Norfolk walk: A stroll around Syderstone
PUBLISHED: 09:45 23 September 2020
We’re in north-west Norfolk with Peter James of Norfolk Ramblers for a lovely walk
Park on the road by the church
Grid Reference TF838326
Nearest post code PE31 8TJ
Main walk 5 miles, 7.7km
Short walk 3.8 miles, 6.3km
1 If doing the short walk down the main street passing the first finger post on your right to the second fingerpost at no (2) where you join the main walk. For the main walk cross the road walk back up to the junction and turn right onto Mill Lane. Pass the village sign on the right noting that one quarter shows ramblers enjoying the countryside. Keep on the road, past the Syderstone Business Park, and at the end of the fenced area take the path on the right through woods. At a farm track turn left for a few yards and then right along the main path across Syderstone Common. The Common is largely wooded but has several ponds and boreholes and is an important wildlife site, Follow the path, crossing Rudham Road, as far as Docking Road. Cross the road...
2 ...And follow the track leading to Pleasant View and Inis properties. The surfaced lane runs into a green lane past the properties and continues as a field edge path as far as Barmer Farm. At Barmer Farm turn right along the tarmac track, past some woods, and into open country facing a group of wind turbines. Take the first track on the right along a field edge with the hedge on the left. The path leads into Manor Ling, a wooded area where the path can be uneven and muddy. Walk through the next field as far as Burnham Green Lane.
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3 Cross the lane and go through a gap in the hedge opposite following the bridleway sign. The path now passes through a recently planted wood surrounding the ancient tumuli in the area. The landowner has given permission for walkers to roam around the site and visit the tumuli and enjoy the views. There is an information board where the path leaves the wood. Continue along the field edge path as far as the main road. Turn left along the road, past the drive to Buildings Farm, and take the first path on the right. Follow the path along the field edge and at the end of the field turn right, keeping the hedge to the left. In the corner of the field by a large tree bear right to follow the cross-field path as far as the churchyard. Take the path to the left of the churchyard back to the start.
Points of interest
Syderstone Common Norfolk Wildlife Trust
This is a wonderful area of grass heath, punctuated with ephemeral ponds, and surrounded by secondary woodland. The site is excellent for reptiles and amphibians, with seven species recorded. Woodlark occasionally breed, and other notable breeding birds include lesser whitethroat.
St Mary’s Syderstone
A historic round tower church, people may well have been coming to worship, meet together, celebrate Christmas, Lent and Harvest, be married, unite at christenings and pay respect to family and friends at funerals, for around 30 generations, since the times of William the Conqueror. Syderstone village has Saxon origins but the church in its present form has origins from the Norman era and the village is mentioned in the Domesday Book.
St Mary’s has seen Queen Mary, Elizabeth I and Charles I as patrons, and time and history have left their mark over nearly 1,000 years. Once the church had two side aisles, and possibly a central tower, whereas today it has a round tower. As you walked up from the street you may have seen the initials A. R. on the church gates. This is after Amy Robsart and from whom the village hall is named. The Robsarts were once lords of the manor. A record is noted that in 1536 Elizabeth, wife of Sir Terry Robsart was buried in the chancel. In 1550, Amy, a daughter of the family became the wife of Sir Robert Dudley, later the Earl of Leicester, a favourite of Elizabeth I. The couple lived for a while at Syderstone Hall which has not survived. Above the porch door is a 14th century niche that may originally have held a statue of St Mary. It has been adapted to fit the flintwork and holds what looks like a stone lion, part of the Robsart arms. It has also been said to be a hunting dog which was the badge of Dudley. Amy died young, once thought to be in mysterious circumstances, and she was the basis of the novel, Kenilworth, by the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott. There is even a small statue of her in Peebles museum in Scotland.