Circular Walk around South Walsham
The route takes in a long section of the Norfolk Broads navigable waterways including Fleet Dyke and the River Bure with stunning views over the river to the enigmatic ruins of St Benets Abbey.
This walk has two different start points depending on if you arrive by boat or car. The free car park is located in Pilson Green just on the eastern side of South Walsham Broad and the free moorings are available down Fleet Dyke (the walk passes all of the free moorings). The route takes in a long section of the Norfolk Broads navigable waterways including Fleet Dyke and the River Bure with stunning views over the river to the enigmatic ruins of St Benets Abbey. The route passes Tall Mill Drainage Mill which is along the River Bure and is a great example of an 18th Century Mill. The last section passes open marshes and follows a footpath along Upton Fen Nature Reserve with an optional extension to explore this wonderful reserve. A definite one to do for all nature lovers!
1) From the car park in Pilson Green follow the road north east down Fleet Lane. Continue to the end of the road just past the small boat yard where you will join a footpath through the trees and join the path along Fleet Dyke. This is the first section of free mooring and there are several more as you continue to head north along the river. After about 1.5km (just under a mile) the footpath turns right and follows the River Bure. On the opposite side of the river you will see the ruins of St Benets Abbey church and gatehouse/mill. Continue along the riverside footpath for 2.75km (1.7 Miles) where you will arrive at the junction between the River Bure and River Thurne. The path swings sharply round to the right here and starts to head south along the River Bure towards a windmill. Its about 1.15km (¾ of a mile) to the mill which is the point you start heading away from the river.
2) Once you arrive at the mill there is a straight track leading off to the right (which is the main track to the windmill). Head through the gate behind the mill and follow the track for 1km (0.6 Miles) where you will join a concrete farm track. Turn left here and continue along the track until you arrive at a country lane. Turn right and follow Prince of Wales Road for about 850m (0.5 Miles) and look out for a track on the right next to a driveway which is a public footpath.
3) Follow this track way which joins a footpath heading west towards some woodlands. After 350m the path turns right and follows the edge of the woodlands around Upton Fen Nature Reserve with a little section actually heading through the reserve on a boardwalk. Eventually you will arrive at a point where there is a gate on the right and the path turns left. Right will take you into the nature reserve along permissive paths so if you have time it is worth looking around. To continue the walk turn left towards the farm and once in the farmyard turn right to follow the country lane out and up to a junction.
4) Turn right here and follow Marsh Road past Woodland Park Equestrian Centre where it joins a footpath round to a cottage. Continue left past the cottage and then shortly after on the right is a footpath along the edge of the field that takes you back to the car park.
Route and photographs supplied by Joe Jackson.