This pleasant 6-mile walk starts from the village sign on the green in Martham. The village is on a regular bus route from Great Yarmouth. (Explorer map OL40 G/R TG 457180).
Martham surrounds a large green bordered by several Georgian houses and containing two duck ponds. There has been a village here since the Saxons settled here around AD 601. The large St Mary's Church in the middle of the village is known as the Cathedral of the Fleggs due to its size and rich interior. The present building dates from around 1450 and has several medieval survivals.
The walk goes over fields to West Somerton before heading alongside the River Thurne which flows to the north of Martham village. Especially lovely is the path along the edge of Martham Broad, a Norfolk Wildlife Trust Reserve. This National Nature Reserve is one of the best sites in the Broads National Park to see swallowtail butterflies. There are lots of wildfowl on Martham Broad including cranes - and a marsh harrier was spotted during the walk.
From the village sign take the road signposted to Somerton and Winterton. Go past the Cornerstone Baptist Church and follow the main road round to the left past the village hall. Continue on along the pavement beside the road and go past the churchyard and St Mary’s Church. Then, as the main road bends right, continue ahead into School Road. At a crossing road (Staithe Road), turn right. Continue past a farm and Damgate Lane on the left. At the junction with the main road (Somerton Road), continue ahead for about one hundred and fifty metres and then turn left along a signed track.
Follow the track as it first bends left and then right between houses at Damgate, ignoring a lane on the left. Continue along the track as it bends rightwards between the fields. Soon West Somerton Church can be seen ahead, slightly rightwards, and West Somerton Drainage Mill is over to the left. As the track bends right again, continue ahead across the field to a marker-post. On reaching the junction with Sandy Lane, turn left. Go past Heron House and turn right onto a signed, narrow path beside Rectory Cottage. Go left and right along the path and, just before reaching the cat hotel, turn left through a gate onto another signed path. Go along the path to reach the staithe at West Somerton.
Go leftwards along the path beside the River Thurne to the noticeboards about the nature reserve with West Somerton Drainage Mill just ahead on the other bank. Here, follow the path leftwards away from the river with fenland on the right and farmland on the left. Go left and right with the path and past an area with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust Reserve and Martham Broad on the right. This would be a good place to stop for a break. Continue along the path, as it wanders beside the fenland on the right with Martham Broad beyond. Go past a small wooded area on the left after which the path continues rightwards with fenland on both sides for just over half a mile before reaching the bank of the River Thurne.
Follow the path leftwards beside the river. Soon Heigham Holmes Drainage Mill can be seen over to the right. Continue along the path for about three-quarters of a mile to Martham Dyke with a boatyard and other properties ahead. Turn left away from the river bank and go beside the dyke. Continue past Martham Pits fishing lakes and a car park on the left to reach Ferrygate Lane. Continue ahead along the lane for about half a mile, ignoring a path on the left. Then follow the lane round a left bend, ignoring the path off to the right, and go past The Granary and Broadland Country Sports Shop. Turn right into Black Street and go past Martham Church. Continue ahead into the centre of Martham and turn left back to the start.
For more information about THE RAMBLERS’ ASSOCIATION, call 07505 426750 or click www.ramblers.org.uk
Our thanks to from Sue Walker of the Ramblers’ Wensum Group for providing details of this great walk, originally published in Harnser Magazine Oct 2020. To get a the latest Harnser magazine delivered to your door four times a year, join The Broads Society today.