G – Guest Blog

By webchoiceadmin On April 08, 2014 · Add Comment · G – Guest Blog

A true Norfolk girl, whom, I have never met, but have had some fairly lively debates with on twitter @wunjot; I thought if anyone could tell a Norfolk tale this was the person to ask, so politely with cap in hand I thought nothing ventured nothing gained, happily she agreed with the usual enthusiasm you can find in her twitter posts;

“Norfolk born & bred, now exiled in Scotland. NCFC fan, keen walker, lover of nature & Gaia. Wunjot.blogspot.co.uk
Guest Blog

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that I am very fond of all things related to Norfolk and Norwich. What might not be so obvious is that much of this love stemmed from a visit to the Norwich tourist office when I was about twelve years old. My sister & I had decided to cycle “up the City”. Whilst I’m definitely sure that our parents hadn’t sanctioned this excursion, I’m less sure why we propped up our bikes against the wall of the Guildhall (where the Tourist Office was housed in those days) and decided to take a look around inside. All I do know is that during the visit I took possession of a free map of Norfolk, which turned out to be like a key to the county.

First, I used the map for historical research and annotated it with all the Hundreds – these were an ancient way of sub-dividing Norfolk for military and ecclesiastical purposes prior to 1834 – there were about 33 of them, along with Norwich itself. Guiltcross Hundred for example, contained the parishes of Banham, Blo’Norton, East Harling, Garboldisham, Gunthorpe, Kenninghall, North Lopham, Quidenham, Riddlesworth, South Lopham and West Harling. I did this because I was curious about the Victorian inscriptions (Forehoe & Henstead; Mitford & Launditch etc.) on some of the houses I passed on my way to school – I had found out that these were the names of Hundreds. Next, I challenged myself to cycle to as many of these Norfolk villages as I could get to from Old Costessey, there and back in a day, on a Raleigh bike with no gears! Once I got home such a trip, all the villages I had visited were ringed on my map (there were no highlighters back then)!

Gimmingham
Gimmingham

My childhood ambition was to visit every village in Norfolk, but of course I never achieved that. Norfolk is  vast (2,074 square miles)! What I did manage though was to spend some wonderful days cycling down little  lanes surrounded by the glorious Norfolk countryside, on an exciting voyage of discovery. Around six years  later, when I bought a Vespa scooter, I was able to visit a few more far-flung places, but by then I had  become more of a connoisseur and concentrated on puttering along byways leading me to Broadland and  the North Norfolk Coast. To date, I’ve still not ringed every village on that, now very tattered, tourist map.

Nowadays there are villages that I know very well – my sister lives in Kings Lynn – so I often pass through Gaywood and Gayton. Growing up I stayed with school friends in their homes in Goodeston and Gressenhall. Trips to the seaside often involved passing through Gimmingham, Gunton and Gunthorpe. Other villages though, such as Grimston, Griston and Godwick are still a bit of an enigma to me.

Gunton Stration on the Bittern Line
Gunton Stration on the Bittern Line

Even though I live in Scotland now, my love of Norfolk has not diminished and I always visit a couple of times a year. My husband recently bought me a couple of antique books written in 1818 called “Excursions in the County of Norfolk” they are the “Rough Guides” of their time and on my next visit I’ve decided to select one of them and follow in the footsteps of the writer. Although I’m now of more mature years, there is still some of the curiosity of that twelve year old child in me calling me on to more great and glorious adventures!

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