22 February 2012
The Boudicca Way is a long-distance footpath in Norfolk that runs between Norwich in the north and Diss in the south. It is some 36 miles long and is named after the legendary warrior Queen of the Iceni, whose tribe once inhabited the area, and passes through the beautiful, unspoilt rural countryside of South Norfolk and the Waveney Valley.
The area has a strong historical heritage, passing by Venta Icenorum (Caistor St Edmund Roman Town) which was the Roman administrative centre in the area and the market town of the Iceni. The route also passes the Tasburgh hill fort site, one of only six of its type in Norfolk and also crosses what is believed to be the site of a Roman Villa at Tivetshall St Mary.
In the Middle Ages Norfolk and Suffolk were the most densely settled counties in England, wealthy from excellent agricultural land and the sale of wool and cloth to the Continent. As a result of this high population there were a very large number of parishes, each with their own church. Norfolk still has over 800 medieval churches, as well as a number built since the Reformation. The county is particularly famous for its round towered churches, some of which date from before the Norman conquest.
Along the course of the Boudicca Way (or just a short distance off it) you can find at least 10 examples of Norfolk churches, such as that in the corner of the Roman fort at Caistor St Edmund, Shotesham, Saxlingham Nethergate and the round-towered Tasburgh. There are also two that are in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust, the national body that protects over 340 historic churches all over England, the round-towered St Georges, Shimpling, which is often open at weekends in the summer, and the charming little St Andrew’s, Frenze, which is open daily.
Churches and churchyards can be a source of interest and inspiration, whether you are interested in history, art or archaeology, keen on photography or sketching. They can be havens for wildlife, being home to bats, owls, butterflies and rare plants. They can also provide a pleasant place to stop and have your lunch in the cool shade or to shelter from the rain!
The Boudicca Way project is a community and small business led project formed to create a sustainable tourism offer based around the Boudicca Way path. It also aims to provide a support and information network for local businesses.
Post by Owen Thompson, Development Officer for Norfolk & Suffolk, The Churches Conservation Trust.
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