Last day in Norfolk, weather promised to be windy with frequent shows and we were not let down. The plan was to take a look at the board walk at Barton Broad, as recommended by Ross the boat man, and then take a look at a Nation Trust property probably Blickling Hall. It was only a short drive to Barton Broad, we parked up we had a choice of any parking space clearly a popular place. The board walk was about 1km walk, down a narrow country road we didn’t meet any traffic but we did get a shower so the poncho was donned.
We soon found the entrance to the board walk, which is really well built, according to the notices they had to put in some piles 6.5m down to hit solid enough ground to support it. The walk is circular out over the wooded marsh area and has an observation point. We stopped off and watched from the observation point, spotting terns, plenty of grebes, and we heard what we thought was the call of a water rail. Another shower came along as we sat there so the poncho came out again and we huddled under it. When the rain stopped we headed back to the car park and were soon caught out again by a shower this time very heavy. Helen who had left the car unprepared and without poncho got a bit wet.
Next stop was to be Blickling Hall, an Elizabethan building, with parks and gardens. The sky was grey when arrived so we did the tour of the house first. There are two levels to the house and it is typical of NT properties lots of old stuff, signs on chairs telling whether you can or cannot sit on them, and signs on other stuff telling you that you could not touch. I was impressed by the long room which apparently was build so they could exercise when the weather was inclement and later housed the best library in the National Trusts possession.
There were some impressive trees in the park land one in particular looked old and looked like it had spawned newer trees (albeit very old ones) where he limbs of the main tree (now a dead stump) had touched the ground and rooted. When the next shower came along we popped in for a coffee, and shared a granola cake, then we headed out and had a game of croquet on the lawn. Although we could not figure out the rules by reading the instructions, we made some up and Helen won.
The gardens are extensive and there is some great topiary, but were not really that impressive from a bloom point of view I suspect because it is a bit early in the year, but you could see the potential. My guess is that in a months time the beds will look really impressive. We had a go on the hoopla game at Helen’s insistence, she claimed to be the Bucks under 10 champion, but in the end failed to score and so it was one all in the competitive stakes for the day.
In one of the side buildings there was an art exhibition and more interesting in another was details of the how the local land had been used during the war as an air base called RAF Oulton. It appeared to be mainly used for Boeing made bombers, which makes me suspect that it was somehow connected with the Americans They also had a few planes painted black which were used for special ops.
We were back at the hut at about 17:30 and had enjoyed the day.