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Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail

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Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 05 May 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail Walking Guidestar1 Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail Walking Guidestar1 Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail Walking Guidestar1 Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail Walking Guidestar1 Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail Walking Guide
Norfolk, Norwich
Walk Type: Town or city
Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail Walking Guide boot Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail Walking Guide
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A 5 mile circular walk around the city of Norwich in Norfolk. The first half of the walk follows the banks of the River Wensum, criss-crossing back and forth via the numerous bridges – the oldest dating back to around 1340 and the newest having only been built in 2012. The return leg takes you through the centre of the ancient city itself, and you’ll have glimpses of the old city walls, the castle and the numerous churches as well as an opportunity for some retail therapy should you wish! The city walk is one of the most varied we know, with a true mix of ancient historical buildings, industrial heritage and modern architecture.

The walk follows mainly well made paths and pavements. There are no stiles or gates but several fights of steps. There are a few steady climbs/descents plus one fairly steep climb about half way round. Some of the access is through parks, the gates for which are locked at dusk. Approximate time 2.5 to 3 hours.

The walk starts from the Westwick Street pay and display car park which is on the junction of Westwick Street and Barn Road in Norwich. Payment is required seven days a week including bank holidays, so make sure you have some change. If you are travelling by train Norwich Rail Station is on the route – so simply adjust the walk accordingly to start here (near TS Lord Nelson mentioned in the section ‘Pull’s Ferry to Novi Sad Friendship Bridge’). Approximate post code for car park NR2 4SZ.

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Walk Sections

Start to Anchor Brewery
Start to Anchor Brewery

Start point: 52.6337 lat, 1.2873 long
End point: 52.6318 lat, 1.2909 long

Leave the car park via the vehicle entrance and turn left into Westwick Street. Turn left into New Mills Yard and on the left you’ll notice a plate set into the wall marking the various flood levels over the years. Go straight ahead to cross New Mills Bridge and on the left you’ll see the restored Water Powered Air Compression Station.

Turn right to follow the path with the River Wensum on the right. Continue to the next bridge – Coslany Bridge – a green metal bridge built in 1804.

Anchor Brewery to Colegate
Anchor Brewery to Colegate

Start point: 52.6318 lat, 1.2909 long
End point: 52.6329 lat, 1.2927 long

Turn right over Colsany Bridge. Alongside is Bullard and Sons, the former Anchor Brewery which has now been converted to residential flats. Continue ahead until you reach the T-junction with the main road, with St Lawrence Church ahead. Turn left onto the pavement heading uphill. Opposite the Hog In Armour pub, merge left onto Charing Cross. At the traffic lights turn left into Duke Street.

Go ahead to cross over the river and on the left you’ll pass a beautiful old Victorian building which now houses Norwich University College of the Arts. Soon afterwards cross the road via pedestrian crossing with lights and continue down the road opposite – Colegate.

Colegate to St George's Bridge
Colegate to St George's Bridge

Start point: 52.6329 lat, 1.2927 long
End point: 52.6319 lat, 1.2949 long

You will pass by St George’s Church on the left then you will reach the cross roads with St George’s Street.

The northern bank of the River Wensum was once home to the textile industry upon which the city’s prosperity was based. As it declined it was replaced by the shoe and boot trade, which by 1901 employed 5,470 people out of the total working population of 50,000. On the corner of St George’s Street and Colegate is the former Novic Shoe factory which was built in 1876. By 1909 it was the largest shoe factory in Britain with 1,200 workers producing up to 200,000 pairs of shoes each year. The factory closed in the 1970s.

Turn right into St George’s Street.

Just before you reach the bridge you will see The Playhouse on the right, and on the left are a range of benches sporting plaques showing the constellations for each of the signs of the zodiac. Can you find yours? Here you will also see a sculpture dedicated to Barbara Hepworth. Ahead is St George’s Bridge.

St George's Bridge to Monastery Car Park
St George's Bridge to Monastery Car Park

Start point: 52.6319 lat, 1.2949 long
End point: 52.6319 lat, 1.2962 long

St George’s Bridge was built in 1784 to a design by Sir John Sloane, antiquary and architect of the Bank of England. Described as the most aristocratic bridge in Norwich, it is built of Portland Stone and has a single span of 42 feet.

Cross over St George’s Bridge and go ahead past Norwich Technical Institute on the left, housed in a large imposing brick building. Immediately after this, turn left through the bollards, pass under an archway into an old courtyard surrounded by College of the Arts Buildings. Around you, you will see the remains of a former monastery. Follow the path turning left and then right to emerge out into a car park alongside the river.

Monastery Car Park to St James' Mill
Monastery Car Park to St James' Mill

Start point: 52.6319 lat, 1.2962 long
End point: 52.6344 lat, 1.3009 long

Continue along with the river on your left. As you reach The Ribs public house follow the path running to the right of it to reach a T-junction with the main road. Turn left here and follow the road over Fye Bridge and then cross the road to turn right down Fishergate.

Pass by Old Miller’s Wharf on the right and then the Church of St Edmund also on the right. This church is dedicated to the royal matyr King Edmund of the East Angles who was killed by the Danes in the year 869. The Vikings were a strong cultural influence in Norwich for 40–50 years at the end of the 9th century, setting up an Anglo-Scandinavian district towards the north end of present day King Street.

At the end of the road, turn right over Whitefriars Bridge. Cross the road and go down the short flight of steps to reach the riverside path. On the opposite bank you will see the tall brick built structure of St James’ Mill.

St James' Mill to Peter Jarrold Bridge
St James' Mill to Peter Jarrold Bridge

Start point: 52.6344 lat, 1.3009 long
End point: 52.6346 lat, 1.3037 long

St James’ Mill is a Grade 1 listed building and was built on the site originally occupied by the White Friars or Carmelite Friars (a Roman Catholic religious order founded in the 12th century) from 1256. The friars made many additions to their original monastery site including an impressive church of almost 68m in length. The White Friars order was dissolved in 1543 and the site divided up.

St James’ Mill was built here in 1836 in response to the crisis in Norwich’s textile trade. It was fitted with power looms to try to make the trade more efficient and lucrative. Today the mill is owned by Jarrold and Sons and houses the company’s head office.

Continue ahead with the river on your left. Follow the gravel path as it winds through the small grass area and then keep left to cross over the next bridge – Peter Jarrold Bridge.

Peter Jarrold Bridge to Bishop's Bridge
Peter Jarrold Bridge to Bishop's Bridge

Start point: 52.6346 lat, 1.3037 long
End point: 52.6324 lat, 1.309 long

Peter Jarrold Bridge was opened in 2012 and is the newest bridge in Norwich. At the far side of the bridge turn sharp left down the steps and then left again to continue along the river bank.

Continue with the river on your right and you will pass by the leisure centre on your left. On the right hand bank, you will see Cow Tower, a circular military tower built in the 14th Century. It gets its name from the water meadow on which it stands, Cowholme, and is 15m high with walls that are 1.8m thick.

Immediately opposite the tower, turn left up a fenced alleyway. At the end of the alley bear right immediately in front of Zaks Diner, then turn left up the flight of steps to reach the road. Turn right onto the pavement and follow it swinging right and along a walled section. Through the wall on the right you’ll see the river below. As you reach the pedestrian crossing, turn right away from it to cross the oldest bridge on this walk, Bishops Bridge, which was build around 1340. A fortified gatehouse stood on the bridge until the 18th century, and the semi-circular projection you can see today is part of its outer turrets.

Bishop's Bridge to Pull's Ferry
Bishop's Bridge to Pull's Ferry

Start point: 52.6324 lat, 1.309 long
End point: 52.6303 lat, 1.3068 long

After just a few paces cross over the road and turn left down a paved alleyway (note the gates through this section are locked at dusk). The path emerges to become a riverside path with the river on the left and playing fields to the right. Across the playing fields you will have views of Norwich Cathedral.

Norwich Cathedral was founded in 1096 and completed in 1145. It is the most complete Norman Cathedral in the UK and boasts a wealth of Romanesque features with later Gothic additions to create one of the most atmospheric sacred spaces in Europe. The Cathedral has the second tallest spire (at 96m - only the spire at Salisbury is higher) and the largest surviving cloister in England.

The path emerges through gates with Pull’s Ferry on the left, an old arched building where the pull ferry used to run.

Pull's Ferry to Novi Sad Friendship Bridge
Pull's Ferry to Novi Sad Friendship Bridge

Start point: 52.6303 lat, 1.3068 long
End point: 52.6223 lat, 1.3038 long

Continue through the gates opposite. Follow this path through another gate and over a small footbridge, continuing now with the river again to your left.

Go up the steps to pass through the patio garden of the Compleat Angler and then turn left over Foundry Bridge. At the lights cross over to the right and then follow the right fork in the pavement to pass by Norwich Sea Cadet’s training ship, TS Lord Nelson, and Thai on the River, a restaurant boat.

Pass alongside a number of cafes and restaurants on the left, then turn left up a few steps towards the cinema and turn hard right to cross over the modern suspension bridge called Lady Julian Bridge. Follow the path ahead and then merge onto the pavement alongside St Ann Lane. At the T-junction turn left onto King Street. On the corner here is Dragon Hall.

Dragon Hall is a Grade I listed medieval trading hall. It is the only known surviving building of its type in Western Europe, built by one man, Robert Toppes, in 1427 for his own use. The centre piece of Dragon Hall is the impressive 27m long Great Hall which Toppes built as a showroom to display his wares.

A little further along you will pass Wensum Lodge on the left. Continue to the end of the road. At the end, turn left over another suspension bridge, called Novi Sad Friendship Bridge, built in 2001.

Novi Sad Friendship Bridge to Ber Street
Novi Sad Friendship Bridge to Ber Street

Start point: 52.6223 lat, 1.3038 long
End point: 52.6209 lat, 1.3015 long

After crossing, turn sharp right to return to the river bank and turn left to follow the path with the river on your right. Keep left at the fork, heading uphill past the leisure centre on the left.

At the top of the footpath turn right to cross the final bridge on the walk, Carrow Bridge, built as a lifting bridge to allow trade ships to pass up the river. Turn right into King Street. Continue for a little distance and then, after a short stretch of ivy covered cobbled wall on the left, turn left up a few steps onto the footpath called Southgate Lane.

Continue up the walled footpath heading steeply uphill. At the top you will see the large metal entrance gates for Southgate House. Turn left and follow the wider vehicle lane continuing uphill. At the T-junction turn right onto Bracondale, then after just a short distance keep right into Ber Street.

Ber Street to Timber Hill
Ber Street to Timber Hill

Start point: 52.6209 lat, 1.3015 long
End point: 52.6259 lat, 1.2962 long

On the right you’ll see an old section of the city wall. During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London. By the middle of the 14th century the city walls, about two and a half miles long, had been completed. These, along with the river, enclosed a larger area than that of the City of London. However, when the city walls were constructed it was made illegal to build outside them, inhibiting expansion of the city.

Continue ahead along Ber Street. On the left you’ll pass a large deconsecrated church. On the right you’ll pass a number of motorbike garages, including BMW and Harley Davidson. Further along on the right you’ll pass by the remains of St Bartholemew’s Church, a 14th century church which was desecrated in1549.

Continue ahead to pass by the John Lewis Store on the left. At the junction, cross via the pedestrian crossings left and then right, to go down the pedestrian walkway (Timber Hill) immediately to the left of St John the Baptist Church.

Timber Hill to St Gregory's Church
Timber Hill to St Gregory's Church

Start point: 52.6259 lat, 1.2962 long
End point: 52.63 lat, 1.2916 long

This street, now called Timber Hill, was first called Durnedale by the Anglo-Saxons and later in the Middle Ages known as Swine Market Hill then Timber Market Hill. Pass by Castle Mall shopping centre on the right hand side.

At the bottom of the hill you will reach a pedestrian crossing. Over to the right you will be able to see Norwich Castle.

Norwich Castle was built by the Normans as a Royal Palace 900 years ago. It was founded soon after the Norman Conquest and the Domesday Book records that 98 Saxon homes were demolished to make way for it. Used as a prison from the 14th century, Norwich Castle became a museum in 1894. Today, it holds impressive exhibits of fine art, archaeology and natural history.

Cross over the pedestrian crossing and then fork right down White Lion Street. Keep right to pass immediately in front of the Castle Mall entrance and go ahead along the shopping precinct. Continue down Castle Street and if you glance down Davy Place to the left you’ll see the colourful market huts, and if you glance to the right you’ll get another view of the castle.

Cross London Road and go down the narrow Swan Lane. At the T-junction turn left into Bedford Street. At the crossroads, go straight ahead into Lobster Lane. Continue ahead on Pottergate passing St John Maddermarket Church on the right hand side.

You will come to The Bird Cage on the right and immediately after it St Gregory’s Church also on the right.

St Gregory's Church to End
St Gregory's Church to End

Start point: 52.63 lat, 1.2916 long
End point: 52.633 lat, 1.2863 long

Immediately after The Bird Cage on the right, turn right in front of St Gregory’s Church and go down the small footpath to the left of the church, St Gregory’s Alley.

Norwich has a wealth of historical architecture. The medieval period is represented by the 11th century Norwich Cathedral, 12th century castle (now a museum) and a large number of parish churches. During the Middle Ages, 57 churches stood within the city wall and 31 still exist today. This gave rise to the common regional saying that Norwich has a church for every week of the year, and a pub for every day.

Turn left into St Benedict’s Street. Pass by St Margaret’s Church of Art on the right and then a converted church which is now Norwich Arts Centre.

Before you reach the traffic lights cross to the right hand pavement and then continue ahead to reach the lights. A few paces before the lights, turn right onto a footpath with the remains of the city wall on the left and a retail park on the right.

Follow the pavement alongside the main road. Immediately after the retail park, you will see Westwick Street car park where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 responses to "Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail"

Really nice walk, never known a walk with so many pubs and churches on it. Let's you see all the different parts of Norwich

By awizzbang on 2014-08-01 17:11:32

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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