I walked this, the 9th stage of my Grand Norfolk Hike, on Saturday 11th March 2012.
Phew, this was a walk and a half I can tell you. Including the walk to Ely station I covered 25 miles, probably the furthest I’ve ever walked. Yes, I was knackered by the time I arrived in Diss but after a pint and a bag of chips I could have walked a few more, good to know that.
Actually the key to walking long distances is a) sunny skies b) interesting countryside, both make everything that much easier.
I caught the early train (7.30am) from Ely and arrived in Thetford 15 minutes later. I took the quick route out of town and an hour or so later was having a tea break outside the pretty church of Brettenham.
At Knettishall Heath I finally arrived at the trailhead of the Angles Way.
At one point I was followed by a flock of sheep, nosily demanding to be fed. Only the natural border of the Little Ouse river kept them from mobbing me.
I arrived in the Suffolk village of Hopton about 11.30am, sadly too early for a pint. A quick look at the map showed me another village with a pub in Thelnetham not far off the path some 40 minutes walk away, perfect!
A sad sight met me at the village, the White Horse was no more. Closed village pubs are one of the most depressing sights in the countryside, once closed they are gone for ever and will no doubt be turned into a holiday home for some wealthy Londoner.
Soon after the pub disapointment my spirits were lifted by passing through the lovely Redgrave & Lopham Fen, ‘the largest remaining river valley fen in England and the source of the River Waveney’ according to the website. The source of the Little Ouse is also nearby. I took a break at this point and finished the last of my tea.
By this time I was starting to tire and began to take more regular rests. At one point I lay flat on my back for ten minutes, I was about to drop off into a pleasant nap when I heard a voice:
‘Are you okay?’, asked a concerned looking walker.
‘Uh, yeah, sure’ I replied, ‘just walked from Thetford and I’m taking a rest’.
She gave me an odd look and went on her way.
From here on I followed the River Waveney into Diss. The afternoon sun cast a golden glow over the surrounding countryside, it was all very serene.
I shot a little video reportage: