk sign | © National Trust Images/Samantha Burgess

Step 9

Once you have walked through the gate, follow the path keeping the garden and orangery to your left. The area to your right was the location of RAF Dispersal site no. 4. Retrace your steps back down the path and through the gate into the Farmyard.

Tracks through grass, with the ha-ha and white orangery on the left, and trees up ahead
RAF Walk point 9 – Nissen hut site at start of Lake Walk route | © National Trust Images/Samantha Burgess

Step 10

Head down the steps or ramp from the farmyard onto the front drive. Officers were billeted in parts of the house in front of you. On the front drive you will also find access to the RAF Oulton Museum, upstairs in the east wing. The museum is located in what was once the home of Non-commissioned Officers who were billeted here. You can still find evidence of how they lived in the space in the museum. Please note that the museum is free to enter but opening is subject to volunteer availability. Unfortunately, it is not currently wheelchair accessible.

The view down the main drive to the hall at Blickling Estate
The view down the main drive to the hall at Blickling Estate | © National Trust Images/Samantha Burgess

End point

Ending grid reference TG 17882 28576 W3W: Saves.helps.essential

Trail map

Ordnance Survey map route with directions plotted for Blickling Estate RAF walk
Map route for Blickling Estate RAF walk | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Blickling Estate, Aylsham, Norfolk, NR11 6NF