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Archives for May, 2023

Ridgeway Redux

May 31st, 2023

I’ve been wanting to go back and walk along the ridgeway for ages: I haven’t been since 2017. Well I finally made it last weekend and walked westward from Foxhill near Swindon to the Thames at Streatley.

My favourite part is always the neolithic sites at Wayland’s Smithy and Uffington Castle, and truth be told, once I passed those it became a bit of a slog. It was really hot and the sun felt pretty intense with no shade or clouds. After 27 miles of trekking I returned home by rail replacement bus, yay.

The Hundred Foot Drain

May 21st, 2023

I first heard of the Hundred Foot Drain when I walked to Downham Market last year and I’ve wanted to go back and visit it ever since.

The Hundred Foot Drain is clearly longer than 100 feet

It’s an completely straight man-made river dug in the 17th century to drain the surrounding fens, much to the annoyance of the local fen-folk.

The surrounding countryside is mostly below sea level as well as being utterly featureless so predictably after a few miles of walking along the overgrown bank it became interminably dull and I decided to break off and head to the nearby town of March.

Wind farm next to the River Nene

March is a perfectly pleasant market town although I arrived too late to visit the local museum or other attractions. It’s also incidentally the start of the March March march which I might be forced to attempt at some point.

Centre of March

Hunstanton to Holkham Nature Reserve

May 13th, 2023

Off on another adventure to the remotest northern part of wildest Norfolk!

I continued along the coast from where I left off in Hunstanton a few months ago. I planned to walk as far as Wells-next-the-Sea but as usually that proved overly optimistic. It took ages to get back to Hunstanton – 50 minutes on the train to Kings Lynn and then another hour on a bus – so I didn’t get started until well after 11. It was also a Sunday which turned out to be a major mistake as the last bus back was at 18:30. I strode briefly onto the sands dunes at Holkham nature reserve several miles from my destination around 17:50 realised there was no way I was going to complete this mission and so retreated to the nearest bus stop at the bizarrely named Burnham Overy Staithe.

Burnham Overy Staithe

I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as my earlier walk from Kings Lynn to Hunstanton. Despite being near the sea I hardly saw any of it (it’s all marshes) and the scenery was rather featureless and bleak. The occasional fishing villages like the one above were pleasant enough I suppose, although not enough to justify the faffing required to get there and back.