Peter James, of Nor­folk Ram­blers, takes us for a walk near the pretty town of Holt

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

This month we go to Holt Coun­try Park


Park on the main car park, ac­cessed from the B1149, where there is a vis­i­tor cen­tre and toi­lets. Start with your back to the vis­i­tor cen­tre and walk across the car park to find a large wooden post with the cir­cu­lar walks way­mark ar­rows on and a carv­ing of mush­rooms at the top. Fol­low the blue ar­rows along the path through the woods.

When the path gets close to a pond, bear round to the left fol­low­ing the blue ar­row and fork right at the next junc­tion along a broad straight path. Go through a gap be­tween gate posts (gate miss­ing) and cross a track; con­tinue ahead and at the next T-junc­tion turn right, then bend round to the left with the path, cross an­other track with a metal gate on your right. Con­tinue ahead, turn right and out onto the Hemp­stead Road. Carry on along the road, over a stream and pass two old flint build­ings on your left, a for­mer mill. As the road rises, pass Hawksmere on your left; at the top of the hill as the road bends round to the left, turn right onto a signed track along a field edge.

At a junc­tion of fields bear a lit­tle to the right then to the left, just be­fore go­ing un­der power lines. Walk down the left edge of the field with the power lines on your right. Fol­low the path to­wards Hemp­stead Hall past a pond on your left and over a stile and con­tinue to­wards farm build­ings.

Fol­low a track to the left then to the right, pass­ing the en­trance of Hemp­stead Hall. Keep to the drive­way; ig­nore a path on the left just past a house, then, op­po­site a bun­ga­low with a long ley­landii hedge, turn right over a foot­bridge to a field path. As it ap­proaches some trees cross a ditch to the right, con­tinue ahead for a short dis­tance, bear round to the right along the field edge and then bend left to All Saints Church, Hemp­stead.

This de­light­ful lit­tle church has its origins in the 11th cen­tury and ev­ery cen­tury up to the 20th has made some al­ter­ation or ad­di­tion. The tower, no taller than the rest of the church, is just at­tached by one cor­ner. Con­tinue (ei­ther in­side or out­side the church­yard) to a road and turn left. 2 As the road curves to the left, and just be­yond a ter­race of very at­trac­tive cot­tages, turn right through a gap be­side a field gate. Con­tinue to a road, cross into a field and turn right along the field edge ad­ja­cent to the road.

As the wa­ter tower comes into view, at a cross­ing field bound­ary turn left along the field edge with the hedge on your right; con­tinue along the field edge to a cor­ner. Go through a gap and turn right along a hedged path, then a field edge to a tar­mac lane with Straw­berry Patch on your left and fur­ther over to the left Beck­ett’s Farm.

Cross the track and con­tinue ahead along a hedged lane. Turn left along Hall Lane to Hall Farm and Ba­con­sthorpe Cas­tle. Turn right, then left through the car park and into the cas­tle. With a moat on three sides and a mere on the eastern side, the set­ting is idyl­lic for this for­ti­fied manor house, built in the 15th cen­tury by the Hey­don fam­ily. Within 200 years fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties forced its par­tial de­mo­li­tion and sale of the stone for build­ing ma­te­ri­als. The ru­ins are now in the care of English Her­itage and it is open at all rea­son­able times and there are in­for­ma­tive dis­play pan­els out­lin­ing the his­tory.


Emerg­ing from the cas­tle turn left out of the car park along the ac­cess track. Just be­fore a bend and a cat­tle grid turn right over a foot­bridge, and then go ahead

Above: Hemp­stead Hall

Bot­tom: Ba­con­sthorpe Cas­tle

Be­low: Totem pole, Holt Coun­try Park

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