Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cycling the cycle-able bits of Peddars Way–part 4

Wednesday 2nd April 2014: (Pedalling to  North Pickenham) After passing Illington Road you carry on on a track until Stonebridge. Where you can use a bit of shared-use  path before turning off along the Woodcock Road.  The Woodcock Road doesn’t really go anywhere – it used to take you to Tottington, a deserted village, now part of the Stanford Battle Area – 30,000 of British Army Training area.

After a while Woodcock Road becomes a no-through road for motor vehicles, and the quiet road becomes even quieter.  This is part of NCN13 a North-South cycle route from almost Colchester (according to the OSM) to where it joins NCN1 just after Gately.

In the picture, to the right, is the Great Hockham Road – straight on for the Peddars Way.

Woodcock Road becomes a no-through road - NCN`13 (Peddars Way)

As I mentioned the route passes alongside STANTA (Stanford Training Area). Although I have been this way a few times and indeed around other areas in Norfolk where you pass military training areas have yet to see a soldier training.

Perhaps they hide behind the trees whenever they see a cyclist. The trees do seem to line up in ranks.

Woodcock Road – NCN13 – Peddars Way – serried ranks of trees

Shortly after passing the no-through road sign the road forks – and the cycle route takes the one to the right along the forest track.

I rather like exploring and if I had lived in these parts as a kid there would have been a temptation to roam – which means I would have roamed. Now I am older I don’t fancy getting shot. Also I had my bike, but no bike lock so I wasn’t going to leave that lying around.

STANTA – NCN13 – Peddars Way

The track starts out almost road like – but becomes more of a track pretty quickly – not a bad track. There are farms around that use it.

NCN13 – Peddars Way – STANTA

The track does become even more track-like. I have been along here when there were large puddles – this time around it was dry. Those two pole presumably had a sign on them – not sure what it said though. This is close to Thompson Water – a man-made lake.  The route also lies on the Great Eastern Pingo TrailPingos were originally low hillocks formed of water beneath the soil surface during the last ice-age, 20,000 years ago. When the ice melted it left behind a depression.  You are never too old to learn and that is something I only found about about recently.

The potholes aren’t Pingos but the Sustrans map does warn you about the potholes on this stretch.

Also if you look at the Sustrans map it shows that NCN13 route carrying on to the Tottington Road and thence to Thompson. Whereas the OSM Cycle map shows the cycle route heading along a track to Marlpit Road.  The OS map also shows NCN13 as per the Sustrans route. As it happens although the OSM Cycle map marks its NCN13 route as a track it looks just like a road as you pass it. If you cycle along it, it becomes more track like though.

Great Eastern Pingo Trail aka NCN13 aka Peddars Way

Now I have to confess that I just programmed the route shown on the OSM Cycle map into my SatNav and followed it. When I hear a car driver say that after driving into the sea  it makes me think get a brain. Well when I got home I had a more detailed look at the map and I am confused. This bit might actually be a footpath rather than a shared-use path. Which of course I shouldn’t have cycled along.

The Norfolk Right of Way map shows it as a footpath, although the same map also shows the bit past Thompson Water as a footpath and yet it is cycle-able. Also towards the end of this route I think I saw a sign that at least some of it was a permissive bridleway. Although the picture I took of the scene isn’t quite clear enough. This is a very picturesque part of the Peddars Way though.

Peddars Way – just after passing Tottington Road

A little further along was one of the five sculptures designed by Tom Perkins to act as permanent waymarkers on the Peddars Way – A Norfolk Songline. This one starts – “Surveyors have made their lines on the land”. Its record is here.

One of the Norfolk Songline Sculptures along the Peddars Way

At the end of the wiggly bit – which drifts off the course of the Roman Road was this gate and that sign I mentioned that I am sure say it is a permissive bridleway.   Although I don’t normally take many pictures looking back the way I came, this one and the next one are both looking back (in pleasure).

Permissive Bridleway – next to Millhill Coverts

The track then turns left and take you to an official byway towards Capp’s Bush.  This view looks back the way I came – the byway is somewhat rustic.

Almost at Capp’s Bush and the Peddars Way

As you can see the track becomes more bridleway-like than byway.

Peddars Way – near Capp’s Bush

A quick look at the OSM map and Capp’s Bush is called Capps’ Buch. Shortly after that you end up having to cycle on a road – shock. Although as roads go this was a good ‘un.  It was quiet and rural – fine by me.

The weather was pleasantly warm without there being too much sun – a great cycling day.

Peddars Way on the Brandon Road

After a while of pleasant country lane this rather grand building came into view as I cycled along Caudle Road. It was Pickenham Hall (which I just looked up). It seems to have been in private ownership and was up for sale – but that was 11 years ago.  It is also a listed building with Arts and Crafts gardens.

The road was very rural, with high hedges in places,  but really good for cycling as there weren’t many cars around. I was feeling a bit peckish.  So the question was did I break out the Jelly Babies or should wait until I reach civilisation to find lunch – I didn’t break out the Jelly Babies. I did stop to take pictures though. Although I had to stop myself from taking too many pictures of yet more chrome-yellow fields under blue skies. The scenery was very rural – but I guess readers of this Blog already see a fair number of blue and yellow pictures already.

Yellow Fields – Blue Skies – Peddars Way between South and North Pickenham

I am not one for clock-watching when I travel, nor was I following my progress on a map. All I had was a small window on the world on my Edge 605 GPS that I used to ensure I took the right turnings as they came up.  The screen only gave a window of around 240m x 480m when viewed at a scale suitable for showing the detail.

So I didn’t really know what the time was or where I was in relation to Norfolk or progress on the journey. However in the distance I saw some signs of civilisation and also a Wind Farm. It was North Pickenham Wind Farm and apparently has 8x 1.8megawatt turbines.  The land around was previously an airfield -  RAF North Pickenham, an aerial view can be seen here.

Two Turbines – North Pickenham Wind Farm – Peddars Way

As it happens I didn’t spot anywhere convenient in North Pickenham to stop and pick up a snack – although I didn’t go out of my way to look. I just carried on through the village, climbing slightly.

I had to stop when I saw this chap – it looks rather like an alien out of Dr Who. It is a statue of an Anglo Saxon Warrior and George unveiled it. It has weather a bit from when it was installed. Here are some words about it – sorry their picture fails to load – but the text says that it was carved from a single piece of Elm from the South Pickenham Estates.

PICA – An Anglo Saxon Warrior – North Pickenham – Peddars Way

Next Stop Castle Acre

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