Walk:

Peter James of Nor­folk Ram­blers takes us on a lovely walk for a June day

EDP Norfolk - - EDP NORFOLK MAGAZINE -

We’re out around Rock­land Broad this month

DIREC­TIONS

1 Leave the car park by the bridge across the head of the staithe and turn left along the Wher­ry­man’s Way. Con­tinue past Rock­land Broad, where you may wish to pause to take ad­van­tage of the bird hide, then fol­low the path beside the broad to Short Dyke. Turn right, fol­low­ing Short Dyke to the bank of the River Yare; fol­low this, pass­ing the pump­ing sta­tion.

Just be­fore the gate to the Beauchamp Arms leave the Wher­ry­man’s Way and turn right on a path lead­ing away from the river. Beside a dyke at the gate pass through and fol­low the track to the road.

2 At the road turn right and cross to the pave­ment. Fol­low this past Folly Lane; at the end of the pave­ment you pass a thatched barn con­ver­sion – you take the re­stricted by­way on the left and fol­low for 800 metres to the brow where you come to a track be­fore the elec­tric py­lons; this is Slade Lane. Turn right and you have good views of the coun­try­side in all direc­tions.

Fol­low the track to the end, turn right then left onto a nar­row path beside the gar­dens. This brings you into the church­yard. Go through the church­yard to the gate to a road.

3 Cross the road to an­other path, fol­low around the field edge and then pass through a gap in the hedge. Go di­ag­o­nally across the field; at the track turn right, fol­low the track round to the road.

Pass­ing Bur­ton’s Farm turn left and con­tinue un­til, shortly af­ter cross­ing a stream, the road swings to the right.

4 Turn left away from the bend on to a track lead­ing to­wards a house; where the foot­path then goes down to the left fol­low­ing around the bound­ary, con­tinue along a field edge.

Fol­low the signs round to the right, then left through trees and then right again on a clear track lead­ing to the road at Rock­land St Mary. Turn right and back to the start.

POINTS OF IN­TER­EST

ARock­land Broad and Marshes RSPB Habi­tats at Rock­land Marshes in­clude reedbeds, wet grass­land, wet wood­land, pools, ponds and ditches. Work on the reedbeds in­cludes re­mov­ing scrub and in­va­sive plants, sum­mer mow­ing and graz­ing and sea­sonal flood­ing. The fen meadow is also man­aged for its flora and breed­ing snipe by main­tain­ing water lev­els, clear­ing rushes, graz­ing and mow­ing, and tram­pling with live­stock to cre­ate boggy ground. There are plans to re­store more of this habi­tat.

The wet grass­land is looked af­ter for the ben­e­fit of win­ter­ing

wa­ter­fowl and breed­ing waders, us­ing graz­ing and top­ping to cre­ate suit­able sward heights. En­croach­ing rushes and scrub are cut back and ditch water lev­els con­trolled.

Wet wood­land is man­aged for key breed­ing birds, in­clud­ing war­blers, wil­low tits and bullfinche­s. The pools, ponds and ditches are looked af­ter for the ben­e­fit of aquatic flora, wild­fowl, ot­ters, water voles and bit­terns. Work in­cludes main­tain­ing ditch edges, im­prov­ing water qual­ity, re­mov­ing veg­e­ta­tion from open pools and in­creas­ing the num­ber of fish.

Birds you may be for­tu­nate enough to see around Rock­land in­clude mal­lard, tufted duck, com­mon tern, grey­lag goose, Canada goose, heron, king­fisher and great crested grebe. The Broads were long thought to be a nat­u­ral fea­ture, but they are now known to be the re­sult of me­dieval peat dig­gings.

BFine an­cient church St An­drew’s is Nor­man and al­though much al­tered and added to over the cen­turies it re­tains the at­mos­phere of a sim­ple coun­try church – in­clud­ing the un­der­side of the thatch vis­i­ble in the roof.

At the end of your walk re­fresh­ments are avail­able from the New Inn.

ABOVE: Broad acres of water at Rock­land RIGHT: The route fol­lows one of the many dykes in the area

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