From Norwich Cathedral’s West front, the way leads through the Erpingham Gate, passing St. George, Tombland and St Simon and St. Jude’s to Fye Bridge and the River Wensum; turning left into Colegate at St. Clement’s and you are deep in Anglo-Sacandinavian, Norwich.
Matthew Parker, he who had care of Princess Elizabeth after Catherine of Aragon was executed; he who Elizabeth appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury played here as a child. Further along Colegate is the Old Meeting House, among the first Congregational churches established after the Restoration and the Octagon Chapel, which was among the first Unitarian churches; and St. George, Colegate, the parish church of the artist John Crome;.
After passing St.Mary, Coslany and crossing Norwich’s busy Inner Ring Road, we arrive at the river and the start of the Marriott’s Way, the route we will follow to Drayton and beyond. The River Wensum will be the pilgrim’s constant companion from here to Great Ryburgh.
Because the Marriott’s Way doubles as a cycle route, groups of walkers should avoid spreading across the path. Few cyclists have bells to warn of their approach! Walking on a straight and flat railway track, mile after mile, can seem a little samey. Pilgrims, with time to saunter, will take every opportunity to make a detour!
Starting as we mean to proceed, there’s a chance to detour at the very start of the Marriott’s Way. Fork right to take the riverside path through Train Wood! Beneath the green canopy, traffic sounds diminish; calm flows into the soul ; you will hear birds sing – here you may breathe!
A further opportunity of detour presents itself a mile on. After the cross roads at Sloughbottom Park, take the narrow path on the left to walk on the edge of Mile Cross Marsh SSSI. Rejoin the Marriott’s Way when you come to the boundary fence.
Strands of history and natural history twist round this 19th Century rail bed winding its green way from city centre to suburbs and country. The river gets it name from being windy. Translated Wensum, means it winds some! And we wend our way from the city of Mother Julian and Edith Cavell; past Heigham, once a living of Cardinal Adam Easton who promoted the cause St. Bridget of Sweden; and Hellesdon, where, according to one version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, St. Edmund was martyred. Finally, close to the place where the River Tud flows into the Wensum, there’s even a henge!