Norfolk: Edith Cavell Pilgrimage Walk

Date walked: 20/02/2021

Time taken: 1 day

Distance: 36km

Ascent: 280m

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Edith Cavell Pilgrimage Walk at Marston Marshes

The Edith Cavell Pilgrimage Walk starts from St. Mary's Church, Swardeston and finishes at Norwich Cathedral.
Including a short diversion to Norwich Market, the walk will be between eight and ten miles.
My GPS actually recorded 11 miles covered between Swardeston War Memorial outside St. Mary's Church, and Edith Cavell's grave at Life's Green, Norwich Cathedral. I did, however, explore Swardeston village, Church and Common, as well as part of Marston Marshes.

The total at the top of the page is my total for both the day's walk (13.5 miles) and the Norwich Circular Walk (4.5 miles) as, living locally, I continued my walk to Bishop's Bridge, which crosses the River Wensum, and walked home from there.

The village of Swardeston is where Edith Cavell was born and lived as a child. Her father was the Vicar of the Parish. The walk includes her birth place, home and church. Her name is also carved on the Village War Memorial and her parents are now buried in the churchyard.

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Swardeston St Mary's Church

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Swardeston Church and Vicarage

The walk takes you from the church past the cricket ground to the Common. It is important to pass the Common to it's eastern (right-hand) edge towards Intwood. (It would be easy to go left towards East Carleton which will take you well out of your way. Cavell House is just on your right hand side after the road junction.

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Cavell House - Edith Cavell's birthplace

The route continues towards Intwood, crossing the ford (pedestrian footbridge) towards Intwood Church. Intwood Hall may be seen from the churchyard and a very picturesque gatehouse for the hall is passed by on the way towards the A47. Cross by the road bridge and then almost immediately take the bridlepath on your right back towards the A47. You are screened from the traffic but neither its noise, nor its fumes. The bridleway can be very muddy in places but it's the only stretch of the walk where this is a problem. After about 500 metres take the track up to your left. This leads to Keswick Hall and Keswick Mill.

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Intwood Church

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Distant church: Keswick All Saints

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The river at Keswick Mill

After crossing the level crossing, go up Church Lane and then turn right onto Marston Lane. A short cut across the Marshes is mentioned - don't bother in the winter months unless you have wellies and don't mind wading through water. Marston Lane is excellent walking between the marshes and Eaton Golf Course. This section of the walk is coincident with part of the Yare Valley Walk (an account of which I will post shortly) and well signed. At the top of the hill turn left into Danby Woods I picked my way through the woods (lots of paths) but there was a car park some 50 metres further on and I suspect that the best route goes off to the left from here. You come out at a common. At the top of the hill, in the far left corner is a track which allows you to avoid walking alongside the A140 Ipswich Road for a few hundred metres. After that there is no real alternative other than to walk alongside the Ipswich Road for the best part of two miles into the centre of Norwich (anybody who jumps a bus for this two mile section should be readily forgiven - it cannot be described as pleasant walking by any stretch of the imagination. Norwich City College and the former Norfolk and Norwich Hospital provide some interest along the way.

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Main Entrance of the former Norfolk and Norwich Hospital

Once in the City, the walking is pleasant and the route veers to left to take you past the Open Air Market. It's an ideal place to find lunch. There is excellent "street food" to be found here at very reasonable prices. In addition to the expected offerings of fish and chips and All-day English Breakfasts, Thai, Indian and Spanish food may be found here. There are also (lockdowns permitting) good pubs, bars and cafes around the outside of the Market.
The Cathedral is just a short walk away and the route well signed. For this walk I'd recommend entering The Close by the Erpingham Gate (the lower, and slightly more distant of the two.) The main memorial to Edith Cavell is just outside the gate.

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The Cathedral seen through the Erpingham Gate

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Edith Cavell Memorial

Edith Cavell's grave is located at Life's Green at the back of the Cathedral. It may be found by walking anti-clockwise around the Cathedral.

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Edith Cavell's Grave and modern headstone

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8.00<10 miles miles / 13<16 km Ascent: +107m -136m Naismith: 3h 40m Completed: 2021.02.20

Circular Walk Norwich
This circular walk includes some additional locations included on the Edith Cavell Pilgrimage Cycle Route as well as the best section of the medieval city wall. If that doesn't interest you there is an obvious short cut, or you can just return from the station to the Cathedral on the opposite side of the river to the one that you took going out. Access to the Parkway on the far side of the river from the station is by The Complete Angler. This path is locked at night.

Completing both walks in one day would be quite feasible for a strong walker as, together, they should still be under 15 miles.

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Norwich Cathedral from Cathedral Close

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Edith Cavell's original headstone, Life's Green

If you continue walking around the Cathedral you will come to a quiet road that will lead you to the medieval Bishop's Bridge and the Wensum River Parkway. This may be followed (either side of the river) to Pull's Ferry and Norwich Rail Station.

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Bishop's Bridge

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Cathedral from the Wensum River Parkway Path

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Pull's Ferry

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Norwich Rail Station

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Length: 4.5 miles 7.5 km Ascent: +66m -68m Naismith: 1h 45m Completed: 2021.02.04

Further information:


Note: The map provided is an artist's impression and though useful, has limitations and needs to be "interpreted". In use, it also appeared to be inconsistent with regard to scale. It is much better to "mark up" a 1:25,000 OS map prior to starting the walk, especially as way marking, though present, is limited and often missing where you could really do with it. The leaflet includes information pertaining to Edith Cavell and buildings and monuments associated with her, but directions are generally conspicuous by their absence.

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Comments: 1

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jonathan - norfolk

Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Kilimanjaro
Member: MTA; LDWA; Norfolk Wildlife Trust; RSPB; National Trust
Ideal day out: Epic ridge walk

Munros: 94
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