Pensthorpe: Introduction

Introducing what will be a mini-series about the West Norfolk Autism Group visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park.

Yesterday saw a West Norfolk Autism Group excursion to Pensthorpe, a nature reserve combined with a working farm a few miles from Fakenham in Norfolk took place. This post introduces what will be a mini-series about the day as I experienced it. I will be doing specific posts about the varieties of ducks and geese on show, the flamingos and cranes, the discovery centre, the sculptures (probably these last two will share one post) and the Explorer trip. The gallery for this post will feature some introductory and general pictures.


Pensthorpe, which was a village until the 14th century when the black death accounted for so many of its inhabitants that the survivors had no option but to up sticks and move down the road to Fakenham, which was originally the smaller of the two places is now home to a nature reserve which is involved in a number of very important conservation efforts. There is also a working farm, and a lot of the electricity the site needs is generated by solar panels on the roofs of the farm buildings – for so big a site it has a tiny carbon footprint. I was booked on the 12:00 Explorer ride (and could also have had a place on the second ride an hour later, but the weather cool, though at least it stayed dry, so I settled for one trip. Otherwise between our arrival just before 10:30, and our departure, scheduled for 3:30PM it was entirely up to me how I spent the time.


Here to complete this introductory post are some photographs…

Pensthorpe 3: The Pensthorpe Explorer

The final installment in my account of the West Norfolk Autism Group’s trip to Pensthorpe.

Welcome to the final post in my mini-series about the West Norfolk Autism Group‘s visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park (click here and here to visit the other posts in this series).


The journey on the Pensthorpe Explorer was very scenic, and the guide provided excellent commentary. There was stuff about the area’s wildlife and things Pensthorpe do to encourage said wildlife, some local history and an explanation of the significance of the River Wensum which flows through Pensthorpe.

There were a couple of parts of the route that made use of an old railway line (aeons go part of the Midland & Great Northern, colloquially referred to as the Muddle & Go Nowhere – East Anglia was home at one time to a vast number of railway companies, with in addition to this one the five companies who ultimately amalgamated to form the Great Eastern Railway) which added to the interest of the experience.

The Wensum is of special significance because it is a chalk river, of which there only about 200 on the planet (although about 170 of those are right here in the UK, including another significant Norfolk river, The Gaywood). Unfortunately the bunch of clowns who are collectively known as Norfolk County Council are hellbent on building a new road through the Wensum valley which among other things will damage two important bat colonies (we are talking rare species of bat here). Also, as to the notion that building a new road will ease congestion, I give you one letter an two numbers appropriately arranged: M25. There is a campaign group doing their best to prevent this ghastly project from going ahead, and you can view their twitter page and also sign a petition they are running. The biggest problem that Norfolk has is not with its roads, but with the frankly scandalous state of public transport in the county, which causes people to feel compelled to drive, which in turn feeds into the county council’s ‘cars are everything’ agenda. Green Party representation is increasing in Norfolk, which provides grounds for hope that eventually the county council’s make up will change and it will move into the 21st century.

The trip on the Pensthorpe Explorer was a splendid end to a splendid day.


Here are the pictures from this section of the day:

A Day Out In Norwich 4: The Wensum


Welcome to this, my fourth post about a family day out inn Norwich this Thursday. Previous posts about this day are:

1)Introductory Post

2)Enter the Dragons

3)Lunch at the Belgian Monk

I hope that you will enjoy this post and be encouraged to share it.


The Wensum is the river that flows through the centre of Norwich. There are many fine sights to be seen along its banks. Here is a view looking along one bank…


You will notice a boat in this shot, here is what it looks like closer up…


Is there any information available about this riverside? You bet there is…


You may have glimpsed a stone bridge in the first picture I showed. I have a close up of the centre portion and two shots showing how the smooth waters of the Wensum reflect it back…

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Here is the approach to river via Ferry Lane…

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Two pub signs on opposite sides of the river provide a fine contrast – one an unusual name in a plain style and one the commonest of all English pub names in a more elaborate style…

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After these signs we came to a decorative wooden seat…

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Now we come to the exraordinarily named Cow Tower, one of Britain’s oldest artillery placements, dating from 1398…

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Next, one for the swan fanciers…


These water lilies made for decent picture…


Two more closing shots for you, from just before we left the river for the last time…

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