Weavers Way: Hanworth to Aylsham




9.9 miles (15.9kms)

223ft (68m)

About the walk

The Weavers’ Way passes through that area of the county which for many centuries was renowned as a centre of the weaving trade. Its 62 miles (100km), connecting two of Norfolk’s larger towns, present extremely easy walking through a variety of different types of country, and take the walker past or near to many places of great interest. This section forges south from the hamlet of Hanworth through a string of pretty villages and Blickling Hall to skim the outskirts of the historic market town of Aylsham.

Walk directions

Starting by a brace of ponds, the route leads southwest along Ringbank Lane, then left towards Thurgarton Lodge, where it goes right and then left into Aldborough.

Bear left after Aldborough across fields and a quiet lane to Alby Hill. Just before Alby Hill, turn south across fields to the church at Thwaite House.

Cross the road here and continue south across large fields to Goose Lane. Turn right on the road and shortly left across Thwaite Common, crossing a footbridge, to reach a road to the east of Erpingham. Turn right to pass throughout the village. 

The family of Erpingham were prominent landowners hereabouts from the time of the Norman Conquest onwards and they gained royal favour by their support of John of Gaunt, whose son Bolingbroke acceded to the throne as Henry IV. Sir Thomas Erpingham commanded the archers at Agincourt.

‘Lend me thy cloak, Sir Thomas,’ says the King in Shakespeare’s Henry V on the eve of the battle, and, so disguised, he mingles among his men.


Turn left immediately after the Erpingham Arms, on School Road, and at the ‘T’ junction go straight across on the field path to join a track (Beech Lane). Follow Beech Lane westwards, turning left at the end to pass Ash Tree Farm.

Beyond the farm, turn right on a track which then leads down to a couple of cottages. Keep on down the twisting lane, till Weavers’ Way signs point down a footpath to a footbridge over the River Bure. This is a place to take your time and linger a while, before taking the Lane past the beautiful mill and, after a short distance, turning left into Blickling Park. Blickling is the best known of several great houses in the area and there are various delightful walks in the grounds.

The Weavers’ Way emerges at the Buckinghamshire Arms and then takes you past the celebrated front aspect of the Hall itself. Ghosts are said to abound at Blickling, including that of Anne Boleyn, the second of Henry VIII’s six wives, who met her end at the hand of the executioner. Blickling belonged to her family for a time, and the headless queen can apparently be seen approaching the Hall, in a carriage driven by a headless coachman and drawn by a headless horse. From Blickling, the Weavers’ Way leads to the hamlet of Silvergate, along the edges of fields, down a broad green avenue towards the very fine Aylsham Old Hall, and then, by means of a dismantled railway line and minor roads, crosses the River Bure again and skirts the north side of Aylsham. This charming town is well worth a visit, if time allows. In the Middle Ages it relied mostly on linen-weaving for its prosperity. Then, in 1372 the manor came into the hands of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and the town began to concentrate on the weaving of woollens and, in particular, the making of worsted stockings, waistcoats and breeches; an industry which kept it prosperous until the great industrial changes of the late 18th century. Everywhere in the town are examples of this Georgian wealth and the wide Market Place is as attractive as any in the county. Markets and auctions are held Monday and Friday, bringing an added zest to the town. The Church of St Michael is sizeable and handsome, and dates from the 14th century. It is said to have been refounded by John of Gaunt. In the graveyard is the tomb of the great landscape gardener Humphrey Repton, who had many connections with the locality and had a hand in the design of the grounds of several big Norfolk houses. His self-composed epitaph reads: Not like Egyptian tyrants consecrate, Unmixed with others shall my dust remain; But mold’ring, blending, melting into Earth, Mine shall give form and colour to the Rose And while its vivid blossoms cheer Mankind, Its perfumed odours shall ascend to Heaven. It is pleasant to note that his rose-covered grave is carefully tended by the Aylsham Society. He died in 1818.

Additional information

Roads, field paths, farm tracks, disused railway line

Farmland, estate, woods, villages

On lead when near livestock or on roads

OS Explorer 238, 252

On street in the narrow lanes of Hanworth

None on route

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