Waveney Valley Area Guide
The Waveney Valley is the area of Suffolk that crossed the border with Norfolk. There's much local banter around football teams here - the Norwich/Ipswich debate is one that will never die. The Norfolk city of Norwich is actually closer that the county town of Ipswich, so the allegiance of many of the locals lies across the border with Norwich City FC, whilst through and through Suffolk folk are committed to their county and to Ipswich Town!
There are many fabulous places to viisit during your stay in the Waveney Valley. Here's the low down on a few of the towns in the area.
Just six miles East of Bungay, again on the buff of the Suffolk bank of the River Waveney, lies Beccles (river-pasture), another ancient market town with excellent town museum and very good shopping area and market. The streets and lanes are peppered with fine Georgian town houses. Down by the river is the quay and a series of landing stages – a wonderful place for a walk or a boat trip. Just outside the town lie two fine old houses, Roos Hall, a lofty Elizabethan fragment and Worlingham Hall, a late 18th century mansion, its rich interior by Francis Sandys. Cottages for self catering close to Bungay and Beccles include The Gallery and Black Barn at Brampton and The Homestead near Southwold.
Standing on a loop of the river Waveney, Bungay is an attractive and thriving market town, with many historic buildings. The centre of religious protest in the 15th century, the town was largely rebuilt in brick in the 18th century after most of the wooden houses had been burnt down.Older stone buildings survived including the Holy Trinity Church, with its round Norman tower, a phenomenon of this part of East Anglia. Close by are the ruins of the 12th century Bigod's Castle, the ancient Buttercross - where a market is held each thursday, and the old Borough well. The Fisher Theatre, a 19th century building currently being restored to its former use, lies in Broad Street.Bungay has many fascinating specialist shops including a wealth of antique shops, fine restaurants, coffee shops, cafes and bars.
The water is at the heart of this small village, which has a small selection of shops and a bigger selection of places to eat. Here you can take a boat trip around the broad, along the River Waveney and even to the coast to Lowestoft. Nicholas Everitts Park sits alongside the Broad and is a glorious setting for a picnic whilst watching the wildlife and boats sail by.
is a well kept old fashioned Market Town situated on the Norfolk side of the Waveney Valley. It has a wealth of interesting architecture and is surrounded by the picturesque countryside made famous by the local painter, Sir Alfred Munnings. The modern day Harleston is known nationally for its 'Magpies', not just the birds, but for one of England's top Hockey Clubs for boys, girls, men and women.Close by are the Waveney Valley Lakes, well stocked with carp, roach, tench, etc and popular with coarse fishermen.
Founded in 1107 by William D'Albini, chief butler to King Henry I, as a Priory of the great Benedictine Monastery of St. Albans. It became an Abbey in its own right in 1448 and was suppressed under Henry VIII in 1538. Since then it has served as the Parish Church of Wymondham. The Wymondham Heritage Museum was, In its time a prison, police station and courthouse. An imposing Georgian façade, it has a special exhibition of artefacts and photographs devoted to the brushmaking industry, once an important industry in the town and a range of displays charting the history of Wymondham and its people from prehistoric to modern times.
The town of Diss was built around a small mere, close to the head of the River Waveney. Its imposing church is well known both for its architecture and for its former rector, John Skelton, Poet Laureate in the reign of Henry VIII. A voluminous writer, his satirical poetry is remains popular today.
The Venta Icenorum at Caister St Edmunds, some 3-miles south of Norwich contains the remains of the town built by the Romans following the defeat of Boudicca. Norwich, it seems was developed by the Anglo-Saxons as early as 410 AD. The Vikings, Late Saxons and Normans all made their mark. Work began on the Cathedral in 1096, although it took around 200 years to complete. A stone castle was begun in 1125, now rebuilt, the castle contains a superb museum housing fine collections of art, archaeology and natural history. Medieval buildings abound and the narrow cobbled streets and river walks are well worth exploring.As well as some lovely shops, restaurants and pubs, Norwich is a centre for the arts. The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is a treasure trove of world art. For local art there is the Norwich Gallery and the Castle Museum. There are three theatres, including the Elizabethan style Maddermarket, the Puppet Theatre and the Theatre Royal.
Photo: Oulton Broad at Sunset - OBMBC