Hockwold-cum-Wilton: Through the fenlands
Chris Barker enjoys a walk in an atmospheric landscape
This fenland walk on the Suffolk/Norfolk border is mainly walked on well-maintained droves. You will be walking alongside and over the Cut-Off Channel.
Start the walk with your back to the pub. Turn left and walk down Church Lane, with the church on your right. When the road becomes a gravel track carry on in the same direction, soon having Moor Drove East to your right. Turn right, walking on a track with trees and hedges both sides. When you come to a T-junction of tracks turn left, soon going through a cattle gate. Continue in the same direction, now walking on a green track. The track will then very quickly swing to the left, then right, with metal fences both sides, crossing Hockwold Sluice.
Once across, the track will immediately swing to the right and you will then come to a footbridge. Cross this, picking up another track which will immediately swing to the left, now walking on a raised bank with a river to your left.
You will soon come to a stile. Cross this and carry on in the same direction. The track will then go down a small bank and swing to the right. Stick to it, having a wooden fence to your right. Go down another slight slope, keeping that same fence to your right and you will soon come to a metal gate. Go through this and carry straight on, now walking on a gravel track, soon having a wire mesh fence to your left before passing through another gate normally open.
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You will then come to a road. Cross this, walking up a slight bank and almost immediately go through a gate. Once through carry on in the same direction walking on the bank. You will then soon come to some double gates. Go through both, still on the bank, for about 20 yards then turn right down a slope. You will see a large wooden gate in front of you. Go to the left of this and through a smaller gate.
Once through carry on in the same direction now walking on a track. The track will then swing to the right. Stick with it, now having a conifer hedge to your left. When you come to a concrete road running parallel in front of you turn left. When the concrete road becomes a gravel drive just carry on in the same direction.
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When you eventually come to a sign in front of you saying Cross Drove Fishery turn right, walking on another drove. When you come to a T-junction of tracks turn right and after a while the track will swing to the left. Just stick to this track and cross a bridge over Cut-Off Channel and immediately the track will swing to the right. This track will take you out on to a road at a bend turn right and when you come to a crossroad, cross the road in front of you and carry on in the same direction down Malts Lane which will eventually become Main Street. Just stick to this road till it takes you back to your starting point.