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A GUIDE FOR VISITORS

from historic churches to nature - there's lots to see and do in wayland.

Wayland is an old hundred area within Breckland at the heart of Norfolk and covers over 1,000 sq kilometres of SW Norfolk and NW Suffolk . The name 'Wayland' is not shown on maps but the thriving market town of Watton is at its centre. The area contains many small villages and hamlets linked by narrow lanes and it is noted for its traditional farmland and rural Brecks setting.

Wayland has a distinct landscape, characterised by the Brecks - mixed forest and heath - and is one of the driest areas in England. There are many historic sites to visit in area, including Grime's Graves, flint mines from 5,000 years ago, as well as Medieval Churches, National Trust houses, stunning walks and amazing bird watching opportunities, to name but a few.

Thetford Forest is nearby and is the largest lowland forest in the UK and the area is home to many unique or distinctive birds, plants and animals.The market towns of Thetford, Attleborough, Swaffham and Dereham are also within easy driving distance as is Norwich.

Wayland is one of the few areas in the country where pingos are found. The word ‘pingo' comes from an Eskimo word meaning ‘hill'. Pingo ponds were formed when ice mounds in the topsoil finally melted and collapsed to form irregular pools at the end of the last Ice Age. Most pingo ponds in the UK have been ploughed up and lost but three pingo systems remain in the Brecks - the best place to see them today is Thompson Common, in the heart of Wayland. Thompson Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and dogs are not allowed on the Common in order to protect the rare fauna and flora.

Just south of Watton lies the ancient Wayland Wood noted for its bluebells and its association with the "Babes in the Wood" legend. This is depicted on the Town Sign which occupies a prominent position in the High Street in front of the Clock Tower which was built in 1679 after the 'Great Fire of Watton'.

Take a look below for some of the things to see and do in Wayland and beyond.

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 THE DRAGONFLY GALLERY AND VISITOR CENTRE

You'll find a wealth of local information in our Visitor Centre based in the Wayland Dragonfly Gallery. The Centre sells postcards, gifts and other items produced locally. The Dragonfly Gallery  has regular exhibitions by local artists along with a range of crafting workshops.

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 THE WAYLAND SHOW

Held on the first Sunday in August every year The Wayland Show is one of the oldest county shows in the country.   This year's show will take place on Sunday 1st August.

For further information please visit www.waylandshow.com

 

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MEDIEVAL CHURCHES

Wayland has 18 historic, medieval churches all in regular use. A book and information about Church Tours is available to buy in The Dragonfly Gallery.

 

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WALKING AND CYCLING

There are many local walks suitable for various levels of ability and fitness and a set of leaflets detailing these can be found in our Visitor Centre. Norfolk County Council has produced a series of 'Walks' booklets with one covering the Watton area. Visit the Countryside Access Site for details.

Five special local routes for cyclists are available to buy from the Visitor Centre for £2.00 each. These laminated guides cover several of the most interesting aspects of the area Other cyclists' maps, based on National Route 13, are also available.

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 THE PEDDARS WAY

The Peddars Way runs through the heart of Wayland.  This stunning walk takes you through fantastic scenery including a Roman Road, the unique Brecks, low cliffs and extensive sandy beaches and dunes.  The Trail offers something for everyone from a gentle stroll to a 93 mile (150Km) walk.  For more information visit  the National Trail website

 

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WAYLAND WALKS

There are numerous local walks in the Wayland area. The 3 leaflets shown above were updated and reprinted in 2007, and are available from the Visitor Centre in Wayland House on Watton High Street. Just 20p each or 50p for all 3 purchased together. There is also a selection of other local and village walks, some are free others at a small cost.

The Watton Trail

The trail was produced and published by the Watton Society and was launched in February 2007. Over the last few years the Society has been researching Watton's historic places, and, where appropriate, providing information plaques.
There are 20 places of particular interest listed and illustrated in the Heritage Trail brochure, with a short background note about each one. To visit each place would involve a walk of about 2.5 miles but a shorter route, missing just three places, reduces the distance by nearly a mile! Although the given start point is at the Clock Tower, the route is circular and can be started at any point. However, we recommend starting from the Visitor Centre at Wayland House towards the west end of the High Street. There are car parks nearby but, more importantly, the Visitor Centre (Tel 01953 880212) has FREE copies of the Brochure!
Guided walks of the Heritage Trail can be arranged for small groups; contact the Visitor Centre.

Wayland Word Journey

This book contains four trails for visitors and local people to explore by car or cycle or,  on foot. The trails, named for either historical or geographical reasons, are:
The Templar Trail marks the Knights Templar, who were based at in Carbrooke during the Crusades; the 4 villages of the trail form the Templar Ward.
The Wadetuna Trail is based on Watton, Wadetuna being the ancient name for the town as recorded in the Domesday Book.
The Wissey Trail winds its way through the villages in the western part of Wayland, criss-crossing Watton Brook before it feeds into the River Wissey just to the south west of Great Cressingham.
The Peddars Trail runs through Wayland's southern villages, marking the route the peddlers took as they made their way north on the 'Peddars Way.

The book is priced at £3.50 and can be bought from the visitor Centre.

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 SPORT AND LEISURE

Watton Sports Centre is located just off Dereham Road. Non-members are welcome. 01953 881281
Richmond Park Golf Club is situated about half a mile from Watton town centre. Non-members are welcome. 01953 881803
Eden Meadows Riding Centre is situated on Sandy Lane between Lower Stow Bedon and Fen Street, Rocklands. 01953 483545

 

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 EXPLORE THE BRECKS

"Few of the lowland districts of England have more striking individual characteristics than the area known as BrecklandW.G. Clarke

The Brecks covers 1015 sq kilometres of SW Norfolk and NW Suffolk. It is one of the great natural areas, and one of the driest parts, of Britain. The landscape is of tranquil forest open heathland and agricultural land. Thetford forest is the largest lowland forest in the UK.  The area is home to many unique or distinctive birds, plants and animals.

 

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 PUBLIC TRANSPORT & TRAVEL

There is a good bus service, operated by Konectbus, between Watton and Norwich, and also Dereham, and Kings Lynn via Swaffham.  Less frequent services operate to Thetford and there are a number of weekly and occasional services. A leaflet showing every local bus service to, from and through Watton; it is available from the Visitor Centre or Wayland House Reception.

Local taxi firms include:
Anns Cars 01953 881420;
Home James  0800 732 6322 or 01953 885966;
Prestige 01953 883108;
Robin's 07849 523555;

Nearby Attractions

A local attraction is Melsop Farm Park, situated at Scoulton. It offers 'Family Fun down on the Farm'  and is especially suitable for families with young children. It has an extensive range of animals and rare breeds, including pigs, cattle, sheep, goats (with lambs and kids in season),  rabbits,  guinea pigs, ducks and geese. There is a Gift Shop, Café, a picnic area and ample parking. Private parties are catered for, and Children's birthday parties are a special treat! Group and school visits are welcome. Call 01953 851943 for further information and to book.

Other attractions within easy reach include:

Dad's Army Museum, Charles Burrell Collection Museum, and Ancient House Museum (Thetford),Thetford Forest (High Lodge),  Mid-Norfolk Railway (Dereham/Wymomdham), Banham Zoo, Bressingham Steam Museum & Gardens,
Grimes Graves (English Heritage), Rural Life Museum at Gressenhall,
Oxburgh Hall (National Trust) and Gooderstone Water Gardens.

Not much farther away are Sandringham, HM The Queen's Norfolk Residence, and other stately county homes. 

Shopping & Leisure

Specialist shops in Watton include fashion (Doves), an antiquarian bookshop and picture gallery (JC Books).  There's an excellent DIY, hardware and household goods store and mini garden centre (Myhills), and also another general & household goods store with the meaningful name of  "Spoilt for Choice". There is a weekly Market in Watton town centre on Wednesdays.

The Dragonfly Gallery & Visitor Centre carries a range of local postcards, giftware and unique souvenirs and ift vouchers, available during and between exhibitions. Our postcards, are also on sale in Edwards Newsagents in Watton High Street.

Just south of Watton lies the ancient Wayland Wood noted for its bluebells and its association with the "Babes in the Wood" legend. This is depicted on the Town Sign which occupies a prominent position in the High Street in front of the Clock Tower, which was built in 1679 after the 'Great Fire of Watton'.

In accordance with their international credentials, the Rotary & Inner Wheel Clubs, which meet on Thursdays, welcome member visitors - email wattonrotary(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)aol.com or contact 01953 884224.

use wayland as a base to explore norfolk – from the historic City of Norwich to the rugged North Norfolk coastline.


Head for the coast

There’s something for everyone along Norfolk’s stunning coastline. North Norfolk with its wildlife marshes and never ending beaches is rugged and beautiful. Trips out could include bird watching at Cley marshes, a boat trip from Morston to Blakeney Point to see more wildlife including seals, lunch at Morston Hall run by the TV celebrity chef Galton Blackiston, shopping in Burnham market and a long walk along the beach at Holkham. Further round the coast you’ll find the timeless resorts of Sheringham and Cromer and miles of golden sandy beaches that stretch right round the coast to Great Yarmouth.

A bit of  heritage

For those who like to delve into the past Norfolk has a wealth of ancient sites and historic houses to visit.  In the west of the county you’ll fine Grimes Graves a Neolithic flint works and Oxburgh Hall a stunning moated National trust property.  Other National Trust properties include Flebrigg Hall and Blicking Hall which is steeped in history and where Ann Bolynn’s ghost is still said to roam.  English Heritage also have several sites well worth a visit including the castle and priory at Castle Acre and Castle Rising near King’s Lynn.

A fine city

The city of Norwich with its famous castle and Cathedral is just half an hour’s drive away from the Wayland area.  While you are there you can also visit the Forum – the City’s award winning  library and the out door market which is one of the biggest in Europe.  For those who love to shop there are a huge variety of shops – from the art and craft shops to be found in Elm Hill Norwich’s oldest street to Chapelfield the City’s newest mall.   If it’s nightlife you’re after Norwich has a great deal to offer – including pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinema.

The Norfolk Broads

No trip to Norfolk would be complete without a trip the Broads.  The Norfolk Broads is one of the most picturesque parts of England and offers perfect tranquility and beauty for visitors.  There’s something for everyone whether you are a keen fisherman, bird watcher, nature lover or in need of a relaxing break.

 

Visit Wayland is the brand new site for the Wayland Tourism Association