Monday, 27 April 2015

Swanning around Swannington -we go on a cycle tour

Another day, another leaflet!
One side of Swannington village sign 

I already mentioned the excellent information pack that Claire and Tim have put together here at The Siding campsite. After our Marsham walk, it was Dave's turn to choose and he selected Off The Beaten Track: Around Swannington which is a fifteen mile cycle tour prepared, again, by Broadland District Council. One side of the leaflet is a fold-out Ordnance Survey map of the route, the other gives brief details of places of interest along the way.

We cycled from our campsite - head for St Agnes, then Church Lane, Jack Lane, Brandiston Road - and joined the tour at point 6 just before Brandiston. The whole route is on small roads which were generally deserted or with just light car traffic. I thought the car drivers on the whole were courteous and gave us a wide margin (except one show-off in a banana-yellow Toyota) and I liked that all the other cyclists called greetings as we passed. There's a friendliness here that I could get used to! We got lucky with the weather too. The forecast drizzly cloudiness failed to appear so we had glorious blue skies all day. The wind is cold, but when sheltered from it, the temperatures are practically Spanish (winter!).

Don't mess about in Haveringland! 
I was surprised by the Scandinavian-looking names of several villages we passed through which had been there since pre-Domesday times. Haveringland used to be Heveringalanda and Swannington was Sveningatuna. Was North Norfolk part of the Danelaw? I should know that but need to find out with a google! Haveringland's village sign is positioned right next to their old stocks, presumably not still in use, but we didn't take the chance.

Another side of the Swannington sign 
Swannington has a curious metal pyramid on top of a wooden post which, I think, depicts important influences in the village's past. We identified the helmet on the top, oak leaves, corn stalks, chains and a castle. It is intricately moulded and worth pulling up to gawp at properly. Thanks to the bus driver who slowed right down giving Dave time to hoist his bike out of the road! Swannington still has its water pump, built in 1888 and with two plaques on it honouring Hastings Parker and his wife Elizabeth who lived at the Manor House. It is protected by a thatched roof that echoes the pyramid shape of the sign - or perhaps the sign echoes the pump?

Swannington village pump 

A gentle warning about Kett's Lane, going away from Swannington and named for Robert Kett, leader of the peasants' revolt in Norfolk. It's not an especially steep uphill, but it does go on awhile so pace yourself!

Towards the end of our tour, we suddenly spied the delicate spires of St
St Michael's and All Angels, Booton 
Michael's Church at Booton. It looks wonderfully dainty and out-of-place here because pretty much every other one is a square-towered Norman example. I learned that it was designed by Reverend Whitwell Elwin who was rector there from 1850 until 1900 and was a literary man. We pulled into the driveway of the Old Rectory to take this photo, possibly the same driveway used by Thackeray, Scott and Lockhart when they came to visit.

From Booton, we were guided home by the beacon that is St Agnes. That huge tower is a real landmark and a very welcome sight as we were both quite tired by this point. Overall, with the additional cycling from Cawston and a brief unintended detour, we probably completed about 17 miles. We're proud of ourselves!

As an added bonus to the hot shower and cuppa when we got home, an email was waiting from one of our favourite singer-songwriters, Danny Schmidt. His album that I helped to Kickstarter last year, Owls, is now available to download. Woo hoo! I'll get Dave to put in on the iPod later this evening so we can have a listen. The official launch is May 19th, but you can hear previews and pre-order your copy through Danny's website.

If you like my photographs, some are now available as Greeting Cards via Zazzle.
Please feel welcome to browse my new shop!

No comments:

Post a Comment