I walked this, the 8th stage of my Grand Norfolk Hike, on Sunday 26th February 2012.
I arrived at Brandon at about 9.30am on a beautiful sunny morning and within a few minutes was strolling alongside the Little Ouse river as it winds its way through the forest towards Thetford.
I love this walk. I’ve done stretches and variations of it three or four times over the years and never fail to be bewitched by the beautiful, slow moving river, the forest, the birds and flowers.
After an hour of walking I reached the village of Santon Downham where I stopped for a cup of tea on a bench not far from the pretty 12th century church.
The sun was out and becoming warmer, a light fresh breeze moved through the trees and I found myself remembering how I felt on my earliest solo hikes when I’d cycle down to the North Downs at the age of 13. A fine, carefree, joyous feeling of freedom and the simple happiness of being alive.
Refreshed, I left Santon Downham and continued following the Little Ouse.
As I walked I kept my eye open for potential wild camping bivy-bag spots, a few places caught my attention.
This location looks perfect, imagine waking up to this view. Not far away were groups of snowdops. It’s wonderful how one can find places of relative isolation so near to the hustle and bustle of town life. I didn’t see another person on this stretch of the route.
I sat down a while for lunch. The day had become very warm and I was able to lie back on the river bank, sunbathing in my t-shirt, early summer weather in February, incredible!
I had reached the midway point and after half an hour dozing on the river bank I decided to shoot a little video reportage before setting off on the last leg of the hike.
Two thoughts on these video clips:
- I should hold the camera horizontally, not vertically
- I don’t have to point the camera at my face when talking
With thoughts of a pint in Thetford I set off once more.
On reaching Thetford I decided against a pint and took the train home instead. There’s something about Thetford that doesn’t feel that welcoming, maybe it’s just me.
This is one of the finest walks in the area, it really is lovely.