With a country park on our doorstep and glorious countryside all around, Holt is centrally placed to walk out from to enjoy tracks and trails, woodland and sea views, nature and archaeology.
Love Holt is planning to produce a lanyard map of walking and cycling routes. Meantime, here’s some routes for those of you, like us, who have itchy feet.
Originally where the town got its water supply from, Spout Hills is a green oasis, sporting 14 acres of wildlife and walks, just yards from the start of the High Street. A series of springs seep into holding tanks, a stream and bridge from which to play Pooh-sticks lies nearby. Look out for tadpoles in spring, early summer orchids and a place to play come snow-time. There are several nursery-grade slopes on which to test out your skills on improvised tin trays. Our Town Council website has a good article on the history and management of the hills. There’s a working group, should you wish to get involved.
Cross the stream and head left up the hill. Descend steep steps and turn right. Beautiful beech trees can be found either side of a narrow track that brings you out into open fields where you can walk down to the ford at Letheringsett. Its watermill still revolves sometimes, turning grain into flour. Why not join a summer tour. From the ford, cross the footbridge and turn right at the + roads. Well worth exploring before heading back up the footpath alongside the main A149 is round-towered Letheringsett church. The Glaven Valley churches site has a good write-up on its history, and round tower churches in general too.
If you fancy strolling further, turn left at the + roads then take the right fork and walk down into Thornage (passing a large flint new-build that’ll come into play later). At the T junction turn right, take the first right before the church, walk up past Thornage Hall, take the next right again, and you’ll be back on a loop with the large flint new-build on that corner plot you passed earlier coming into view once again.
A walk out of Holt down the Cley road past the town cemetery comes with numerous possibilities.
A footpath left opposite Swan Lodge Barns takes you through to Garden Lane where you can either go right and down into Gladford with its cute ford, or left, and up Garden Lane past pigs and rolling views, coming out in Letheringsett once more.
A right turn at Swan Lodge Barns takes you through to Salthouse Heath, a high ridge housing numerous Neolithic burial mounds. See if you can spot any amongst the silver birch and gorse. One particular obvious one that features a ditch is situated on the aptly named Gallows Hill. A longer loop takes you around to Kelling, either into the village central from Wood Lane and on to the water meadows nearby, or via Kelling Hall) both take you back into town by the Kelling Road.
Situated right on the edge of town, the country park has circular strolls from 1 to 18 miles, all marked from the central car park.
Alternatively, walk from Holt’s high street under the bypass underpass and up Hempstead Road. Follow the footpath sign before the industrial estate on the right to enter the park. Take the first left, go through the gate and out onto open heathland complete with gorse, ancient trees and ponies grazing the hillsides. Two or more children and adults in tow? Try tracking, one group goes ahead and lays a trail for the others to follow. Look out for twig arrows, lots of clues and lots of fun! Visiting in summer? Take note of the buddleias growing in the car park. Red admirals and many butterfly species can be seen feeding on them here.
A nice stroll down the Cromer road through High Kelling brings to you a right turn opposite Bridge Road, at the end of which is Selbrigg Pond, formerly a pond to service Hempstead Mill, now a perfect spot for a picnic. Further on see if you can spot a strange tree – gnarled trunk with strange growths up top, locally known as ‘witches brooms’, this is an ancient Silver Birch tree. Click HERE to see its listing on an ancient tree records site along with a map to pinpoint where.