Angles Way 10: Oulton Broad to St Olaves

9 September 2012

After parking in St Olaves, I am walking to Haddiscoe station (which is nearer to St Olaves than Haddiscoe) for a train to Oulton Broad North from where we can pick up the Angles Way walk. Here we look north up the River Waveney on the first bridge

...and on the second bridge we cross over the New Cut, opened in 1833 as part of a scheme to link Lowestoft and Norwich by water. The railway station is among the trees in the distance.

Of all the places in Britain that terrorists are likely to strike, Haddiscoe station comes in somewhere at about number 700,000. And there are no staff and I don't suppose the police are terribly frequent visitors, either.

Haddiscoe station, originally named Haddiscoe Low Level to distinguish it from the nearby Haddiscoe High Level on the now closed Yarmouth to Beccles line. I was the only passenger to join (or leave) the train.

Oulton Broad North station, where I left the train, and made a rapid reboarding when I realised I'd left my hat on it, and managed to get off again in time.

From the station I walked in the "wrong" direction to join up with my earlier walk on the Angles Way at the end of Oulton Broad, seen in the background. Turning round, I recrossed this bridge over the lock cut which links Oulton Broad and Lake Lothing, built as part of the same set of works as the New Cut seen earlier.

There was quite a long suburban walk roughly parallel to the northern edge of Oulton Broad, but with only occasional glimpses of the lake.

Parts of St Michael's church date from 1300. It marks the edge of the built up area of Oulton Broad and the wider Lowestoft area, and from here the walk is mostly rural.

Although the Angles Way was voted the best waterside walk in 2003, it spends relatively little time near the river. Here sails can just be seen in the distance, but that's as near as I am getting for today's walk.

After offering directions to the family in the distance (it's surprising how often I seem to get asked for directions when out walking - I must look the part somehow, though I've been asked in several foreign cities as well as across England), I climbed up this sandy lane, leaving the plain of the river behind me.

The lane then turns parallel with the river on higher ground, passing the first of two memorial stones I saw today:


The two US Navy Air Force men observed an air-launched V1 Flying Bomb and gave chase when their de Havilland Mosquito nightfighter was shot down by friendly fire from an anti-aircraft battery. Their plane near here and they died.

A glimpse of the river and a boat with a long zoom on the camera

After descending from the higher ground, I am back by the marshes, but still a modest way from the river.

Dragonflies perched high above me on the electricity cables.

Getting close to the river as I pass by Somerleyton Marina

More water, passing a pond in Somerleyton village, where I was stopped by the driver of a car to ask for directions.

The cheerful and pretty Somerleyton village shop and tea rooms, with a notice asking for the person who stole items from outside the shop to either return them or pay for them.

A column bearing an inscription which circles the post and is therefore somewhat challenging to read without getting dizzy:

This column was raised in 2010 to commemorate
the invention of the hovercraft in 1955
on the River Waveney at Somerleyton
by Christopher Cockerell engineer 1910-1999

The village green at Somerleyton

A thatched timbered building with decorative chimneys and a busy garden. Someone's treasured home? No, it is the village school.

The entrance to the Somerleyton Hall estate, glimpses of the hall being just possible from the road through the trees.

The church of St Mary which lies over a mile from the village of Somerleyton. It was built in the 15th century and three of its six bells are from that century. In front is the second of the memorial stones on today's walk

"Near this place on May 7th 1944 1st Lt Ralph W Wright Lt Jack W Raper Lt Richard Curran Lt Carl A Herrmann S/Sgt Randolph C Moore Also on April 8th 1945 Lt Russel P Judd F/O Louis S Davis All of the U.S.A. 8th Army Air Force Gave their lives in defence of this country Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends."

The first five listed on the memorial were of the 100th Bomb Group stationed at Thorpe Abbotts, nicknamed the "Bloody Hundreds". A number of Flying Fortresses set off on the early morning of May 7th, 1944, for a raid on Berlin. One caught fire before it reached the east coast. Several dozen signal flares in cartridges stored in the top turret compartment, for some unknown reason, started to explode and set on fire the entire front of the plane. Though the top turret gunner tried to put out the flames, the cabin was filled with smoke. Moving to the forward hatch to make his escape he found it blocked by the body of a man whose parachute was outside the plane. Five of the crew escaped through the gun turret while the pilot kept the plane steady, but the remaining five, including the pilot and co-pilot, died in the crash and explosion nearby.

The last two names on the memorial commemorate two men from the American 5th Emergency Squadron based at Halesworth. The second crash occurred on the 8th April 1945 when they collided in two USAAS P47 Thunderbolts over Fritton Lake, whilst either returning from an air-sea rescue mission or just practising aerial maneouvres. One went into the Lake and parts were recovered later from the Lake in 1971 and were exhibited at Fritton Hall; the other crashed in the field opposite White Lodge, fragments being scattered over a wide area.

After a long road walk, the last stage of the today's walk takes me on this pleasant woodland path across the outflow from Fritton Decoy and thus into Norfolk, from where it is a short walk to the car.

Total walk was 18.6 km in 4 hours 32 mins (15.2 km in 3 hours 47 mins of progress along the Angles Way). Just one more walk to go, and it will include a good amount of waterside walking and the opportunity to visit Burgh Castle.

Previous Angles Way walk, from Beccles to Oulton Broad Angles Way walks Next Angles Way walk - onwards towards Great Yarmouth


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson