Reepham and Salle

Enjoy the countryside around an ancient market town.




5.25 miles (8.4kms)

82ft (25m)
2hrs 30min

About the walk

Reepham has one churchyard, but three churches once graced its confines. Two of these still exist, sitting oddly side by side right in the centre of this pretty Norfolk market town. The biggest is St Michael's, dominating the Market Place with its tall tower. It is used as a hall rather than a place of worship and has suffered from over-enthusiastic restoration. Right next to it is St Mary's, which was also ravaged by the Victorians. Parts date from the 13th century, and there is a handsome effigy of a reclining Sir Roger de Kerdiston (d.1337), and his son William. All that remains of All Saints', the third church, is a wall that survived the demolition of the rest of the building in 1796.

A trilogy of churches

There is a reason why Reepham ended up with three churches in one yard, although it's not obvious. Reepham was originally more than one parish, and in William I's 'Domesday Book' it was closely associated with the settlements at Kerdiston, Whitwell and Hackford. All Saints' belonged to Hackford, St Michael's to Whitwell, and St Mary's to Reepham and Kerdiston. This curious set-up seems to have worked remarkably well. In 1543, Hackford's church became ruinous, probably after a fire, and the parishioners moved to share with Whitwell. Eventually, the parishes lost their separate identities and merged into Reepham.

Reepham's rise and fall

In the 19th century the town was prosperous, with its brickworks, horse-training centre, a pair of tanneries and a brewery. It had a Wednesday market and a stock fair, and was served by two fire engines and a company of the Third Norfolk Rifle Volunteers. Railway stations opened in Reepham and Whitwell in 1882, built by men with colourful names like Lumpy Ling, Spitting Joe and Sam Shirt. Unusually, the railway did not bring greater prosperity to Reepham, but served to secure its demise. Cheaper goods became available from outside and local industries began to lose customers. By the end of the century, the population had dropped from 1,800 to 400. There are still many treasures to discover in Reepham.

The Old Brewery House, now a hotel, was built in the early 1700s, and the King's Arms is a former coaching inn dating from the 17th century. There was once a windmill situated on Ollands Road, but the local people objected to it so much that they planted fast-growing trees nearby to prevent the wind from turning its sails. The devious ploy seemed to have worked and the miller was forced to move to a more reliable spot on the Norwich Road.

Walk directions

From the car park turn right towards the Methodist church and turn left up Kerdiston Road, signposted 'Byway to Guestwick'. At the junction with Smuggler's Lane, take the path left into the CaSu Park. Take the footpath ahead of you, then bear to the right each time paths meet, and you will emerge through trees onto the lane again. Turn left and walk under a bridge.

Continue along the road to Manor Farm, then keep straight on to a track just before the driveway to Kerdiston Hall, where the road veers left. At first the track is gravelled, then changes to grass, which can become very muddy after wet weather. The track passes through shady woodland and passes a footpath off to the right before eventually emerging at the corner of a broader farm track.

Turn right to follow the farm track, with high hedges on both sides. After about 0.5 miles (800m), as the track veers a little to the right the tower of Salle church comes into view ahead. Continue past the edge of a wood before swinging to the right. When the track ends at a lane, turn left and continue to the next junction.

At the junction, turn right by Gatehouse Farm and walk up Salle's High Street to the church. There is a bench in the gate for the weary to rest. On leaving the church, cross the road and walk behind the two buildings opposite the church to the far left-hand corner of the village green, and turn right onto a wide green path.Walk along the edge of a field with fir trees on your right, ignoring the footpath to your left, until you reach the end of the plantation.

Turn right towards the road and then left along the side of a hedge. Continue until the path emerges onto a lane, and turn left until you reach a junction.

At the junction, take the path to the right that leads under the old railway bridge onto Marriott's Way. Walk along this cycle route past Reepham Station, complete with its platform. Continue until the path crosses a road, and you see some steps to your right, just before a steel girder sculpture. Walk down them, cross a stile, and turn right under the bridge. Walk along this lane to reach a fork, where you bear right to the car park.

Additional information

Field paths and trackways; beware poor signposting

Lively market town, peaceful village and rural Norfolk

Can run free, but must be on lead on bridleway to Salle

AA Leisure Map 9 North Norfolk

Town car park (free) on Station Road, Reepham

Town centre, clearly signposted; also in Reepham Station

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About the area

Discover Norfolk

The North Norfolk Coast is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and probably the finest of its kind in Europe. Here you’ll find a string of quaint villages and small towns – Holkham, Wells-next-the-Sea and Cley next the Sea are 21st-century favourites, while Sheringham and Cromer are classic examples of a good old-fashioned seaside resort where grand Victorian hotels look out to sea. Further round the coast you'll find Great Yarmouth, one of the most popular resorts in the UK and packed full of amusements, shops and seashore entertainment. And let's not forget Norwich, the region's only city.

Norfolk prides itself on its wealth of historic houses, the most famous being Sandringham, where Her Majesty the Queen and her family spend Christmas. Many of Norfolk’s towns have a particular charm and a strong sense of community. The quiet market towns of Fakenham and Swaffham are prime examples, as well as Thetford, with its popular museum focusing on the TV comedy series Dad’s Army which was filmed in the area.

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