Walking the Peddars Way

By Sally Pudney on 11th September 2015

I spent a few days in Norfolk this week. My sister, Jill, (who lives in Kings Lynn in West Norfolk) and I walked a couple of sections of the Peddars Way. This is a very ancient track-way running from near Thetford to Holme-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk Coast. It is now a national trail.

Peddars Way 5

I got interested in it when storyteller, Hugh Lupton, sent me a copy of his book ‘A Norfolk Songline’ in which he tells stories which could have happened along the Peddars Way at different times in history, combined with his poems around the idea of walking and time. Extracts from the poems were carved by Tom Perkins onto standing stones which were erected at points along Way. Looking at the photos in the book, and in the official trail guide I could see that a series of paintings of the Peddars Way could be very interesting.

We only managed two stretches this week, as it was so wet on Tuesday that we abandoned walking. But on Wednesday we set off from the village of North Pickenham and walked the stretch called Procession Lane – the name thought to be something to do with the ceremony of ‘beating the bounds’. The Peddars Way at this point is a wide grassy green lane, with ancient trees, especially huge oaks. The hedges were weighted down with wild fruit – crab apples, sloes, blackberries, elderberries. We saw buzzards, and lots of speckled wood butterflies, a hare, large numbers of partridges and pheasants, and the sun came out, and we really enjoyed the walk.

A huge hornbeam tree by the track

A huge hornbeam tree by the track

Jill watching the buzzards

Jill watching the buzzards

 

Peddars Way 4

We came across one of Tom Perkins’ standing stones

We walked as far as the crossing with the A47, where there is a very convenient, though very unexpected McDonalds, so we stopped and had hot chocolate and a snack, before retracing our steps back to North Pickenham where I’d left the car.

On the way back I stopped to draw likely looking places and Jill picked lots of the wild fruit for me to make into jelly once I got home.

Drawing in Procession Lane on the Peddars Way

Drawing in Procession Lane on the Peddars Way

On Thursday we started from the point where the Peddars Way crosses the A148, where there is a convenient car park, and again walked north. The character of the Way was quite different – the ground is high, and there are far reaching views all around. The whole feel of this section is much more open.

Peddars Way 3

Far reaching views South, through a field gateway beside the track

Far reaching views South, through a field gateway beside the track

Again we saw buzzards, and this time quite a few yellow Brimstone butterflies, and lots of spindle trees in the hedges.

I got some useful drawings and loads of photos, that will give me enough information to paint, and we definitely want to walk some more sections when we can arrange the time!

Hope you’ve had a good week too! 🙂


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