Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Chicksands and Rowney Warren

Chicksands and Rowney Warren

Distance - 11.7 Km - 7.3 miles
Time Taken - 2hrs 20mins + 10 min Break
Assent - 149m

Well after a month of not much I decided to head out into the scary big outdoors.  Normally a month off in a funk would only affect me, but next week I'm supposed to be doing the Peddars Way to Hunstanton over 4 days and i fear my lack of activity will annoy my trekmates!  The first day is a nice 17 miles, so I thought a bit of training might be needed.

With heavy rain and hail in the area I decided to head down to Chicksands and have a wander around 2 woods linked by the Greensand Ridge Way and the John Bunyan Way.  The paths are reasonable well waymarked, but are clear, wide and obvious.

Along the John Bunyan Trail

The route started just off the A600 in Rowney Warren Wood in the forestry commission car park (free) on Sandy Lane.  A short walk along the pavement and the John Bunyan Trail led through a farm/factory between the woods and open fields.  The trail was a bridle path and followed the concrete farm track for over a mile.  Rain was on the way but the sun was currently out, it was a day for sunglasses and rain wear!

The route left the Bunyan Trail and soon joined up with the Greensand Ridge Walk along the edge of Chicksands Wood.  The trail is again obvious and easy to follow along the field boundaries, but more happily it is off the concrete and onto soil.  Well mud, but it was nice damp mud not the sticky icky clay kind that I love to hate.

Just before the end of the wood I took a left into the woods.  The woods are not open access and only has one permissive path that runs through the middle of it.  That said the path I took was clearly well used by foot and hoof.  In the middle of the wood is a monument to Henry John Osborn who it would appear died in the English Channel.  The monument is not signposted or on a main trail, it just appears to be quite randomly in a clearing.

A monument for Henry Osborn.

The side path leads back to the permissive path that goes though the middle of the wood.  It was very quiet and I only saw 2 people, an old friendly chap walking his dogs and a runner who was too ignorant to even nod his head.   The rain/hail started just before the monument.  As I was in the woods I had advance warning of it approach as the noise got louder as it got closer.   Yet again I used a brolly instead of sweaty waterproofs, it's the most breathable rain gear there is!

The route exited the wood and headed up a short quiet lane towards the junction with the A600.  The entrance to Rowney Warren is dominated by the Chicksands Bike Park, a series of routes and jumps through the woods.  You used to be able to walk along a track through the middle of it and watch the riders taking jumps at speed.  It is now fully fenced off and the signs suggest it wasn't 100% amicable, the map shows part off the fenced area is open access land.  As the other end of Rowney Warren has been designated Cycle free it's only fair that the riders get to do their runs without a rambler wandering about.

The woods are full of trails, some mixed use and some biking.  Again it was very quiet and I only saw one other person, a biker.  All in all a nice 7 miles, though slightly worryingly my foot was a little tender (only a 17 miler next week...).


  1. Lovely. Not too far from me either - might have to have a wander round here myself at some point.

  2. The woods are nice. More 'foresty' than Salcey Forest were a few weeks ago. Less people too. The weekends are quite busy, enough trade for both carparks have burger vans.

  3. As a child, I grew up exploring those woods for hours at a time. We didn't know it as Rowney Warren, though. To us, it was simply called "Queens Wood". And there were no bicyclists at all back then.