River Wissey Lovell Fuller

A Day out in Norfolk

July 2001

The rural railway stations re-open

May Day Bank Holiday dawned a beautiful day if a little chilly. I felt that I must go out and enjoy myself and, being on my own, I thought I would indulge myself in a railway trip. I have always been a railway buff, all the males on my mother's side having served in some capacity on the old Southern Regions and its forebears since 1841.

Even though it is not steam, the recently resurrected Dereham to Wymondham line attracted. The road from Kimberley to Wymondham criss-crosses the railway all the way through some beautiful countryside and I thought that it would be nice to see it from a rail traveller's viewpoint.

I arrived at Dereham Station where there is plenty of parking. The station boasts an excellent cafeteria serving not only cold snacks but also good hot meals. The shop sells all sorts of railway memorabilia as well as many requisites for the model railway enthusiast. Having paid my £5 for the return ticket, I boarded the two carriage diesel. Amazingly, it had come from the Henley to Twyford branch line in Oxon/Berks where I had lived for seven years. I may even have travelled on it before!

On walking into the town, the first building you see is the old Abbey, now the parish church. This must have been a stunning feat of building when first erected but at the Dissolution of Henry VIII had his way and over half of it was destroyed. However, it is still quite something, especially inside with its 70foot vaulting and the amazing gold Altar Screen.

Wymondham is a lovely town to wander around. It was originally a very affluent wool town until the collapse of the industry in the 1840's. There are very many attractive old buildings and, really, it has changed little since the late 17th century. The well-known Market Cross appears to be the focal point and is now the home of the Tourist Office. There are many interesting shops, as well as more pubs and tea-shops. I had nearly two hours to amuse myself and just got back in time for the return train.

It was a peaceful, enjoyable day for me although younger people may require something more energetic. The Mid-Norfolk Railway have grand plans to open the line to County School beyond North Elmham (the station is already refurbished and has a tea-room). I look forward to that happening and wish them all the best.

Graham Forster

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