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Norfolk walk: autumn at Blickling Hall

PUBLISHED: 13:07 09 October 2018

The lake at Blickling (photo: Peter James)

The lake at Blickling (photo: Peter James)

Archant

Norfolk Ramblers guide us on a beautiful autumnal walk around Blickling Hall, near Aylsham

Compass points

Start/finish: Blickling main carpark

Distance: Main walk 5.5 miles 8.5km, short walk 3.5 miles 5.24km.

Post code: NR11 6NT

Parking: Blickling main car park; pay and display if not an NT member.

Start grid reference: TG1762 2864

Refreshments: There is the Muddy Boots Café (dogs welcome) near the car park and toilets, a restaurant beside the reception at the hall and the Buckinghamshire Arms pub nearby.

The stone bull, emblem of the Hobart family (photo: Peter James)The stone bull, emblem of the Hobart family (photo: Peter James)

Directions

1. From the car park, follow the path at the end of the Muddy Boots Café and reception building. Turn right, passing the pub, then take the path towards the church; this takes you past the main gates to the hall. Turn left then right, passing the courtyard. Turning right follow the waymarked path which will take you to a gate from where you can see the start of the formal gardens on your left; follow this path round to the lake, which was dug in 1711. Its serpentine shape is meant to impress – whichever end you stand, the other end can’t be seen. When you get to the gate before the lake you have the choice of continuing or taking the gate to the right, up below the water tower. Both will bring you out at the end of the lake.

2. At the end of the lake follow the Weavers’ Way for a short distance. Here the Weavers’ Way turns left but you carry on through the small wood to a field edge path. Follow the path straight ahead; you will come to the mausoleum on your right. Built in 1793, after the death of the second earl, it is worth walking around the back to see the memorial stone topped by a magnificent bull, the emblem of the Hobart family. Then carry on the path to a T-junction.

3. If you are doing the short walk turn left, follow the track to no 4 where you re-join the main walk. For the main walk turn right and follow the track down to Great Wood car park. Take the path to the left through Bunkers Hill Plantation, follow the path up to Bucks Common car park, follow the path through the woods. Passing the tower on your left, follow the path through Long Plantation. At the end of the woods turn right then left before the road. Follow this path, turning left at the woods; this will bring you to a three-way junction.

4. Turn right, passing through the park gates. Follow the track; this will bring you back to the start.

Crown copyright 2018 Ordnance Survey. Media 003/18Crown copyright 2018 Ordnance Survey. Media 003/18

History of Blickling Hall

A. Originally owned by Sir John Fastolf of Caister (who also built Caister Castle) from 1380-1459, it then changed hands and became home to the Boleyn family, their most famous daughter being Anne Boleyn, one of the wives of Henry VIII. It’s believed that she was born here, but there are no official documents to back this up. Legend has it that there are three ghosts who patrol the house and gardens here at Blickling, one being Anne Boleyn. The present house was designed in 1616, and was actually built on the ruins of the original site.

During the Second World War it was used as the officers’ mess for nearby RAF Oulton and eventually passed into the hands of the National Trust, where it remains today. There is a museum for RAF Oulton above the gift shop

B. The mausoleum is a strange, rather austere monument which houses the remains of the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire and his two wives. Built of grey stone, it stands alone in the middle of woodland, surrounded by a metal grille and has a rather eerie feel to it.

C. The Tower, which was built in the 1800s as a grandstand for the racecourse that used to stand in the field now known as Tower Park, is a holiday cottage, but still looks pretty impressive from far away.

nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estate

Ordnance Survey maps are available from all good booksellers and outdoor stores or visit our online shop www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Get rambling

Norfolk Ramblers welcomes new members. If you are interested in walking in the company of like-minded people, visit norfolkra.org.uk or call 07505 426750. For queries about this walk, phone 07905 565740.

Norfolk Ramblers has established a footpath working group to do some path cutting and general maintenance. We try to make sure that all the paths in these walks are fit to walk, but if you encounter a problem please tell us.

Contact Peter James at pdjames.ramb@ntlworld.com; 07905 565740

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