With a few months of project work under our belts, we’ve got plenty to report and plenty upcoming. We’re still looking for volunteer contributions in everything from practical conservation and biodiversity surveying to oral history and archival discovery, with dates for the first round of tasks and training currently being finalised. September and October will see the project really kick into action, so to express interest in any area of volunteering please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and keep your eyes peeled for further developments.
The first meeting of the project’s stakeholder group took place at County Hall on Wednesday 5th July. It was well attended, with individuals from a range of backgrounds represented. We’re happy to report that support was strong for the project and people were enthusiastic in offering ideas and suggestions for making it as successful as possible. These especially focused on opportunities for engaging the communities along Marriott’s Way – something which sits at the heart of the project. There were other great ideas too, like volunteers ‘adopting’ historic railway workers and creating biographies for them, or schools becoming guardians of nearby stretches of the trail.
We’ve had some wonderful walks so far as part of the Heritage Trail project, including the one pictured here, led by the Norfolk Wildlife’s Trust’s Nick Acheson. The walk began at The Marlpit Arms and explored a fascinating nearby stretch of the Marriott’s Way. As Nick noted: "It is just amazing that here we are in a major city with a whole set of rare meadow plants we have lived alongside for centuries." The history of Marriott's Way - natural, social and industrial - is endlessly fascinating. These walks provide great opportunities to find out something you might not already know, and perhaps to see even the most familiar sections in a new light.
Our programme continues on Saturday 19th August, with a leisurely 5.5 mile walk led by experienced volunteer guide Sue Rose: ‘From Concrete to Christianity…’ This will be a circular walk, with plenty of chances to stop and take in the surroundings or to take photos. Starting at 10am from the Marriott’s Way car park on Porters Lane, the walk will go via St Faith's Church in Little Witchingham, and return to the car park for around 12:30.
For more information visit the Active Norfolk website.
In the last newsletter we mentioned ongoing work on Marriott’s Way to tackle ash dieback. To familiarise our newly recruited project trainees with the issue, they accompanied Arboricultural and Woodland Officer Tom Russell-Grant, along with our UEA Year in Industry students, on a tree survey of the Great Eastern Pingo Trail. The future trainees were able to absorb some valuable information about the flora and fauna of this striking part of Norfolk (along another disused railway path!), as well as gain an introduction to the kinds of infrastructure work they’re likely to be taking on.
Join us on The Marriott's Way Heritage Trail, where we will be celebrating the bicentennial of the earliest form of bicycle, the Draisine or 'Dandy Horse', unveiled in 1817. Vintage and dressed up cycles of all types will converge at Whitwell Station and ride a route along a section of Marriott's Way towards Norwich, with traditional entertainments and activities for all.
You are welcome to bring your own modern or vintage bike and/or wear vintage clothing to the event. If you don’t have your own bike you can borrow one at Whitwell, with minibus transport back to your car. Those wanting a shorter ride will be able to join at Drayton.
Activities will be at Whitwell from early in the day, with rides starting from 11am, and at The Marlpit Arms in Hellesdon from 12-8pm (last ride at 4pm). The Marlpit Arms will be joined by Pushing Ahead, with cycling activities and challenges, and there will be competitions for the best dressed vintage style bike, adult and child. Food and drink will be on offer, along with exhibitions and displays on the heritage of Marriott’s Way, the pub, and by local groups.
Volunteers are also needed on the day at the two event locations and to marshal the route. Free refreshments will be provided! If you are interested please email email@example.com.
October will play host to this year’s Walking and Cycling Festival, featuring an exciting range of walking and cycling events for all ages, abilities and interests. These events – running between October 1st and 31st - offer chances to explore the best of Norfolk’s beautiful countryside and, as always, there are great volunteering opportunities.
If you’re interested in leading a walk and have an idea for a captivating route or topic then please get in touch. The Festival is looking to include walks around the county, and free walk leader training is available for interested parties.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to suggest an event.
Pictured here is a bill from the Midlands & Great Northern to the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, stamped in 1912 and glimpsed by us in an all too brief exploration of the Norfolk Heritage Centre’s collections. This is just a taste of the material held there, which also includes prints, photographs, press cuttings, obituaries and ephemera – all of which will combine to provide a rich and fascinating image of Norfolk’s rail, industrial and social history. For interest, interpretation and education, all of this material and much more (including in the county archives and elsewhere) will form a key part of volunteer research into the history of Marriott’s Way. If this intrigues you, come and help out!
As mentioned above, we’re still looking for volunteers to help with all aspects of the Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail project, including practical conservation and restoration work, biodiversity surveys, research and oral history.
We have provisional October dates for training in tree and shrub identification (with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust) as well as for oral history interviewing and recording. If you’re interested in either of these, or anything mentioned, then please get in touch using either the Norfolk Trails email or by emailing Maddy directly: email@example.com.