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Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Iceni Way - Kings Lynn to Hunstanton

Castle Rising

A 20 mile walk along the Kings Lynn to Hunstanton section of the Iceni Way

There is no official footpath or right of way to walk the complete distance along the coast between Kings Lynn and Hunstanton. It can be done by navigating the defence banks and farm tracks and ignoring the odd 'No Access' sign. However, an alternative walk to link these two towns is to use the Iceni Way. This is a walk designated by the Ramblers using existing tracks and footpaths linking the interesting and scenic villages of Castle Rising, Sandringham and Dersingham before it navigates back to the shores of the Wash at Snettisham. With vast expanses of sand when the tide is out, this part of the coast is truly an awe-inspiring sight looking across towards Boston and Skegness. You can walk out for miles before the sea is reached.

Kings Lynn to Hunstanton Walk - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

Start point
Kings LynnView in OS Map | View in Google Map
End Point
HunstantonView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Total Walk distance
20 miles
Walk difficulty
Easy

Accommodation:

Mill Farm Camping and Caravan siteView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Website
Description
Mill Farm camping and caravan site, Wells-next-the-sea. Close to town and basic amenities

Transport:

Norfolk Green - Bus Service
Service Number
Coasthopper - Norfolk Coasthopper service - an outstanding bus service between Cromer and Kings Lynn.
Timetable

Walk Data

Date of Walk
2011-07-02
Walk Time
10:00 to 17:30
Walkers
Griffmonster, Kat
Weather Conditions
Very warm day, plenty of sunshine

Walk Notes

This was the final part of the Norfolk Coast which we had yet to walk and it had taken some time to work out the route to take. Initially I had considered attempting to strictly follow the coastline but I must admit that I do have a little apprehension when it comes to heading off along private tracks when there is always the prospect of encountering angry land-owners. It was earlier this year that I was brought to the attention of the Iceni Way which included a route to link the two places. After a little investigation and purchasing the guide from the Ramblers Association it became apparent that this was probably a better route to choose as it included both Castle Rising and Sandringham, two places that I had never visited.

On this particular weekend we had set camp at Wells-next-the-sea; Mill Farm campsite is one of our favourite camps which I discovered when I first walked the North Norfolk Coast Path back in 2008. From Wells the excellent Coasthopper bus service runs through Hunstanton and terminates at Kings Lynn and would give us the transport to start and end of the walk. Unfortunately there is no early bus on Saturdays which only left 8 hours in which to complete the walk due to the times of the first and last buses. This would be cutting it very fine to complete nearly 20 miles distance, so, we decided to cut out the section through Kings Lynn and begin the walk at the north edge of the town where we could walk directly into South Wooton. The bus conveniently stops along this road.

The walk did not disappoint, Castle Rising and Sandringham definitely supporting the decision to choose this route. Unfortunately there was not enough time to meander through the castle ruins. However, Castle Rising is such a unique and charming little place that just walking through it was very satisfying in itself. Sandringham was very busy with a constant stream of tourist cars heading up to the gardens and house and the broad verged roads were littered with numerous parked cars and camper vans. It was curious to witness one couple, stripped out and laying across the grass sunning themselves. After all, this was a road by all definitions, and one does not see many people taking the opportunity to park up and strip off for a bit of sunshine in front of a thoroughfare. I am not a sunseeker myself but I would hazard a good guess that there must be a lot more agreeable and pleasant places to catch a little sunshine other than a roadside verge. We did chuckle at the sight.

The views across the wash from Snettisham to Hunstanton were amazing. It was a very clear day with the opposite coast distinct upon the horizon and the tide out with the sea nowhere to be seen. There were plenty of people walking out on the sandbanks with one couple probably a mile out from the high tide line.

Castle Rising Castle
Castle Rising Castle

Directions

The path follows the Iceni Way. Unfortunately there are no waymarkers to provide directions and therefore a copy of the Iceni Way guide from the Ramblers Association and an OS map are vital. The path uses a mixture of footpaths and tracks and some road walking to link Kings Lynn and Hunstanton. Taking in South Wooton, North Wooton, Castle Rising, Sandringham and Dersingham, the path then heads out to the coast at Snettisham from where it is a coastal walk up to Hunstanton.

Kings Lynn to Dersingham

From the centre of Kings Lynn the path follows the old railway track out to the edge of South Wooton on the A1078.Head down the road and turn the first left up0 Hall Lane. Theres a path on the right heading in the same general direction as the road and this comes out by the Church. Carry straight on along the footpath opposite the church and then straight ahead up the road this comes out on. A footpath on the right of the road leads through to North Wooton, heading into the housing estate on the right of the path. Walk down to the main road, cross and carry on the footpath which bears round to the left behind the houses. Go all the way through on this path until it comes out on Little Car Road. Turn right at the junction and take the footpath on the left a few hundred yards on. This leads through to Castle Rising where it follows the road through the village, down to the Castle then back round a sharp bend. As the road bends round again carry straight on and follow this old road to the main A149. Walk along the cycle track until this ends. Cross the road and head up the little road to Sandringham. There is now a few miles of walking along these roads past Sandringham and down into Dersingham.

Dersingham to Hunstanton

Take Station Road out of Dersingham, cross the main A149 and a track leads all the way down to the beach. Follow the beach northwards passing by Snettisham and Heacham and ending at Hunstanton.

Memorial at SandringhamSculpture marking the National Cycle Network Route 1
On the left Memorial at Sandringham; On the right Sculpture marking the National Cycle Network Route 1

Pubs

Coach and Horses, Dersingham View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
Address
Coach and Horses, Dersingham
Website

A traditional pub village offering Traditional home-cooked food and guest ales as well as accommodation.

Review

A thrist quenching pint of Woodfordes Wherry.

The Feathers, Dersingham View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
Address
The Feathers, Dersingham
Website

This former carrstone coaching inn is steeped in royal history dating back to 1882 when the hotel was purchased as part of the Sandringham estate for Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and named The Feathers in his honour. Prior to its royal connections it was named The Cock until fire damaged the building in the 1800's. It was subsequently rebuilt and named The Lamb.

The large building accommodates a range of en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant, three bars, and an outdoor patio and large landscaped gardens including a childrens area.

Review

Busy yet friendly pub with a large garden. Excellent food. Serving Adnams and Woodfordes.

Ruins of St Felix Church
Ruins of St Felix Church

Features

Castle Rising CastleView in OS Map | View in Google Map

The castle keep at Castle Rising is one of the most famous twelfth-century hall-keeps in the country. To the north of the castle is a ruined church that dates to around 1100, and both this church and the keep appear to have been rendered and whitewashed during the early medieval period.

The earthworks surrounding the castle keep are some of the largest in the country, although both the castle and the earthworks were originally half their current size. Their present appearance is the result of a major building programme of the late 12th or early 13th century.

It is possible that this major rebuilding took place as a reaction to the Revolt of 1173–1174 and the increased military activity generated. The chief rebel in East Anglia was Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk a rival to William d'Aubigny, who seized Norwich Castle during the rebellion. William returned from Normandy to meet Bigod in battle, and the upgrading of Castle Rising may be seen as a result of this.

During the Anarchy the castle was the site of a mint producing pennies for King Stephen. Between 1330 and 1358, it was the residence of the displaced former queen, Isabella of France, known as the 'she-wolf of France'. She married Edward ll in 1308, but soon found he preferred the company of men. She had an affair Roger Mortimer and in 1326 they took the throne from Edward ll. They imprisoned him in Berkeley Castle and in 1327 had him murdered. They enjoyed a brief period in power but Isabella`s son, Edward lll, took control in 1330 and had Mortimer executed. Unable to bring himself to kill his mother, Edward III is thought to have had Isabella imprisoned within the castle. In her later years she is said to have suffered dementia and spent most of her time in the upper floors of the castle which would probably explain the screams of a mad woman which have been reported coming from the castle in the middle of the night!

References

Ruins of St Felix ChurchView in OS Map | View in Google Map

From Babingley Bridge on the former main road between Castle Rising and the modern A149 one can just view the remains of St Felix Church in the meadows close to the river. This ivy clad ruin is said to be the first Christian Church erected in the county and was still a working church in the early 19th century. All that remains is the 14th century tower and an empty shell including a blocked off chancel with a window set into it.

References

Sandringham EstateView in OS Map | View in Google Map

Sandringham is the country retreat of Her Majesty The Queen, and has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862. The house, set in 24 hectares of stunning gardens, and is at the heart of the 8,000-hectare Sandringham Estate, 240 hectares of which make up the woodland and heath of the Country Park. The Estate includes the tidal mudflats of the Wash, woodland and wetland, arable, livestock and fruit farms, and commercial and residential properties and a museum. It is open to the public free of charge every day of the year.

The site has been occupied since Elizabethan times, and, in 1771, architect Cornish Henley cleared the site to build Sandringham Hall. The hall was modified during the 19th century by Charles Spencer Cowper, a stepson of Lord Palmerston, who added an elaborate porch and conservatory, designed by architect Samuel Sanders Teulon. In 1862, the hall was purchased by Queen Victoria at the request of the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) as a home for himself and his new bride, Alexandra. However, in 1865, two years after moving in, the prince found the hall's size insufficient for his needs, and he commissioned A J Humbert to raze the hall and create a larger building.

Since King George VI died in 1952 at Sandringham, Queen Elizabeth II's custom has been to spend the anniversary of her father's death and her own Accession privately with her family at the House. It is her official base until February each year. The house was first opened to the public in 1977, and there is a museum with displays of Royal life and Estate history.

References
Hunstanton
Hunstanton

Images

Below are a selection of images taken from from the photo album for this walk. Feel free to browse through these or click on any image to view a larger version in the Gallery.

Click on an image below to view the Image Gallery

Maps

Below is the route depicted on the OpenStreetMap, Ordnance Survey Map and Google Map. Links to full page versions are found in the Essential Information

Summary of Document Changes

Last Updated: ... 2017-02-05

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