Saturday 22 August 2020

Going Off The Rails...

During WW2 people were encouraged to eat carrots to help them see better in the blackouts. Yes they do contain Vitamin A, which is good for your eyes, but the night vision thing is a myth. I did try to explain this to Rosie, but we got our wires crossed, she thought I meant you could carry this orange vegetable at night in place of a torch! 
In Victorian times, a carrot grower from Cambridge had an idea for making his fortune. He would grow the crop in farms across Norfolk, then take it to Hellesdon, a village just outside Norwich. Here he had built a factory, beside the River Wensum, where he could wash the produce, then using the new railway, transport it speedily to London. From here the healthy, fresh East Anglian carrots could be shipped all over Europe. It seemed a brilliant scheme. At the end of the first week, the authorities shut down his factory. The water supply for Norwich was becoming very polluted by the runoff from his cleaning process!
Hellesdon Station remained - opened in 1882, it finally closed in 1952. It was on part of the Midland and Great Northern Line linking Kings Lynn and Norwich. The MGN closed soon after, the tracks were lifted and the station demolished. 
But now the "Marriott's Way Heritage Trail" [website HERE] exists so that people can walk or cycle along part of the route taken by the Victorian travellers. Thanks to the efforts of Stuart Macpherson [aka Mile Cross Man] who grew up locally and developed a passion for the railways, some parts have been restored [the station platform, and track signage] The name comes from William Marriott, chief engineer of the railway for 41 years. Here's Stuart's "Ghost Photo" combining an old vista of the station with the current verdant view

When Steph & family visited, we did a 4 mile walk along here with the family. It was so peaceful among the trees even though Hellesdon is now a busy city suburb.
Bob is sitting on a bench sculpted from old railway track. At one point, we turned a corner and came upon a meadow full of sunflowers. In the warm sunshine we felt like we could easily be "en vacance" in France! 
I'd like to do more of the trail sometime. Liz, Jon and Rosie have explored it on their bikes. You can check out Mile Cross Man's informative blog HERE


  1. I would definitely like to cycle that route. It sounds wonderful. We might possibly do something similar in Yorkshire this afternoon.


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