Knapton - Pigney's Wood - Canal and Paston Way

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The walk starts through part of Pigney's Wood and then goes to the disused North Walsham & Dilham Canal. From Little London we go across fields and through hedge-lined tracks, using part of the Paston Way to reach the village of Knapton. The inner church roof must be seen before moving on down a quiet lane and through Old Hall Street, to reach the disused railway line at Knapton Cutting and walking through the butterfly reserve, where 19 different species have been seen.

Pigney's Wood is a beautiful site within the parish of Knapton and is owned by the North Norfolk Community Woodland Trust. The site comprises 1.7 hectares of mature mixed woodland, 7.8 hectares of new woodland, 8.5 hectares open ground and 5.5 hectares low-lying, wet grassland. Over 20,000 trees of forty species have been planted since the site was purchased in 1992. Other features at the site include a renovated barn, bird hide, reedbeds, a scrape to attract wading birds and information boards on wildflowers, butterflies, trees and birds. More recently, oaks have been planted to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar.

The North Walsham & Dilham Canal was opened in 1826 and was just under nine miles in length from Antingham Mills to Wayford Bridge. Although built for the carriage of coal, it remained cheaper to transport this overland from the coast. As a result the main cargoes were to and from the mills and local area. Nowadays, the canal is only navigable for the first two miles from the Smallburgh end.

The Paston Way is a footpath entirely within Norfolk. The footpath is twenty miles in length, from Cromer to North Walsham. It takes its name from the Paston Family who during the Medieval and Tudor periods were the dominant wealthy landowners, through whose lands much of the trail passes.

Knapton Church is mainly 14th Century, although there is evidence of an earlier church which no doubt housed the impressive 13th Century font. The plain exterior gives no clue to the treasure of mediaeval carving which lies within. Knapton has one of the finest and most handsome of double hammer beam roofs in the country, constructed in 1503. It is not known why this magnificent roof should have been added to such a plain church. The fine workmanship and superb carving is probably the work of London carpenters and may have been transported along the coast to nearby Mundesley. This would give some credence to local tradition which claims that the roof was built from a shipwreck at Mundesley. Find the time switch to allow you to view the roof.

The cemetery contains the gravestone of Commander Jeafferson Miles, RN, inscribed with the legend 'the vindicator of Nelson'. Commander Miles refuted claims made in Parliament in 1799 that Nelson had mistreated Republican prisoners while at Naples.

England - East England - Norfolk - Countryside


Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Good for Kids, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Mostly Flat, Nature Trail, Public Transport, Wildlife, Woodland
12/04/2019 - Bryony Pearson

Thanks Roy, the updated directions and new photos are great. We really enjoyed this lovely walk and will take the correct flight of steps next time!

05/04/2019 - Roy Davenport

Thank you for your comments Bryony Yes a big difference at the canal. I have updated with new text and a photo, WPs 13 and 14, however you took the steps too early you needed those with the information board displayed at the bottom.

30/03/2019 - Bryony Pearson

Between point 4 and point 6, there is now no wooden bridge but an embankment. Follow this keeping the canal on your right until you reach the road. After point 12, before you reach the Paston Way car park, keep an eye out on the right and you will see a stone circle. It certainly looks ancient, but is in fact a feature added by the landowner around 20 years ago! At point 14, the steps have unfortunately rotted away and are lying in a heap at the bottom of the slope! It is easy enough to climb down the slope with a little care. After this where the path forks left, the waymarker is no longer there. We thoroughly enjoyed this lovely walk, thank you Roy!

21/08/2012 - Walkingworld Admin

Our thanks to Roy Davenport for his updates and new photo for this walk. August 2012. Adrian (Admin)

19/07/2011 - Walkingworld Administrator

Roy Davenport tells us that he has just completed this walk and all is OK. July 2011. Adrian (Admin)

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