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Ideas for Boxing Day walks in Diss and South Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 06:43 26 December 2018

A Boxing Day stroll is the perfect way to walk off that Christmas dinner and see the countryside at its winter best. Picture: Getty

A Boxing Day stroll is the perfect way to walk off that Christmas dinner and see the countryside at its winter best. Picture: Getty

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A chilly Boxing Day may not seem an inviting time to pull on your hiking boots, but in fact there is nothing quite like walking in a winter wonderland.

Diss Mere in the winter sun can be seen on the town's waymarked circular walk. Picture: Sabrina JohnsonDiss Mere in the winter sun can be seen on the town's waymarked circular walk. Picture: Sabrina Johnson

The trees may be bare and wildlife not as plentiful as in the warmer months, but under a clear blue sky and with crispy frost or crunchy snow underfoot, the low winter sun gives a different perspective on our countryside.

And wrapped up in your warmest scarf, gloves and hat, a footpath adventure will bring a glow to your cheeks and enable you to walk off that Christmas dinner and all those minces pies.

Whether you fancy a 10-minute afternoon stroll around South Norfolk or want to tackle all or part of the 93-mile long Angles Way from Great Yarmouth to Thetford or the 36 miles Boudicca Way between Diss and Norwich, there’s all this and plenty in-between.

Volunteer maintained Quaker Wood, off Factory Lane between Roydon and Diss, is a great place for a short walk. Picture: Archant LibraryVolunteer maintained Quaker Wood, off Factory Lane between Roydon and Diss, is a great place for a short walk. Picture: Archant Library

You can explore the Diss Circular Walk with the main 5.5 mile route signposted with ‘Diss Circular Walks’ waymarks. Starting at the Mere’s Mouth, the trail then takes you up to Roydon, across to Fair Green and up to Palgrave before returning back to Diss. The paths are mostly level and there are no stiles or other obstacles to negotiate. It’s a great way to explore the various sights of Diss and its surrounding villages.

Alternatively to get off the beaten track you could explore Frenze Beck, on Sawmills Road, which as a mile long circular meadow walk or a shorter route on the nature reserve boardwalk with a bird hide. You could also head for volunteer maintained Quaker Wood, off Factory Lane between Roydon and Diss, to the rear of Diss football ground.

Other great places to head on Boxing Day include Knettishall Heath Country Park, signposted from the A1066, with acres of heathland and woodland to explore. The easy access trail follows a lovely route beside the Little Ouse River and there are a number of signed paths around the park to discover. Peddars Way also starts here running 46-miles to Holme-next-the-Sea.

Angles Way runs across South Norfolk to Thetford with many sections suitable for shorter strolls. Picture: Steve AdamsAngles Way runs across South Norfolk to Thetford with many sections suitable for shorter strolls. Picture: Steve Adams

Look out for Hut Hill, a 4,000 year old Bronze Age round barrow burial mount, and learn about the now almost forgotten industry of rabbit grazing. There are also a variety of other trails to follow for long or short distances, all signposted.

Roydon Fen, accessed via Tottington Lane off the A1066, is a 49 acre reserve. As common land, the fen used to be regularly cut by villagers for sedge, reed and peat. There is a one-mile trail, though like all valley fens it is also incredibly wet, so make sure you wear wellies.

Meanwhile Thornham Walks at Thornham Magna, managed by the Thornham Estate, who are committed to continuing the vision of the 8th Lord Henniker, stretch over 12 miles covering beautiful parkland and ancient woodlands. Highlights to look out for include the Lord Henniker restored folly and the pets’ cemetery, resting place of the family’s pets and horses.

Knettishall Heath has a number of signed paths around the park and is the start of Peddars Way. Picture: Daniel TinkKnettishall Heath has a number of signed paths around the park and is the start of Peddars Way. Picture: Daniel Tink

If you want to join an organised Boxing Day walk you could head up to Brooke for an 11.5 mile walk with Norwich Ramblers. Meet and park in the lay-by just before the village, coming from Norwich, at 10am. There is also a figure of 8 afternoon walk starting at 1pm.

You can download a selection of 14 walks across South Norfolk including in Diss, Scole, Harleston, Burston, Pulham Market, Billingford and more from Norfolk County Council

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