After a bleak, drizzly Saturday, the sun decided to grace us with its presence. What better way to enjoy it than to take a stroll along the Riverside Walk in Norwich?
(Apologies for the lack of photos. I was feeling so smug about remembering my sunglasses that I forgot this essential piece of equipment. Forgive me.)
The Riverside Walk has plenty to offer for any visitor or resident of Norwich. I’ve lived here for a few years now, but this route still draws me back time and time again.
The walk is a gentle, easy route that leads you around some of Norwich’s main attractions. It can be walked in either direction, but I tend to start at Fye bridge and then work my way round to the cathedral. My route is a little modified from the actual walk (which can take you up to Mousehold heath and Riverside), but it still encompasses many of the main sites.
From Fye bridge you can meander along the Quayside – a path framed with charming, brightly painted houses. As you follow the route round, St James’ mill will loom up on the other side of the river. The mill was originally a textiles powerhouse in the industrial revolution, but it is now owned by the Jarrold’s family. Sadly, the only buildings that still remain are the mill itself and the engine house.
Once past the mill, the route continues to follow the contours of the river. Until recently, this section of the route was marred by building work, but normality now seems to have been restored. The path then takes you to Cow Tower, one of the many reminders of Norwich’s medieval past. It stands proudly by the river, although its original purpose as a form of defence is now defunct.
The next section is particularly glorious in early spring, where the route is littered with daffodils. It is a great space for a picnic, or for just flopping on the grass and soaking up the rays. If you keep walking round, you will spot a beautiful flint building to your left. This is Pull’s Ferry, which was originally the gateway between the river and a stream to the cathedral. The stream has now gone, but the building is still impressive. It’s home to the Girl Guide’s now, and tea and cake is sometimes served in the tower.
The path then continues weaves by the river until you come to the Red Lion pub. This is a super place to stop for a drink (I have many fond memories of cider in the garden) and it also does a fabulous carvery on Sunday. If you walk around the building, take a look at the bridge that fords the river. I believe it is one of the oldest bridges in the United Kingdom, and it used to lead to the Bishop’s Palace. If you are interested in history, you will be pleased to know that the bridge was involved in the fighting that took place during Kett’s rebellion.
You can then take two separate routes to the cathedral. One continues straight on and leads you through the playing fields of Norwich School, while the other takes you up past the Great Hospital, before cutting through the playing fields a little further up. Both routes bring you out in to Cathedral Close.
If you have an interest in nature, take a moment to stop and look through the telescopes provided by the Hawk and Owl trust. The telescopes are trained on a nest of peregrine falcons that have been nesting at the cathedral for the last few years. You can also check them out through a live web-cam.
My walk then finishes here, although if you are new to Norwich, a look around the cathedral is a must.
Next time, I promise I will remember my camera!