Oxnead heritage walk
A circular 2.5 mile walk through magical broadland countryside and beside a beautiful stretch of the River Bure, where kingfishers and barn owls can be seen. Take in views of Oxnead Hall, which was the magnificent home of the Paston family and where the Paston letters were discovered in 1735.
With the audio tour let Rebecca Paston entertain you with family dramas during the perilous English Restoration period, a Royal visit from Charles II and her husband Robert Paston's alchemy experiments and excavations of a nearby Roman port.
PHOTOGRAPHY: scenic views of rivers and countryside featuring old mills, historic villages and Oxnead Hall.
NATURE: see if you can spot kingfishers, barn owls, deer and horses
LENGTH: 2.5 miles (3.2km) - just over an hour.
Download a walk map or follow the walk overview on your phone.
TERRAIN: Walking along country roads and along public footpaths on fields: mostly even with some gentle rises.
PARKING: at the Bure Valley car park on Stracey Road in Buxton.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: can catch the Bure Valley steam train to Buxton or Brampton from Aylsham or Wroxham (NB: please check latest Covid restrictions)
FACILITIES: cafes and fish and chips in Buxton, or pack a picnic as there are some lovely riverside spots.
Download a page with map and directions. Click arrow above for Word version, button below for pdf.
While you walk listen to the audio guide; access activities for children, see a 3D Tudor reconstruction of Oxnead Hall and discover more historical context.
Terrain descriptions and photos by Active Trails and Norfolk County Council. Click arrow above for Word version, button below for pdf.
Enhance your walk experience
Experience a 3D reconstruction of Oxnead Hall from the Tudor period.
Photography competition: can you capture the spirit of Paston country?
Creative mindful connections with beautiful landscape and the Paston story of objects and visual feasts.
Oxnead heritage walk overview
Park at the Bure Valley car park on Stracey Road
Cross over the stile and with care cross over the small railway line to the path on the other side. Take a left and follow the Railway's trackside path down to the Brampton stop. As you cross over the Railway bridge look right across the River Bure: this was the site of Roman wharf that served the large Roman settlement of Brampton and transported locally made pots. This area was excavated in the 17th century by Robert Paston.
At the Brampton Bure Valley Railway stop take the stairs down to the village
Take a left at the foot of the stairs and walk away from the stairs towards the village of Brampton. At the junction turn right into Marsham Road and walk down through the village. .
At the village sign bear left towards the bridge over the River Bure.
The village sign bears the Roman name of the village.
Walk over the bridge with the old mill on your right and continue along the road.
See if you can spot any kingfishers from the bridge. This is the Aylsham river navigation at Oxnead; a lovely spot for a picnic by weeping willows and with views of the mill. Thanks to the Doomsday Book we know there has been a mill on this site since 1086.
Around 250m up the road take the first right and turn up an ancient oak-lined road
Walk up a slight incline - see if you can spot Oxnead church through the trees on the right. There may be horses grazing on the fields to your left.
Take the path on the right for a short detour to explore Oxnead Church
A number of the Paston family, including Sir Clement and his wife Alice, Katherine Paston, and Robert Paston are buried in Oxnead church.
Retrace your steps and continue on the path passing Oxnead Hall
Oxnead Hall is now a private wedding venue so please admire it from the gate. You'll also be able to see further views of it later in the walk.
Good Judge William Paston bought Oxnead Hall in 1419 for his wife Agnes Paston. The Paston family continued to live at Oxnead for over 350 years until 1732 when the family faced financial ruin and had to sell their estates.
The Paston letters were discovered in the ruins of the Hall; a significant find as they became the earliest surviving family letter collection in the world dating back to 1374, including the earliest Valentine letter. The letters give us a unique insight into what people in the Middle Ages and Tudor periods thought and felt about their daily lives.
Follow the path down past Oxnead Hall through farm buildings and bungalows
Bear right at the big oak tree and follow path signposted to Keeper's Meadow alongside the hall and past its East Gate on the right.
Walk over the River Bure
At this point you have the option to extend the walk by taking a left at the river and doing a wider circular route back to Buxton.
You can also take a short detour on your right through the kissing gate to take in another view of Oxnead Hall from across the river. From here you can short-cut back to Brampton station by following the river back to the bridge, turning left and following your footsteps back through the village to the station.
Once over the river continue along the path up a slight incline.
As it starts to become tree-lined see if you can spot some deer.
Walk onto the open field and walk along the path past an evergreen line of trees. Keep walking straight through the next field towards Buxton church in the distance and the white Buxton mill over on your left. After a few hundred yards you will finish where you started at the Railway trackside path.
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We'd love to hear about the highlights of your walk: what was your favourite Paston story or walk view? Tag #pastonfootprints for the chance to win local prizes.
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Help us bring the Paston story to more people by taking one of our creative challenges.
Things to do nearby
The Canoe Man
Canoe, kayak and stand up paddleboard hire from many locations nearby
Award winning forest outdoor adventure with tree houses, zip wires and storytelling
Bure Valley Railway
Experience a nostalgic trip by steam on Norfolk’s longest narrow gauge railway which runs between the historic market town of Aylsham and bustling town of Wroxham with stops at both Buxton and Brampton on the way (check local Covid restrictions)
The Norfolk Broads
Explore the famous Norfolk Broads: day boat hire available nearby at Wroxham
Museum of Norwich at Bridewell
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