North Walsham heritage walk

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Walk details

LENGTH: 1.5 miles (2.4km)

Download a walk map or follow the walk overview on your phone

TERRAIN: a mixture of walking through the town streets and open country.

PARK: market place, town centre, public carpark.

FACILITIES: pubs and cafes in the town


North Walsham Walk
map and directions

Click on arrow above for Word version. 
Click on button below for pdf.

North Walsham Walk
Accessibility audit

Terrain descriptions and photos by Active Trails. Helpful for those with restricted mobility, prams, buggies or wheelchair users, those needing facilities or reassurance about the route.

North Walsham Walk 
GPX code

For use with fitness watches and health devices. Exchanges GPS data for live tracking.

North Walsham Walk
phone app

While you walk listen to the audio guide; access activities for children, see a 3D building reconstruction and discover more historical context.


Enhance your walk experience

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2104 Paston Footprints copyright Charlot
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Explore Sir William Paston's tomb in 3D. Th majestic monument can be seen in St Nicholas' Church.

Experience a flyover of a digitally reconstructed St Nicholas' Church from the 1600's.

Mindfulness and expression activities for wellbeing connections with North Walsham's Paston story

Photography: can you capture the spirit of Paston country?

Tag #pastonfootprints


North Walsham walk overview 

Begin at St Nicholas' Church in the town centre, adjacent to the market place.

The Pastons managed their substantial estates to produce incomes from malting barley and wool. The market at North Walsham was an important trading location. There are several references to Worsted cloth in the Paston Letters and there was a type of cloth known as 'Walsham'.

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The famous 1381 Peasants' Revolt in North Walsham's churchyard.  

In 1381, Bishop Despenser crushed the Peasants' Revolt at the Battle of North Walsham. The rebels were reputedly massacred in the churchyard, where our Paston information board now stands.
Clement Paston and Roger Leech were accused of seizing goods and assaulting the Abbot of St Benet’s servants (the Abbey is near Ludham and the ruins can be visited today).

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Turn into Bacton Road. After walking alongside the green space, turn right into Melbourne Road.

Go through the housing estate to Marshgate lane and walk down alongside some open country. This is where the St Benet’s Abbey Manor House was sited. 

In Francis Blomefield's 18th century History of Norfolk, it is claimed:

"About the year 1413, Clement Paston, Esq. John Horningtoft of Paston, merchant, Laurence de Thorp, and John Parson of Edythorp, came to this town, and entered into the pasture, &c. of the abbot, belonging to his manor, with their cattle, fed and trod it down to the damage of 40s. fished his ponds, &c. took 200 roaches, 200 perch, and 300 eels, to the value of 100s. and carried them away".

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Turn left into Manor Road 

And head back to the Market Place

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As you progress along Manor Road back into the market centre, you will encounter Paston College. 

Sir William Paston used his great wealth to purchase land on which he established a school. The school seems to have begun to take pupils in 1604, and in 1606 received its endowment charter. It has remained functioning as a school ever since.

In this 21st century, the town centre site, including the heritage listed gate onto the market place alley and the main school buildings are in the trust of the Paston Foundation and leased to City College Norwich to provide continuing educational services.

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In Paston College grounds

A particularly fine (modern) wooden sculpture of the Paston's griffin is in the (private) school grounds. More on the Paston's griffin can be read explain this service in more detail.

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The final stretch along Hall Lane is up-hill! It has a gradual but steady incline. 

Good for physical fitness!

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This will bring you back to St Nicholas' Church.

The church is normally open and provides a quiet space to sit.

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Tomb of Sir William Paston

Sir William also built himself a fine tomb in nearby St Nicholas Church. The tomb was designed to provide a heraldic history of the important ancestry of the Pastons. Boys from the Paston School were required to visit the tomb, with this annual ritual ending only a few decades ago.


Share your walk experience

Take a photo, share your thoughts, and tag #pastonfootprints

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Explore the Paston story further

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Watch a 4 minute animation of Sir William Paston, who lived in Tudor times. A wealthy landowner, he is perhaps best known as the founder of the school in North Walsham.

Inspired by William's heraldry? Use this interactive tool to draw your own coat of arms.

Help us bring the Paston story to more people by taking one of our creative challenges

Find out more about North Walsham's Paston heritage on our heritage story site. There are also KS2 activity sheets on heraldry (with teachers' notes) under the 'education' tab.


Things to do nearby

Acorn Play Park

En route of our trail, just after the Church, off Bacton Road. This is a small open greenspace with play area. The Children’s area includes a zip wire, climbing frame and swings.

North Walsham Information & heritage Centre

Paston Footprints has donated an interactive touchscreen, where you can view Paston animations and videos, and also 1000 North Walsham archive videos, photos and audio recollections. Includes quizzes.

North Walsham & Dilham Canal Boat Tours

Enjoy a guided boat tour following a scenic stretch of the restored North Walsham and Dilham Canal.

Norfolk Motorcycle Museum

Over 150 motorcycles from the 1900s to 1980s. Over 100 motorcycles from the 1900s to 1980s.


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