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Norfolk/Suffolk: The Little Ouse Path

Norfolk/Suffolk: The Little Ouse Path


Postby jonathan - norfolk » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:32 am

Date walked: 20/03/2019

Time taken: 0.5 days

Distance: 16.25 km

Ascent: 20m

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The Little Ouse Path: Thetford to Brandon
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Little Ouse Path waymark

This is a relatively flat 10 miles/16.25 km path along the Little Ouse valley between Thetford in Norfolk and Brandon in Suffolk. Several sections follow the old towpath. It is also well suited to the shorter days of winter and early spring, although much more pleasant when the weather is warm.

We started our walk in Brandon, although, apparently, it is usual to start the walk in Thetford, following the river towpath through Santon Downham to finish in Brandon. Both Thetford and Brandon have railway stations close to the start/finish of the walk and both are well served by bus routes. (Trains are more frequent from Thetford).

The walk, particularly near Brandon, is something of a wildlife haven. On our walk we encountered Siskin, Brambling, Redpoll and a pair of Wood Duck. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker breed in the area and we heard several Cetti's warblers. Highlight though, was a pair of Otters swimming and playing right in front of us.
web_3454 Little Ouse Path Brandon.jpg
Little Ouse Path near Brandon

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Little Ouse Path near Santon Downham


The Church of St Mary the Virgin at Santon Downham is well worth ten minutes of anybody's time. There is another, tiny, church in Santon Downham just east of St Helen's Picnic Site on an alternative route which is also well worth a visit if you are passing that way.
web IMG_3468 St Mary the Virgin Santon Downham.jpg
St Mary the Virgin Church, Santon Downham


Beyond Santon Downham the Little Ouse Path leaves the river for a while and goes through forestry. A better alternative may be found just to the north, however, it does involve a crossing, and briefly following, a busy road.
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The forestry stretch

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The new bridge over the Little Ouse


The Little Ouse Path does re-join the river and a new stretch of boardwalked path leads to a new bridge (not marked on all maps) which should be taken. The path then follows the river into Thetford.
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The Little Ouse near Thetford

There are pubs/cafes in Thetford and Brandon and additional toilets in Santon Downham at St. Helen's Picnic Site (slightly off route) and in the village where there is also a shop (soft drinks, snacks and ice creams).

If you finish in Brandon, Brandon Country Park is well worth a visit with its lakeside lawns, walled garden and visitor centre. Alternatively, if you start from Brandon, a walk around the ruins of Thetford Priory (English Heritage - but free admission to all anyway) is well worth 20-30 minutes of your time, especially if you check out the Gatehouse (still remarkably well preserved.)

web IMG_3497 Thetford Priory.jpg
Thetford Priory ruins

web IMG_E3499 Thetford Priory.jpg
Thetford Priory Gatehouse


Mapping:
Around and About: Little Ouse Path and Thetford Forest South 1:16000 The Yellow Walk Maps http://www.yellowpublications.co.uk
OS Explorer 229 1:25000
jonathan - norfolk
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