March

Burgh Castle

Burgh Castle 
Open all through the year 

Burgh Castle is a small village just to the west of Great Yarmouth, largely modern in character, including a number of holiday parks and a marina. Despite this, Burgh Castle Fort still feels remote, because of its setting overlooking Berney Marshes and Breydon Water, which form an important nature reserve.

How to get there

By road: Six miles south-west of Great Yarmouth, off the A12. At the roundabout junction with the A1243 take the turning through the Trading Estate, and at the next roundabout take the third exit – then follow signs to Burgh Castle. The fort is a short walk from the purpose-built car park. Satnav TG 477 044

Bus: Gt Yarmouth to Burgh Castle Monday – Saturday. First Group

Rail:  Great Yarmouth (4.5 miles). If you're keen walkers it’s possible to walk from the town to BurghCastle (about 4 miles each way) by following the Angles Way from ASDA car park…) around the south side of Breydon Water, and you’ll have the opportunity for some good bird watching along the way.

Bike: No national routes nearby View local cycle routes

WHAT YOU CAN SEE THERE

Burgh Castle Roman Fort: Burgh Castlewas built in the late third or early fourth centuries as part of a string of forts around the south and east coasts stretching from Porchester in Hampshire to Brancaster in north Norfolk. Three walls of the fort remain – the fourth has disappeared into the River Waveney. In Roman times the fort overlooked a vast estuary which has since partly silted up and been blocked by the development of Great Yarmouth. Breydon Water is the last remnant of that estuary today.

The ruins are impressive, the walls being more or less full height – and the setting, overlooking the marshes, is beautiful. The fort is open all year round and is managed by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust.

Cost: Free!

Birdwatching: The reed beds below the fort provide a breeding ground for bearded tits, reed and sedge warblers and water rail.  A large gathering of yellow wagtail use the reed beds as a roost in late summer and early autumn.  Marsh and Hen Harriers frequent the area in winter and there have been sightings of bittern and Cetti's warbler.  A pair of Marsh Harriers nested successfully in the reed beds for the first time in 1999.  The tidal mudflats support a variety of wild fowl and waders.  There is free access to the fort and surrounding reed beds at all times of the year. RSPB

Cost: Free!

Refreshments: There are three pubs within easy access of the fort. If you go down to the track below the fort and turn left along the river it’s a short walk along the footpath to The Fishermans Arms, a modern pub within the marina. Tel: 01493 780729 . If you turn right along the track it’s a short walk to Church Farm Country Inn. The bar has very large windows overlooking  Breydon Water and is handy for bird watching when its cold outside. . From there you can then walk back past the church to the car park. The third pub, the Queens Head, is in the main village Tel: 01493 780363

Loos: No public loos. You'll have to go to the pub...

Grimes Graves

Grimes Graves 
Open most of the year

In the middle of Thetford Forest, this is a surreal landscape of craters caused by pre-historic mining, managed now by English Heritage. 

How to get there

By road: 7 miles NW of Thetford, just off the A134. Follow brown signs. Ample free parking at the site.

Bus: No direct bus service but regular services run between Thetford  and Brandon – nearest stop is Santon Downham which is 2 miles from Grimes Graves. SuffolkonBoard  It is then possible to walk north from the village of Santon Downham through the woods to the Grimes Graves site (about 2 miles). The woods are part of Thetford Forest open access area owned by the Forestry Commission: Thetford Forest Park 

Rail: Brandon Station (3 ½ miles).

Bike: Located just north of Regional route 30 at Santon Downham View local cycle routes

WHAT YOU CAN SEE THERE

Grimes Graves: the only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain. The site was first named Grim’s Graves by the Anglo-Saxons and it was not until the Victorian period that the 400 dips in the ground were identified as flint mines dug over 5,000 years ago.

There is a small exhibition area which illustrates the history of this fascinating site but the most exciting thing to do is to climb down the ladder (9 metres/30 ft) into one of the excavated shafts to peer down the low tunnels where the stone age miners worked the bed of jet-black flint (N.B. children under 5 years of age are not allowed into the mine shaft).

Set in the distinctive Breckland heath landscape, Grime’s Graves is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a habitat for rare plants and fauna. The numerous circular dips with paths running in between are good fun for running about in.

The site is open at various times throughout most of the year – please see the website for details (see below).

Cost: Entrance fee (free for English Heritage members): see website for details 

Refreshments: Hot drinks machine and sweets at Grimes Graves visitor centre

Loos: Public loos at the entrance to the Grimes Graves site.

Thetford Forest is owned by the Forestry Commission which has a policy of Open Access. Ordnance Survey map Explorer 229 shows the area owned by the Forestry Commission and open to the public. A number of visitor centres and attractions are situated within the forest near to Grimes Graves as well as walks and cycle routes – have a look at the Forestry Commission website for details 


East Wretham Nature Reserve

East Wretham Nature Reserve 
Open all year

A large and open area of grassy heathland and lakes a few kilometres to the east of Grimes Graves.

How to get there

By road: East Wretham Heath is located 5km north east of Thetford. Leave Thetford on the A1075 towards Watton. After 5km turn left into the nature reserve car park.

Bus: service from Thetford to Watton stops at the Dog & Partridge Pub at Stonebridge (Wretham). From here it’s possible to walk south along the Peddars Way to Roudham Heath and then west through the woods along the Hereward Way to the reserve. Only an option for keen walkers. Local buses 

Rail: Harling Road (4 miles) Limited service - but the Hereward Way begins just outside the station and can be followed to Wretham Heath (approx 6.5 miles - only for keen walkers); Thetford Station (5 miles)

Bike: Close to the Peddars Way National Trail which can be cycled for most of its routeView local cycle routes

WHAT YOU CAN SEE THERE

This nature reserve was acquired by Norfolk Wildlife Trust in 1940, making it the first nature reserve to be established in Breckland. The area has very sandy soils and gets more sun and less rain than almost anywhere else in the country. This supports a wide variety of heathland flora, and habitat for adders, grass snakes, and stoats, as well as a lot of rabbits!

Between 1942 and 1970 the nature reserve was used for military training and used as an airfield. The crumbling runways now provide ideal conditions for mosses and lichens. The two meres at the site are part of a group of lakes in this area which fill and empty with water due to the change of water table in the chalk underneath, rather than the amount of rainfall – so sometimes they will be empty, sometimes full. The lakes are a good place for birdwatching. There are way-marked trails and a hide at the reserve, and its open all year round. See NWT website for more information. 

Cost: Free!

Refreshments: None at the reserve. The Dog & Partridge Pub is about 3km along the A1075 to the north of the reserve.

Loos: No public loos


















The By-Mistake Guide to Norfolk is not responsible for the content on external websites

Comments