Monday, 12 March 2012

weekend walks...

Isn't it funny that you can live in or near a place for years without ever really seeing things? I think we spend so much of our time rushing from one place to the next, or in cars or other forms of transport, that our view of the world is skewed by the limited frame we can see it in. 

One of the real pleasures of living where I do now is that it is so much easier for me to get to places without having to get in the car. Not only am I spending an appreciable amount less on petrol (which goes some very small way to offsetting the higher costs of rent, water rates and council tax but hey...) but I get to properly look at what is around me as I walk.

Yesterday I was awake at silly o'clock (as is so often the case...!) so I got up and decided to wander down to the shop for a paper. Only when I got out of the house it was so bright and lovely I thought I'd just keep walking for a bit and set off in the opposite direction to the paper shop.

I walked past what is still known locally as 'the old hospital'...

The Norfolk & Norwich Hospital was a mixture of these rather beautiful grand frontages and a couple of tower blocks and about 12-13 years ago was moved in its entirety to a brand spanking new building on the outskirts of Norwich. It has to be said behind these fancy fronts was an old, not quite fit for purpose and sprawling complex which had enormous problems in terms of maintenance and suitability for the needs of a modern acute hospital. The listed frontages remain but the rest of the site has largely been turned into trendy apartments and town houses but to me the area holds lots of memories (mostly good!). The two buildings that were the nurses home (and where I lived as a very green student nurse!) have been refurbished and converted into flats. I can still see the window of my room in what used to be Alexandra House - I'd love to have a nose inside; I'd like to bet the rather grotty (freezing!) shared bathrooms have gone and been replaced by something much more sophisticated. I wonder if it still retains its slightly institutional feel?!

I headed out towards the east side of the city, in the direction of the football ground and the train station and found myself walking alongside the old medieval city walls...

I have lived within a 15 mile radius of this area for almost my entire life and although I knew there were big chunks of the ruined city walls visible - you can hardly miss them if you drive around the city ring road - I had no idea that this section of the wall is so intact and had never walked down here before.

You can walk beside the wall down a longish stretch almost down to the river (which I suppose formed one of the borders of the city defences)...

There is something very impressive about these structures, built about 700 or so years ago. When you think of the labour that must have gone into transporting the materials and constructing the fortifications at that time... they must have made people feel much more confident on their security. 

My little camera didn't do justice to the views but it was possible to see right across the city, with the major landmarks of the Cathedral and the castle clearly visible.  

I was down by the river by about 9am and it was still early enough on a Sunday morning for there to be very few people about apart from a few earnest looking anglers positioned at strategic intervals along the river walkway with all their kit. The water was still and beautifully reflective...

I kept walking beside the river around the back of the cathedral and past Pulls Ferry, a 15th century watergate that originally led to a canal which was used to transport building materials for the cathedral.

It is a very pretty flint building and a recognisable landmark on the Norwich tourist trail.

From here the striking cathedral spire dominates...

...particularly against the blue sky. There was real warmth in the sunshine, even quite early in the day, and the daffodils by the river have started to open...

I so love these simple bright blooms, they truly lift my spirits!

On through the cathedral grounds...

Just look at that clear blue sky!!!

It was a really lovely start to the day - I walked for almost two hours and I'm sure I could feel my happy hormones kicking in as I went!

Then at the other end of the day, it was still such a gorgeous spring day, so I set out in the opposite direction towards the university - across one of the city parks and the university grounds. The University of East Anglia is renowned for being a bit of a concrete campus (bit like marmite - you either love it or hate it!) but it is set in the loveliest piece of green land with its own broad, which was just beautiful with the sun setting...


Til next time, then...



  1. That looks like a lovely walk. We don't have anything ancient here and it a little difficult to comprehend at times that there are structures still in use that are centuries old.
    xXx Helen

  2. What a wonderful series of images this is Sandra!
    One of the most wonderful things about photography is finding the new in things we've seen time and time again!

  3. You live in such a beautiful place!!!
    And have some great photography skills- these photos are amazing!!!

  4. What a beautiful day and some stunning pictures too :-) I know what you mean we often do not see the beauty of the area we live in and instead opt to visit other area when there is so much locally.
    A truly uplifting and inspiring post thank you for sharing your day x

  5. Hello there, oh I have missed so many of your posts, have just had a lovely have been a very busy girl, made some lovely items, taken some great photos, gone on some fantastic walks. I read right back to you giving me an award, thank you so much, I had forgotten who had given it/them to me (as stated on my blog) Being busy robs your memory bank, or maybe it is advancing old age lol. So happy that you are doing ok.
    xx Sandi

  6. Hi Sandra, I really love reading about your little (and sometimes long!) walks here and there! I know you sometimes think your camera isn't as good as it could be but you still manage to take lovely photos with it!

    Can I ask you a question please? I don't want to put a 'downer' on such a nice post, but I was just wondering, do you ever feel uneasy when you're out walking on your own, especially in some of the more quiet, out-of-the-way places, even in broad daylight? I'd like to do more walking, on my own if necessary, but I always have a niggling fear of meeting some unsavoury character on a quiet stretch of towpath or in the middle of a field when there's no one else around for miles. Do you every worry about this, or do you just have to stride out looking confident with a "don't-mess-with-me" attitude?! Or perhaps I should stop thinking that I live in an episode of CSI West Yorkshire??!!

    Anyway, really lovely post and I hope you don't mind the slightly negative question, I'm just genuinely curious. xx

  7. It must be awe inspiring to walk near such ancientness!! What a lovely city for walking!! Your pics really bring it all to life!! I hope you share more walks with us!! :)

  8. Thank you for the lovely walk & beautiful photos. I've never been to Norwich or anywhere in Norfolk so thank you for giving me a wonderful peek !

  9. Your picture "tour" is so wonderful. It must be so nice to live in an area with so much history. Your walks have inspired me to actually look at my surroundings and appreciate my own environment.


Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love to read your thoughts.