A pretty walk through Brisley village, Norfolk
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk Ramblers take us on an uncommonly good stroll through the county
1. From the cricket field walk up to the main road and turn right past the Bell at Brisley to a concrete First World War pillbox. Turn left along a track at the edge of the green and turn left across a stile just before the first cottage. Keep to the right of the field, cross the stile in the corner and cross the next field to meet a tarmac road. Turn right along the road for a short way and, where the road bears right, carry on straight ahead along a grass path. Keep to the right at the first junction and then follow the waymarked path straight ahead as far as Harper’s Green Farm buildings. Turn left around the farm buildings and follow the farm road to an opening on the left just past the entrance to a gas installation. Take the path past a pond to a stile into a grass field on the left. Cross the field almost back to the farm and then turn right along a field edge path.
2. Follow the path across fields and around some houses to the road. Turn left along the road to the main B1145. Turn left to Brisley Church. Carry on along the road to the end of the churchyard and take a path on the right between the village sign and a telephone box. Go through the hedge and then turn right along the field edge.
3. Just before the end of the field, by two large oak trees, the path crosses to the other side of the hedge. At the road turn right for a few yards and then left across the next field heading for a large tree. At the tree turn right along a broad track and follow this to the wood. Turn left along a path running just inside the wood. Although this area is known as Bilney Common it does not come under the free access land legislation. The act only applies to ‘registered commons’. All ‘commons’ have owners. Originally the commons belonged to the manor and certain ‘commoners’ had rights to graze animals or collect wood and so on from the common in exchange for services rendered to the Lord. Over time many commons were taken back into the hands of the Lord of the Manor, and the commoners either lost their rights or exchanged them for money or a parcel of land. In the 1940s a register was opened to record the rights of the remaining commoners and only commons registered at this time are included in the access legislation.About 100 yards before a tarmac road turn left through a metal gate and follow the way-marked path to a black shed and builder’s yard. Leave the shed to the left and then turn right along a field edge path. At a cross path turn left through a wood. At the next road turn right to pass East Bilney Church on the right.
4. Cross the Black Water by a foot bridge by a ford and soon turn left along Fisher’s Lane. Both lanes appear on the maps as white roads and sometimes it is difficult to establish the presence or absence of a right of way along these lanes. In this case a request to the county council footpath officer established the right of way. At a cross path turn left to cross the Black Water again and carry on along this path for almost a mile to a gate. Go over a foot bridge and through the gate into a water meadow. Keep to the left hedge as far as the far hedge and then cross the field to the right to a stile.
Cross over the stile and bear left across the common between the two farms and pick up the farm road across the common. From this point make your way across the common at any convenient point to return to the start.
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Points of interest
A. Brisley Green is said to be the largest unfenced area of common land in Europe. Until November 2005 access to the 170 acres of common was restricted to residents of the parish and their guests.
The Crow Act of 2000 granted access to all registered common land subject to certain provisions relating to conservation and wildlife. Now it is possible to incorporate access to the common as part of a circular walk around the parish.
This walk combines a short circuit to the north of Brisley with a longer circuit around the hamlet of East Bilney. The walk starts at the entrance to the cricket field on the common just a short distance south of the B1145 and just east of the Bell Inn.
B. The large Church of St Bartholomew is normally open and well worth a visit. It was built over a period between 1347 and 1450 and has features that indicate that it was designed by a number of architects working on other Norfolk churches during that period.
The coloured bosses on the nave roof, the remains of the painted walls and the stained glass of the east window are among the more notable points