Sites of Dereham

September 17, 2023

A Heritage Open Days (HODs) walk around Dereham

The first Saturday of Heritage Open Days 2023 saw 19 people collecting in Dereham for a 2½ hour walk around The Sites of Dereham.  The route had been constructed to link together a number of places which were also offering special HODs events. 

Starting from the Market Place, the group was told about the history of some of the key buildings in the town centre. We then passed down Church Street and made our way through the refurbished Queen Mother’s Garden and on past Bishop Bonner’s Cottage Museum to St Nicholas’ Church.  By pure chance, we met the rector, Paul Cubitt, walking up the path and he kindly gave a brief talk about the church, St Withburga and Jean de Narde. 

Leaving the church, we turned down Washbridge, on to Ted Ellis walk and into Scarning Water Meadows.  We came back along Rolling Pin Lane and Wakes Lane to reach the Library and from there to the rear of Morrisons and round to the front of the store to the Railway Station and the Maltings. 

There followed half a mile along Greenfields Road to reach the Windmill for a visit and the Partea Hut and refreshment.  The day being very warm, a couple of the party decided to remain there to spend a bit more time, while the rest of us walked up beside the High School and on to The Neatherd, crossing the open space to process up Queen Mother’s Avenue and on to Swanton Road. 

The final bit of the walk took us through the old cemetery and back down Quebec Road, while the last ‘site’ was a visit to the Explosives Store at the back of Cherry Tree car park – the one place visited which is not usually open to the public.  All sites visited, the group happily dispersed having had an informative tour and walk around many (but by no means all) of the places of interest in Dereham.

Photo 1 shows the Queen Mother’s Garden, off Church Street. The second photo shows the Rev Paul Cubitt at St Nicholas’ Church.  The last shows Kathy Lloyd, Dereham Windmill Trustee, who writes: The scarecrow is called ” Miller to the King” and was the winner of the Dereham Scarecrow Festival in May this year, organised by Dereham Community Crafters.  It was made by one of our volunteers Pat and is based on Windy Miller from Camberwick Green and Trumpton (a much loved children’s TV program in the 1970s).  She has given permission for its use, as have all people featured in the 3 photos.

You can download the leaflet with the map and guide to this walk here: Sites of Dereham