A pretty walk in Swardeston

Swardeston church has a stained glass window commemorating nurse Edith Cavell (photo: Peter James)

Swardeston church has a stained glass window commemorating nurse Edith Cavell (photo: Peter James) - Credit: Archant

Step out in the spring sunshine for a walk with Peter James of the Norfolk Ramblers

Crown copyright 2019 Ordnance Survey. Media 013/19

Crown copyright 2019 Ordnance Survey. Media 013/19 - Credit: Archant


1. Turn right from the car park; at the finger post turn right then take the second track on the left. Follow, passing the gates on the left. Keep following to a marker post; turn right, follow the path down the hill. Before the kissing gate turn left, follow to the woods. The path now winds its way through to a bridge; cross, bear right then, after a short distance, go left and follow to the gates out on to the road. Cross, taking the path on the other side of the road. Follow this, turning left and follow the field edge path up to the hedge. Turn right, follow the path passing two large oak trees. At the end of the hedge at the horse paddocks turn left, pass through the gate then follow the track to the road. Be careful crossing as traffic can be speeding through the village.

2. Once on the common, turn right, follow the path to the road. Turn left, follow to the top corner. Leave the common, cross the road to Rectory Lane. Follow to the gap in the hedge on your left then follow the field edge path. The official path goes across the corner but the permissive field edge paths are easier to walk. Follow to the main track.

3. If doing the shorter walk, turn left here, then right at the hedge and follow to (4). For the main walk go straight on, crossing the field to the woods. Pass through, follow to the hedge then turn right heading towards the cottage. Turn left; this brings you to the road where you turn right then sharp left on to the track to the woods. At the back of the old manor house follow the path until you pass under the pylons. Turn left under the pylon; over the stile follow the hedge to the large farm building. Turn right then left out to the road. Turn right just before the large tree. At the finger post turn left then, at the marker post, turn right. At the hedge turn left and follow to the road.

4. Turn right, follow to the main road, cross and follow to the war memorial. Turn right into the church yard, past the church follow the track – this will bring you back onto Swardeston Common.

Points of interest

Most Read

Swardeston was the home of First World War heroine Edith Cavell. Her father, the Rev Frederick Cavell, came to Swardeston soon after he was ordained. Edith Louisa Cavell was born, on December 4, 1865. Before the war began in 1914, Cavell served for several years as the matron of a nurse’s training school in Brussels. After the city was captured and occupied by the Germans in the first month of the war, she chose to remain at her post, tending to German soldiers and Belgians alike.

In August 1915, German authorities arrested and executed her for allegedly helping British and French prisoners-of-war, as well as Belgians hoping to serve with the Allied armies, to escape Belgium for neutral Holland. There is a stained-glass window in the church and other artefacts on show.

The Common is the glory of Mulbarton: over 45 acres of open land, mostly within a triangle of roads. Today, the Common is a recreation area for the rapidly increasing number of people in the village - and their dogs. Its football pitches are used by all ages. Even in the 19th century, there were day-trips from Norwich to Mulbarton for games on the common and liquid refreshment at the World’s End pub.

A move to enclose the common aroused great opposition in 1865, and modern development on the perimeter has been resisted with partial success.

In earlier times, the common must have been vital to the community, a place to graze the cattle and keep them from the surrounding open fields. The name Mulbarton is ‘Mokebertuna’ in the Domesday Book, and probably means ‘an outlying dairy farm’.

It is just possible to imagine that a clearing in the forest where the dairy cattle grazed has become our present common.


Ordnance Survey maps are available from all good booksellers and outdoor stores or visit our online shop www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/al

Get rambling

Norfolk Ramblers welcomes new members. If you are interested in walking in the company of like-minded people, visit norfolkra.org.uk or call 07505 426750. For queries about this walk, phone 07905 565740.

Norfolk Ramblers has established a footpath working group to do some path cutting and general maintenance. We try to make sure that all the paths in these walks are fit to walk, but if you encounter a problem please tell us.

Contact Peter James at pdjames.ramb@ntlworld.com; 07905 565740

Start/finish: Opposite village hall


Main walk: 6 miles 9.8km

Short walk: 4 miles 6.5km

Grid reference: TG1997 0259

Post code: NR14 8DX