Paston heritage walk
A scenic 4 mile circular walk on quiet country lanes exploring Paston church, Paston Great Barn and the wider Paston homestead.
A shorter, family friendly route that includes Paston village and a playpark is available.
Listen to our free audio guide: let Agnes Paston (the family's first matriarch) guide you round the walk and tell you the remarkable story of how the Paston family rose from simple farmers to aristocracy.
NATURE: spot kestrels, peregrine falcons and deer.
SCENIC: in an area of outstanding national beauty.
WELLBEING: try a sensory writing activity.
LONG DISTANCE: can extend walk to Bacton for another Paston trail; or to North Walsham's Paston walk; or to Cromer via the Paston Way.
Paston walk details
LENGTH: full walk is 4.6 miles (6.4km) - around 75 mins.
Shorter route available.
TERRAIN: mostly even with some gentle rises.
PARKING: outside Paston Church (St Margaret's)
BUS: nearest stop at Chapel Road. Bus numbers 34/35B.
FACILITIES: toilets and cafes available in Bacton or Mundesley.
Accessible facilities detailed in route audit.
Download a page with map and directions. Click arrow above for Word version, button below for pdf.
Terrain descriptions and photos by Active Trails. Useful for those with restricted mobility, prams, buggies and wheelchair users, those needing facilities or reassurance about the route.
Walking for fitness? Download your GPX code for fitness watches and other health devices.
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Paston heritage walk overview
Follow the path up to Paston Church
You'll need to go round the back of St Margaret's to find the south porch church entrance. You'll find out why Agnes Paston was the reason for this shortly.
Explore St Margaret's Church
Inside the church you can see original wall paintings, some impressive family tombs, and also read some of the Paston letters inside the church. This picture depicts what the inside of the church would have looked like for the Paston family.
Can you spot?
A 14th century wall painting of St Christopher carrying the Christ child across the river.
All 5 Paston tombs and memorials.
A griffin (the Paston family symbol) on the end of a pew.
Find the lychgate in the churchyard
Leaving the church you will see a covered gateway called a 'lychgate' over to the right-hand corner of the churchyard.
The lychgate marks the original entrance to the church. The Paston family moved the road to the other side so people wouldn't walk past their house on the way to church. Agnes Paston argued with the villagers about the wall they built on the old road. Listen to the audio guide for an entertaining dramatisation of this spat!
View a virtual reconstruction of Paston Hall
Walk back past the church and take the first left by the Paston Footprints waymarked sign. Walk down the wooded path and stop before you get to the barn. Look over to the left to see Paston Hall, a late Georgian building built on the site of the original.
We have created a 3D reconstruction of what the hall looked like back in Tudor times, when it was home to the Pastons. Agnes and William Paston originally built a medieval Paston hall to mark their newfound wealth and importance in society, it was rebuilt into this even more impressive building around 1600.
Admire the impressive Paston Barn
Turn to your right and you will see the thatched Great Barn of the Pastons.
Paston Great Barn was built by Judge William Paston in the 16th century. It is the longest surviving medieval barn in the country. The Pastons created it as a threshing barn and used it to store their grain. It was the rich arable lands of Norfolk that were partly the cause of the Paston good fortunes.
Can you find this plaque on the Paston Barn entrance?
Keep following the path past the barn. Once past the barn look back at it to see if you can spot this plaque.
Turn left out of the gate and walk along the lane
It is a quiet lane but as there is no footpath please be mindful of the odd car. You are now on the Paston Way. To continue on the full walk route skip the next step.
FAMILY FRIENDLY SHORT ROUTE:
Take the first right up a slight hill to Paston village. Bear left when you enter the village and you will come across a play park. Continue walking up the path until you come to the duck pond at the edge of the village. Retrace your steps and return back to the churchyard and car park. This is the end of the shorter family friendly route.
Continue along the lane and bear left to Paston Green (marked by Paston Parish Council noticeboard)
As you walk along the lane look over to your left across the farmland; you will see both Edingthorpe and Bacton church in the distance which are included on the walk.
Judge William Paston established his Manor at Paston by purchasing much of the land between the three churches on this walk and also the land that stretches inland from here towards Witton Woods and North Walsham.
Keep following the road round to the left
You will pass poles with bright orange tips which indicate that the UK's main gas pipeline is passing underneath you! Turn left at the junction signposted to Edingthorpe via Quiet Lanes.
After turning left follow the road as it bears to the right
After 200 yards look for a Paston Footprints waymarked post signposting a left turn across the field on a grassy track. Follow the track across the fields, right past the farm buildings, re-join the country road and follow the track up towards Edingthorpe Church.
All Saints Church Edingthorpe is a round towered church- one of the many that Norfolk and Suffolk are known for. The church contains a memorial to a William Call. He was a descendant of the Pastons’ bailiff Richard Calle, who settled in Bacton. Read more on Edingthorpe Church.
Follow the footpath past the church onto open fields
Turn right towards the farm and walk along the side of the field. Keep following the path through the farm until you meet the road. Turn left and follow Rectory Road as it bends round to the left. As you walk along the road you might get some tantalising glimpses of the sea or be able to spot birds of prey in the field. As you come to the end of the road with a thatched barn in front of you, take a left and walk towards the Bacton Gas Terminal in the distance. At this stage you could extend the walk into Bacton.
Follow the path alongside the gas terminal and the road as it bends towards the right
You'll see Paston Barn in the distance signalling you are approaching the end of the walk. Walk along the road until it reaches the main coast road. Be careful as you take a left and walk along this busier road for a few yards until you come full circle and you reach your starting point.
Note the red roofed Dutch barn on the right across the road. These barns were the subject of much suspicion during the second world war.
Explore the Paston story further
Things to do nearby
Traditional seaside village
Family friendly blue flag sandy beach lined with colourful beach huts and beach cafe overlooking the sea with wind breaks and deck chairs hire and ice cream.
Good park with zip wire and skate/scooter park.
Amusements and Adventure Island Crazy Golf.
Deep History Coast: Mundesley is a stop on the Deep History discovery trail with lots of fun for families and early history enthusiasts.
Corner House cafe for good coffee and great cake, afternoon tea and sandwiches.
The Ship Inn has a play area in their beer garden, serves fantastic fish and chips and is dog friendly.
Quiet coastal village
Norfolk Coastal Path
Long distance walk
The Norfolk Coastal Path runs for 84 miles and much of this walking trail runs through the damatic landscape of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Beauty. It can be joined at Mundesley or Bacton.
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