REVIEW: 27 October, 2020
Paths Less Traveled Walk
Just before the latest lockdown, we were able to enjoy our ‘Path less traveled'
) walk: a collection of routes which for various reasons
are not often included in our itineraries. In spite of an adverse weather
forecast, all 12 who had booked set off from The Neatherd in light rain, which,
against predictions, soon stopped and then held off until the last few yards
some 2½ hours later.
Notwithstanding the walk’s theme, the initial part of the walk took us along
the familiar territory of Shillings Lane, on to Restricted Byway 28, then to
pass north of Etling Green and on along the section beyond Rookery Farm and down
to Gooch’s Cottages. This section was, until a few years ago, all but
impassable by the Farm, subject to considerable overgrowth, and ‘enjoying’
shoulder high nettles just before it emerged on to Mowles Road. Following a
Sunday morning session with a chain saw and other complementary equipment, the
route has been open ever since, though most years needing attention to keep the
nettles down. Apart from this growth, another reason why it has been little used
is because Mowles Road is a fast (derestricted) and bendy road without a
footway, so is not an enticing walk (there is a field edge which offers a safe
passage, but there is no right to use it).
So we retraced our steps beyond the Farm, then to diverge across the field to
Etling Green - a route made most welcoming by the perfect actions of the
landholder in making a clear path through his field.
At the end of the field, we followed the path through the garden of Number 3 to
come out on Etling Green. We have been asking Norfolk County Council to put some
waymarks up here to assure walkers that they have the right to follow the path
through the garden (a route known and accepted by the householder).
We crossed the northern part of the Green - the path there doesn’t manage to
follow the legal line, but as it’s open space, that isn’t a problem.
Then we made our way around the edge of the southern part of the Green, on the
far side of what used to be the A47 before the bypass was built. Our path then
took us up and across the current A47 - here a dual carriageway, but with a
break in the central reservation barriers which allowed us to cross safely in
two groups of 6.
On the other side, a cross field path had not been re‑established after
ploughing, so made for rather soft and sticky going, though fortunately there
hadn’t been enough recent rain to make it really difficult (though we were all
an extra inch taller when we reached the road!).
Continuing south, we crossed further fields to reach one of the more recently
established Restricted Byways, the course of the former Cherry Lane; here we
turned east. Had we, as we were legally entitled to do, followed Restricted
Byway 3, it would have taken us across a field to reach the track connecting
Dumpling Green with Mattishall Road. But the byway has long (and unlawfully)
been ploughed out, and we continue to press Norfolk County Council to reinstate
it or establish an acceptable diversion. We took an unofficial diversion down to
the track, then headed back towards Dumpling Green,
turning north up Footpath 25 (Green Lane) and on to the bridge across the A47.
From here, we followed the Restricted Byway that runs west parallel to the A47.
It’s not the most pleasant route, receiving lots of litter from the layby on the
dual carriageway: we have tried to persuade Highways England and the other
authorities to take action to stop this, but without success so far. This track
reaches the Greens Road Industrial Estate, which we left along the shared cycle
track and footway to Greenfield Road.
We passed the building site for the new estate being constructed, but focused
our attention on the Windmill: we walked through the grounds, out on to Cherry
Lane, across Norwich Road, up the side of the High School and back to The
Neatherd: satisfying collection of rarely used paths.
Walk promotion flyer
(pdf, opens in new tab).
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