Camping and Cycling at Fakenham
A group of EFOG members met up at Fakenham Racecourse for a weekend of cycling and walking in the area over 2 days.
Starting on Friday 21st August 2009 the Epping Forest Outdoor Group had a camping and cycling weekend, including several walkers who followed their own route. We stayed at Fakenham Racecourse campsite, in Norfolk.
Bill and Inger were already there and had set up in a large field normally reserved for horseboxes. Other EFOG members arrived and tents, large and small, were duly erected.
17 of us spent a pleasant evening sitting in a circle with our meal, next to B+I's tent and van, catching up on everyone's news and plotting Saturday's ride and walk. The next morning was fine and warm but we had to 'fight the good fight' with abundant flies and wasps who were more than willing to share our breakfast !
Inger led the pelaton out from Fakenham, through Toftrees and on to Helhoughton. The last match of the Ashes Test was on today so Bill's radio travelled with us and we caught up with the score during every break. We had lunch by a lake-sized pond, complete with fishermen, in the picturesque village of Great Massingham ; the view was straight off a chocolate box.
The countryside was gently undulating with plenty of small woods and copses to add interest. We passed through Weasenham St. Peter and Weasenham All Saints, Titteshall,and Whissonset. We had a short stop (What's the score, Bill?) and than made a final push for home, via Colkirk and Hempton. We had covered almost 28 miles
As counties go, Norfolk is not over-demanding for cyclists and it has lots of pretty villages and quiet lanes once you leave the main roads.
Our evening of food and bonhomie was repeated , though our cricket fans spent some of the time in the clubhouse catching up on the day's play. After dusk it became noticeably cooler and we eventually retired to our tents for a well-earned night's sleep.
On Sunday we drove to Swaffham , our starting point. We rode south of the town, through Beachamwell, and passed Oxborough Wood, a well-known Nature Reserve, and Oxborough Old Chapel.
Highlight of the afternoon was a pleasant tea-stop at Gooderstone Water Gardens,where a tributary of the river Whissey runs through the grounds. Lots of beautiful plants and trees - a real haven from the busy world. Then on to the village of Cockley Cley. This was known as Cleia in the Domesday Book (1086)--a place with clayey soil, though it can also mean a "wood frequented by woodcock "....yer pays yer penny and yer takes yer choice ..."
Some wayside plums were discovered on the homeward route , which divided the company--those who saw the plums and stopped to pick them, and those ahead who didn't see them.....
The plums were later shared out to all, however. Late afternoon was taken up with striking camp and departing, but we were a bunch of 'happy bunnies' as England had The Ashes. Howzat ?!
Sue Stirling has seen a Bittern at last!
After a family boat trip on Hickling Broad recently, Sue, Fergus, Jacob and Callum went to the Broad's hide and a Bittern flew past! They were also treated to views of young lizards and - so says Sue - possibly the Great White Egret which is reputed to inhabit the area.
Yeh - well, that sounds as likely as seeing a Common Crane at Debden Camp Site!