Wednesday 2nd April 2014: (Castle Acre here I come) Forgive me, this Post will take the journey up to when I reach Castle Acre – but Castle Acre will appear in the next post. The more pictures I include in a Post the longer it take me to write them. By which I mean it take me longer to write one long post than the same information if I chop it up into three shorter posts. Once a Post goes beyond the length that I can write in one go then it takes longer to pick up the thread when I get back to it.
Talking about threads I note that North Pickenham Airfield was also a host to three PGM-17 Thor Nuclear missiles in the late 50s/early 60s. We certainly lived in some troubled times with nuclear missile sites scattered around the country.
Also Castle Acre is a picturesque place and I took quite a few pictures and they made it into the list for inclusion in the Blog. On the way out of North Pickenham there was time for one last picture of the Wind Farm (well bits of it). This site shows some of the data associated with the Windfarm, including the amount of revenue generated. It seems that it has been embedded in the distribution system, presumably for North Pickenham and the area rather than connected to the National Grid.
I don’t live slap bang next door to a Wind Farm, but there is one that can be seen around Cambridge – Wadlow Wind Farm. However in my travels I do see quite a few of them here and there. So whilst I might be less happy if I lived right next door, I am not that bothered by them. You can hear them making a sort of thrumming noise close up – but I think they look less untidy on the landscape than Electric Pylons which certainly seem to march all around the Fens near Cambridge.
However we have to do something about both Climate Change and our political dependence upon sourcing energy from other countries. With the recent Ukraine crisis it has become more important. Apparently coal is used to generate 40% of the UK’s electricity and Russian provides close to half of that coal.
There is also a Karting Centre there as well – Anglia Karting Centre.
North Pickenham Windfarm
After the brief stop I started looking for the route – according to the trace on my GPS I drifted off the route as I cycled along the quaintly named Procession Lane. (Which I have misnamed on the screen shot below.) I think I must have become too set on cycling on roads and forgotten that the whole point of this ride (for me) was to get some quality cycling time away from roads.
Attempting to find the Peddars Way route after passing though North Pickenham
This was the problem – when I digitised the route on BikeRouteToaster the auto-routing was playing up and wouldn’t always route along some tracks. (I have just tried it and it won’t route along the track part of Procession Lane). So I switched of the Auto routing and clicked along the path by eye at a fairly distant scale. Normally that does the trick. In fact sometimes I don’t notice that Auto routing can create some bizarre routes that I don’t want.
Manual Routing – Procession Lane – Peddars Way – with a zig-zag
This is the same satellite view – but with both the GPS recorded trace (red) and the digitised trace that I was supposed to be following in blue. Neither is correct – the red trace shows my GPS locked to the road for part of the ride down Procession Lane (Restricted byway). Which is wrong – and to do with the GPS trying to give me turn instructions, I think. The trace I digitised has a kink which places the byway slightly to the East of where it should be.
It seems weird that such a small error should confuse me – but it did. I think it was the gate (seen here in Streetview) that added to my confusion – especially as I thought that that route was somewhere else. It all adds to the adventure though..
GPS – not always to be relied upon
A little way down the track and there seemed to be a railway bridge implying that a railway line ran overhead. It did, once, it was the track from Swaffham to North Pickenham, although as was common the station was not in North Pickenham or Holme Hale but between the two and called Holme Hale Station – for pictures of the station go to the bottom of the page in the last link – the two on the left.
Clearly the railway builders felt it was important not to block the Peddars Way. Although another reason might have been to minimise the changes in gradient – to the east the track ran through a cutting.
I thought that with a name like Procession Lane there would be some interesting history behind the route – what with the it being Peddars Way and Procession Lane – but I could find nothing really. This website suggest it was to do with the ceremony of the beating of the bounds.
Norfolk Songline Sculpture – Procession Lane – Peddars Way
Procession Lane was a rather nice track with hedges either side. The sculpture was roughly half-way between the North Pickenham Road and the A47. Here it is – looking South. As you might imagine there are quite a few byways and bridleways in the area that cross the route. It would be fun to spend a little more time in these parts exploring – it is a pity that what was once a quite extensive railway network has been cut back. Then it would have been easier to get around by bike and train.
Procession Lane – Peddars Way – adjacent to a Norfolk Songline Sculpture
Norfolk is an agricultural place, with lots of chrome-yellow fields in the Spring. I know I said was not going to take too many pictures of them – but that was the last post. A little further along Procession Lane, before reaching the A47 I stopped to take this picture. It was the contrast of the vibrant plants in the field with the trees in the background yet to come into leaf.
At the time I selected this picture I had convinced myself that the field sloped, because the trees would have not been vertical – I am wondering whether I was wrong or would it have looked better if I had made the edge of the field horizontal and the trees leaning?
Blue Sky – Yellow Field – Procession lane – Peddars Way
As I was cycling along Procession Lane there was a vehicle blocking the route – a lorry. Oh dear – what was I going to meet – rural routes can encourage fly-tipping for instance. It turned out to be some pipes being laid along the edge of a field – the lorry was delivering them and a chap was digging a trench in the field (with a digger) and laying them.
Then I arrived at the A47 – it took absolutely ages getting across here. I did wonder whether it might have been quicker to cycle down the road towards the roundabout and then take the lane in order to swing round and back. Busy roads block rights of way – I am appalled at how cavalier road planners are – once a road gets above a certain level of traffic throughput then the road planners need to provide facilities for crossing or joining such roads, especially when it comes to vulnerable road users.
After crossing the A47 – Procession Lane then became a road – but not at all busy, it has one farm along it.
Yes, another chrome yellow field – what appealed to me was the way the trees faded away in the distance, there was a depth to them. It was also had a hazy look, thinking back was it to do with the smog reaching Norfolk from the car-choked cities down south?.
Grey Sky – Yellow Field – Procession lane – Peddars Way
As I cycled long Procession lane I came upon yet another disused railway bridge. There must have been loads of railway lines around Norfolk, once, or I had done a 180o turn. The line was the Dereham and Lynn Branch Line. (Wikipedia called it the Lynn and Dereham Line). This time the road was on the bridge and ran over the railway line.
This is the view from the bridge – clearly some people have found another use for the bridge/cutting, as a rubbish dump, it’s pathetic really.
Dereham and Lynn Railway Line – now a rubbish dump – Peddars Way, nr Swaffham
The view down the cutting, it has become pretty over grown – I guess old cuttings aren’t that useful to farmers, so they get left. I would imagine that it is good for the wildlife.
Dereham and Lynn Railway Cutting near Swaffham – Peddars Way
Next stop Castle Acre – yes really this time.