Edingthorpe walks

Edingthorpe is crossed by many footpaths, some of which may date back to Anglo-Saxon times. This is particularly evident in lanes where the track level appears lower than the surrounding fields due to its use over many centuries. In the spring bluebells, primroses and dog’s mercury can be seen; these are also indicators of ancient paths.

There are many public footpaths and ‘Quiet Lanes’ in the Edingthorpe area. ‘Quiet Lanes’ were established by the Norfolk Coast Partnership and Natural England to provide a network of smaller roads that link rights of way and cater for walkers, cyclists and horse riders as well as car drivers (who are encouraged to slow down, but not all understand this concept!) Look out for the ‘Quiet Lane’ logo.

It is possible to walk to the surrounding villages of Knapton and Paston and other areas of interest such as the Forestry Commission owned Bacton Woods, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Pigneys Wood and the North Walsham and Dilham Canal.  Parts of the Paston Way historic route, the local Knapton Way and the remains of the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Railway branch line to Mundesley are also accessible.

The 22 mile Paston Way footpath runs between Cromer and North Walsham. It takes its name from the Paston family who were wealthy landowners in the area. They are named after the village of Paston, which is on the coast near Edingthorpe, and they lived in an earlier house on the site of the present Paston Hall.

The Pastons were one of Norfolk’s most prominent families from about 1380 to 1750, rising from local lords of the manor to become members of the aristocracy. They were very much involved in the politics of the Tudor and Stuart courts. What makes them unique is that they were keen letter writers – from about 1418 to 1509 they corresponded with members of their family and others, commenting on the details of their everyday lives as well as the intrigues at court and events in the wilder world. From the letters it is clear that the female members of the family played key roles in their estates and family management, which was quite unusual at the time. The letters, together with some state papers and other documents were all preserved, and today represent the earliest and largest collection of documents in the UK detailing everyday life at that time. Most of the documents are now in the British Library.

Walk 1 – Edingthorpe Circular

2.3 miles, 1 hour approx. 

Starting at the lovely Edingthorpe Church and returning via Edingthorpe Green, enjoy the local countryside using field paths and quiet lanes. On Rectory Road you will pass thatched cottages, some dating back to the 17C, and The Old Rectory where the war poet Siegfried Sassoon spent his summer holidays as a child.

Points of Interest

The Church of All Saints, Edingthorpe – for description see the church section on this site.

The Old Rectory – The Old Rectory, on Rectory Road, is Grade II listed and dates from 1720, with further wings added in 1791 and 1850. Built of cut and uncut flints with brick dressings giving it a grey colour, it has a red and black glazed pantile roof. The interior has many original features.

As a child, the war poet Siegfried Sassoon spent several summer holidays at the Old Rectory with his mother and two brothers. When he revisited the village as an adult in 1937 he wrote, ‘Edingthorpe, thank goodness is still a straggling hamlet’.

He described the drive from North Walsham to Edingthorpe:

‘Slower and slower I drove, until I came to the signpost where four lanes meet. There was the black stagnant pond with a few ducks on it… Leaving the car at the crossroads, I strolled up the lane. The Rectory was only a couple of hundred yards away now, and I felt quite excited…’

The signpost (or perhaps a replacement!) is still there, as is the pond, and you will pass this on the walk.

To begin the walk, park at All Saints Church, Church Lane, Edingthorpe NR29 9TN.

Grid ref: TG 32277 33127 What3words: ///stars.directs.booklets

The Walk

After taking the opportunity to visit the church, start the walk by going back down the track to the T-junction.  For part of this walk you will be following the Paston Way, which is signed by a white arrow on a pink background.

Turn right onto a grass track with a distant view of Knapton Church on the left. After about 200 yds, you will see a short signpost pointing left across the corner of the field, again signed Paston Way. Follow this and pass through a gap in the hedge and turn left, still following the Paston Way signs. This path has lovely open field views, with the Old School House ahead on the left. This was the village school, built in 1877 and closed in the 1960s. There is a new barn conversion ahead on the right.

When you reach the gap in the hedge that leads to the road, remain in the field and turn right, keeping the hedge on your left, still following the Paston Way signs.  At the end of the path, turn left onto the road by the converted barn (not sharp left back the way you have come).  At the T-junction ignore the right turn to Paston and Knapton, and turn left for a short distance on the road.

As the road bends round to the right, join a track that runs more or less straight ahead. This is a restricted byway called Boundary Lane and it is signed on the left after entering the track.  Continue along this track, ignoring a footpath sign to the right across a field.  Look out for a wide track on the left, signposted Paston Way and restricted byway. This is Stable Lane; take this and carry on past the stables until you reach the crossroads at The Street and Rectory Road. This is called Stone Corner, part of Edingthorpe Green.

Go straight ahead into Rectory Road, signposted Bacton, Edingthorpe via Quiet Lanes, with a pond on your left. Shortly you will see the hexagonal top of the tower of Edingthorpe Church ahead of you, framed by trees.  Over the horse paddocks on the right there is a distant view of Edingthorpe Hall, an early C17 house built of flint with brick quoins, now a smart holiday let for up to ten guests.

As you come into Edingthorpe village you will reach the crossroads with Church Lane as noted in Siegfried Sassoon’s memoires. On the left is the site of the village shop, run by Myrtle Pestell, and now replaced by a modern bungalow. On your left after Church Lane are a pair of listed late C17 thatched cottages, built of flint with brick dressings. The roof gable shows the characteristic ‘tumbling in’ of bricks set in a triangular pattern, used in buildings at this time.

Continue straight along Rectory Road with the village pond on your right.  Just past the postbox on your left is The Old Rectory, which is described in the introduction above.

Look for the signpost set in the hedge pointing to a public footpath, signed Paston Way, Edingthorpe Church, on the left that takes you through Church Farm.

Ahead of you is a modern barn; take the narrow path that leads to the right of the barn and turn right when you reach the farm track. There is a beautiful view of Edingthorpe Church from here, also a distant view of Paston Church ahead of you, Bacton Church on the right, and further along, the sea. Turn left onto a narrow path in front of the churchyard, signposted Paston Way – where there is a convenient dog waste bin – walk past the lych gate and back to the car park.