NCN 1 – Yorkshire to Norfolk


The Minster at Beverley, our first stop on this year’s NCN 1 cycle-ride

Last year we cycled the National Cycle Network Route 1 from Berwick, on the Scottish border to Flamborough. Last week we continued our journey south, from Flamborough to Norfolk. Unfortunately we were a man down this year, as Neil developed a nasty swollen knee just prior to departure – leaving brother Bry and me to carry the flag. We cycled 250 miles in five days, stopping at Beverley, Market Rasen, Boston and Gayton (just off the NCN 1, but the only place with suitable accommodation). Overall, a very pleasant section of the route, beginning with the gentle rolling hills of East Yorkshire, crossing the Humber bridge, through Lincolnshire following the line of the Wolds, around The Wash into Norfolk, heading north to the coast before finally turning east and the Cromer Ridge. The weather was near perfect, if a little too hot on occasions. A great way to spend a week  – good company, nice scenery, interesting people and tasty ale!

Crossing the Humber – the traditional selfie


The Stump – in the historic town of Boston (in need of a little tlc) – departure point of the Pilgrim Fathers


We stopped at several delightful refreshment points along the route – none better than Caffe Aurora, Holbeach – where we were treated to some impromptu mid-morning opera!


Noticed on departure from The Crown at Gayton – one of two nice Delft tiles, set in the car-park wall


Next year – legs willing, Norfolk to the southern end of NCN 1, at Dover!

Historic Churches of Norfolk – Route 14

For the May HCN ride I caught the train to Hoveton & Wroxham station where I met Helen. Travelling east, our route took in the churches north of the river Bure, as far as Hickling Broad, then out to the coast to Waxham – lunch was in the cafe at the impressive Waxham Great Barn, returning west, along the B1151 to Stalham and finally to Hoveton, by criss-crossing the A1151. A total distance of 48 miles and 21 churches.

The Route:


The Churches:

St John and St Peter Hoveton, St Benedict Horning, St Catherine Ludham, St Peter Bastwick (ruin), St Nicholas Potter Heigham, All Saints Catfield, St Michael Sutton, St Mary Hickling, St Margaret Sea Palling, St John Waxham, Holy Trinity Ingham, St Peter Brumstead, St Mary Stalham, St Peter Smallburgh, St Mary Tunstead, St Lawrence Beeston St Lawrence, St Michael Barton Turf, St Michael Irstead, St Peter Neatishead & St Swithin Ashmanhaugh

The photos:

Hoveton, St John

St John the Baptist Hoveton

The best feature of the church is the stained glass

St John the Baptist Hoveton 2

St Benedict, Horning

St Benedict Horning

St Catherine, Ludham

St Catherine Ludham

The unique rood screen and canvas, rediscovered by the Norfolk Archeological Society in 1879. For the full and fascinating story, read Simon Knott’s account.


Squint: ‘an opening cut through an internal wall.. (to) synchronise the ceremonies of the Mass’


St Peter, Bastwick


St Nicholas, Potter Heigham

St Nicholas Potter Heigham

All Saints, Catfield

All Saints Catfield

Wall painting, depicting the stoning of St Stephen


St Michael, Sutton

St Michael Sutton

St Mary, Hickling


St Margaret, Sea Palling

St Margaret Sea Palling

Detail of stairs to the rood loft and piscina


St John, Waxham

St John Waxham

Holy Trinity, Ingham

Holy Trinity Ingham

St Peter, Brumstead

St Peter Brumstead

St Mary, Stalham


St Peter, Smallburgh


St Mary, Tunstead

StMary the Virgin Tunstead

St Lawrence, Beeston St Lawrence

St Lawrence Beeston St Lawrence

St Michael, Barton Turf

St Michael Barton Turf

Detail of the painted rood screen.. ‘the best I’ve seen in England.’ Simon Knott


and an interesting ‘Conglomeration of medieval glass..’


St Michael, Irstead

St Michael Irstead

St Peter, Neatishead, at Threehammer Common

St Peter Neatishead

St Swithin, Ashmanhaugh

St Swithin Ashmanhaugh

and finally, St Peter, Hoveton

St Peter Hoveton

Historic Churches of Norfolk – route 13

A few weeks ago I did another historic churches cycle ride with my friend Helen. On this occasion we polished off the group of churches sandwiched between the A47, to the south, and the river Bure too the north, east of Norwich. The weather was much kinder to us than on our previous outing but one feature which was consistent was the number of locked churches – such a pity. Our circular route started and finished at Hoveton station, lunch was at a nice little roadside cafe in Acle, and we covered just short of 50k. We visited seventeen churches in all.

The route


The Churches

St Mary Wroxham, All Saints Salhouse, St Gervase & St Protase Little Plumstead, St Mary Great Plumstead, St Margaret Witton, All Saints Hemblington, St Andrew and St Peter North Burlingham, St Edmund Acle, St Mary Fishley, St Margaret Upton, St Mary and St Lawrence South Walsham, All Saints Panxworth, St Helen Ranworth, St Fabian & St Sebastian Woodbastwick, St Mary Wroxham and St Peter Belaugh

The Photos

St Mary Wroxham


All Saints Salhouse

All Saints Salhouse

The unique dedication of St Gervase & St Protase – Little Plumstead


St Mary the Virgin Great Plumstead


St Margaret Witton


All Saints Hemblington


The best single surviving 14C wall painting of the St Christopher narrative in England

All Saints Hemblington

St Andrew North Burlingham

St Andrew North Burlingham

St Peter North Burlingham


St Edmund Acle

St Edmund Acle 2

Detail of stained glass

St Edmund Acle

St Mary Fishley

St Mary Fishley

St Margaret Upton

St Margaret Upton

Interior detail


South Walsham St Mary

St Mary South Walsham

and St Lawrence


All Saints Panxworth


St Helen Ranworth. Unfortunately the whole of the exterior and some of the interior was covered in scaffolding, so here’s some detail of the lovely painted rood screen

St Helen Ranworth

St Fabian & St Sebastian Woodbastwick

St Fabian & St Sebastian Woodbastwick

and finally St Peter Belaugh, sitting high above the river Bure.

St Peter Belaugh













Tour de France, Grand Depart – Yorkshire style


Marcel Kittel, Giant Shimano, winner of Stage 1

Spent the weekend in Skipton watching the first two stages of this year’s Tour de France – fantastic! We stayed at the very accommodating Rendezvous Hotel and joined the throng in Skipton for the first day – watching the race live then the closing stages on the big screen. For the second stage we went to a minor climb between Haworth and Oxenhope. The atmosphere on both days was electric – the crowds fantastic, in both size and enthusiasm! The only down-side was that, with so many spectators, it was near impossible to get any decent photos -here are a few of the better ones from both days.

A small breakaway of three weave their way through the crowded streets of Skipton


.. followed a couple of minutes later by the peleton! Spot Mark Cavendish, riding his first and last stage in this years Tour – six ‘rows’ back, in the black colours of Omega Pharma – Quickstep, with a pale blue helmet. He says he’s ‘gutted’ – well so are we!!


Now on to the second stage and another early breakaway

IMG_6197 IMG_6204

And here comes that peleton again..


In the front half of the peleton, the riders who will eventually top the general classification and provide this years winner, including: Vicenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador and defending champion Chris Froome


Winner of the first stage, Marcel Kittel, in yellow – and alongside him, eventual second stage winner, Vicenzo Nibali riding in the pale blue of Astana

IMG_6220 - Version 2


The maillot jaune..


Now a couple of ‘atmosphere’ shots




Onward to Sheffield, Cambridge, London and France!


Back on the bike – more historic churches

Last Friday I decided it was about time I stopped using my ‘falling off a ladder incident’ of a couple of months ago as an excuse for not getting on my bike and doing a few more of Norfolk’s historic churches! The weather was set to be warm, possibly in the high twenties, and there was a moderate easterly wind. I chose an inland route, hopefully to provide more shelter, and modified the itinerary to finish the ride close to a station on the lovely Bittern Line, which would take me back to Cromer, leaving only a short ride home. It was great to be back in the saddle, visiting some hidden ecclesiastical gems and exploring more of the counties byways. I was slightly disappointed to find a number of the churches locked, I don’t know if this is because of a different Deanery ‘policy’ or not, but it was in marked contrast to my last couple of trips in the Holt deanery, when all of the churches were unlocked. I also missed my old cycling companion and brother Bry, who has been with me on most of the previous excursions, but who is currently laid up following a hip replacement – I hope it’s not too long before we can be pedaling the lanes of Norfolk together again! Jane joined me for a pleasant lunch at the locally renowned, Recruiting Sergeant, at Horstead.

The Route: including the return ride from Cromer station, close on 70k


The Churches:

St Batholomew  Hanworth,  St Andrew Gunton, St Botolph Banningham, St Peter & St Paul Tuttington, St Mary Burgh next Aylsham, St Michael Oxnead, St Peter Brampton, St Andrew Buxton, St Margaret Stratton Strawless, All Saints Hainford old church, All Saints Horstead, St John the Baptist Coltishall, St Andrew Lamas, All Saints Scottow, All Saints Skeyton, St Michael Swanton Abbott, St Botolph Westwick, St Batholomew Sloley, St Mary Worstead.

As on previous occasions, for more detail of the churches, do visit the excellent Churches of Norfolk website.

The photos:

St Batholomew, Hanworth

St Batholomew Hanworth

Interesting architectural drawing of St Batholomews

St Batholomew Hanworth 2

St Andrew’s, in the grounds of Gunton Park, designed by the great Robert Adam – thought to be his only Norfolk church

St Andrew Gunton

St Botolph, Banningham

St Botolph Banningham

Medieval wall painting, depicting St George and the dragon – predates the installation of the clerestory windows

St Botolph Banningham

St Peter and St Paul, Tuttington – the only round tower of the day

St Peter & St Paul Tuttington

Burgh next Aylsham – St Mary’s, on the banks of the river Bure

St Mary Burgh next Aylsham

The restored church of St Michael,  Oxnead

St Michael Oxnead

St Peter Brampton

St Peter Brampton

St Margaret Stratton Strawless

St Margaret Stratton Strawless

… and this one makes 20!

St Margaret Stratton Strawless (2)

St Andrew Lamas, another church on the banks of the Bure

St Andrew Lamas

Detail of the organ,  All Saints Scottow

All Saints Scottow

Detail of the unusual exterior stone work, depicting the ‘Sacred heart and Crown of thorns’ – St Botolph, Westwick

St Botoloph Westwick

St Bartholomew Sloley

St Bartholomew Sloley

The magnificent church of St Mary Worstead

St Mary Worstead

Details of the painted rood screen

St Mary Worstead 2

What an afternoon…!

Chris Froome has just won the 15th stage of the centenary Tour de France, on the summit of the monstrous Mont Ventoux, after the longest stage in the Tour and on Bastille Day – consolidating his lead in the Maillot Jaune and taking the polka dot King of the Mountains jersey for good measure. It doesn’t get much better!

Well it does actually – I’ve just registered my 10,000th view of my blog. Not quite the same magnitude of achievement I grant you but I’m pleased!  A big thank you to you all, old friends and new. T

Tour de Force

Yesterday, in the small hours of the morning, we got back from a mini break to France, having watched three stages of this year’s centenary Tour de France. We stayed at the excellent camp site of Le Bois Coudrais, near Combourg and saw Stage ten, with it’s sprint finish at St. Malo, the individual time-trial from Avranches to Mont St. Michel and the ‘signing in’, prior to the stage from Fougeres to Tours. As always the atmosphere was electrifying but with the added edge of British interest in Chris Froome, riding in yellow, and seeking to become only the second Brit to win the Tour and Mark Cavendish adding to his already impressive list of existing stage wins to assure him of his place in British cycling history as the most prolific stage winner of all time. There were also plenty of ‘up close and personal’ encounters with many of cycling’s international elite.

The ‘caravan’, announcing the arrival of the riders


A break away of five riders on Stage 10, sixty kilometres before the finish


The chasing peleton, just two minutes behind the leading group


The Top Men at the front of the peleton, including Chris Froome in the ‘Maillot Jaune’, Peter Sagan in the Green Jersey, Mark Cavendish, Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck and Andre Greipel


Smile for the camera


Chris Froome and Richie Porte on a pre-race reconnoitre of the 33km time trial course


Third place on the podium, Thomas De Gendt


Overall winner, by eleven seconds, Germany’s Tony Martin


and in second place and overall race leader, Chris Froome


The ‘signing in’ at Fougeres – King of the Mountains, Pierre Rolland


Master Kittel, with three stage wins already to his name , and that incredible hair!


Former Tour winner and current possible threat to Froome, Alberto Contador


The ‘Manx Missile’, Mark Cavendish


Maillot Jaune, and hopefully 2013 Tour de France winner, Chris Froome


More photos to follow in my Tour de France 2013 Gallery.

Time out from the allotment

Having recently acquired an allotment and with the weather definitely spring-like, we (brother Bryan and I) spent most of last week constructing a poly tunnel. However, with the sun continuing to shine and only a moderate north westerly wind, on Friday we decided to catch up on a few historic Norfolk churches. With only two old mountain bikes available to us, albeit that one is a classic Muddy Fox Courier Comp which Bry had the privilege to ride and given that I hadn’t been on a bike since Christmas (shame on me!) we opted for a rather modest 45k/ 10 church itinerary, details below:

The Route


The Churches

All Saints Weybourne, St Mary Kelling, St Nicholas Salthouse, St Margaret Cley, St Nicholas Blakeney, St Mary Wiverton, St Martin Glandford, St Andrew Leatheringsett, St Andrew Holt, All Saints High Kelling

The Pictures

First church of the day, All Saints Weybourne, with the remains of the Augustinian priory in the foreground


St Nicholas Salthouse


Detail of the roof and clerestory


Part of the painted screen


View of St Margaret, Cley, from the Wiverton side of the former Glaven estuary


Interior of St Margaret’s, showing the cathedral-like proportions


Detail of the St Francis stained glass window, depicting a number of interesting bird species, including Bluethroat


A more recent addition, the Richard Millington depiction of the 2008 White-crowned Sparrow, in the west window


View over Cley and the distant bird reserve, from the tower of St Nicholas Blakeney. The tower is open each Friday, 2.00 – 4.00. Highly recommended!


St Mary, Wiverton, with St Margaret, Cley in the distance


Detail of a medieval window discovered during renovations


The interior of St Martin, Glandford


The only round tower of the trip – St Andrew, Letheringsett


The last and least ‘grand’ of the days churches, All Saints, High Kelling



Post Script

The aforementioned poly tunnel – impressive eh!!



Two more towards the target…

This lunch time we had a short ride out to stretch our legs and managed to take in two new churches on the way: St Andrew, Metton and St Peter & St Paul, Sustead.

St Andrew, Metton – now free from scaffolding which covered most of the exterior on my previous visit


The unusual feature of a passage under the tower, possibly to facilitate processions around the church, within consecrated ground


St Peter & St Paul, Sustead


Detail of the 17th century pulpit


Lovely 14th/15th century stained glass


Only another eight hundred and forty or so to go!