If you live in Norwich there’s a chance you’ve walked down Lakenham Way without knowing the name or the history of the route. I know I have.
For the uninitiated, at one time Norwich had three railway stations. Thorpe station (now simply known as Norwich station), Norwich City station (which was located where there is the Barket St/St Crispins Rd/Barn Rd roundabout, now the start of Marriott’s Way), and Norwich Victoria station.
Norwich Victoria station was once the terminal for the Great Eastern main line. The station was located where Marsh’s offices are now. Across the road where there is a Sainsbury’s store was the site of the station’s goods yard and coal depot. If you didn’t know of its existence there is very little evidence to tell otherwise. The buildings are long gone, and unlike Norwich City station there’s no statue to mark its existence.
So, you would be forgiven for not realising it was ever there, and, unless you look around you may not realise Lakenham Way was once lined with standard-gauge railway tracks. The trackbed has been converted into a footpath for pedestrians and cyclists with several access points for residents in Lakenham to the south of Norwich. With an Asda (other stores are available) close to the other side of the walk, that makes the walk a supermarket sandwich!
The walk itself is not challenging, and clocks in at roughly a mile each way. There’s not a great deal to describe, so we’ll move on to some photos pretty swiftly. Of course, the main thing to spot is the bridges that pass overhead, with brick arches that, with a little imagination, help you envisage bygone trains thundering down the Lakenham Way.
Not wanting to confuse you too much, but not all photos are taken pointing in the same direction. So, for example, the first 3 are pointing back towards Brazen Gate, but the next one isn’t, though the one after that it is.
Could this buried low wall, below have ran alongside the original train line?
Approaching the Hall Road bridge, with a path leading off to the side.
Looking back up the path from the bridge.
Get close-up to the bridge to and you can see this fantastic brickwork in the arch, like rows of shark teeth!
Looking back on the Hall Road bridge, below.
Okay, we couldn’t resist playing with a bit of straight “track” putting an ghost train in to help you envisage locomotives chugging down the line.
Okay, so we’ve reached Sandy Lane where we end this walk. Time to walk back. Before you do, there are plenty of nearby large retailers if you need a drink. It’s fitting that at least one end of the walk is close to an active train line in the background. We will have to revisit this sometime to get a photo with a train whooshing through!
FACILITIES – There are supermarkets at either side. both have parking but limitations will apply. Where there’s an open supermarket there is a customer toilet too! If you need refreshments then the supermarkets can meet this need too. There are other shops nearby at either end, or if you take a path off prior to the Hall Rd bridge there is a row of shops with a convenience store and chip shop.
DOGS – Dogs will enjoy this walk! Keep in mind the route is used by commuters on bicycles and there roads and residential areas nearby, so dogs should be on leads.
SAFETY – On the Lakenham Way itself there are no roads to cross, but there are paths leading off to roads either side, and there are roads at both ends of the walk, so take care with young walkers.
WHEELCHAIRS – The path is narrow in parts but tarmac, so it should be fine for wheel chair users. There are slight gradients in parts.
CLOBBER – All sensible footwear should be fine (trainers, shoes, walking boots…)
DISTANCE – Approx 1 mile each way, so if you’re walking back to where you started it’s a 2 mile walk.
HISTORICAL FACT – The road Sainsbury’s in on is called Brazen Gate. The name originates from one of the twelve gates giving access to the walled city of Norwich.
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