Swafield Hall Location
Swafield Hall, surrounded by tranquil gardens and beautiful fields, is ideally located between two main tourist attractions in North Norfolk: Cromer and the Broads, 8 miles each side. The estate is very close to the coastal resort of Mundesley (2.8 miles from Swafield Hall), with its wonderful large and flat sandy beach, considered one of the best on the Norfolk Coast, and beautiful coastal walking path. Mundesley looks as if it’s been preserved in time, which gives it a unique traditional Victorian charm. In addition to Mundesley nearby you can find some of the finest beaches the UK has to offer (Cromer 8 miles, Sheringham 13 miles, Sea Palling 14 miles).
Swafield Hall’s gardens are so beautiful that some guests spend most of their time there. But not far from the Hall there are so many great tourist spots to visit!
The exuberant and innovative East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens (7 miles from Swafield Hall) is one of the most remarkable and enjoyable gardens made in recent decades. At 32 acres in size it is one of the largest gardens of the late 20th century, and one of the finest privately owned gardens in England. Garden highlights include a sunken garden, topiary, water features, wild flower meadows, a walled garden, and Mediterranean garden.
If you are going to Norfolk and want to experience the natural world, you just have to see the seals. The colony at Blakeney Point (23 miles) is made up of Common and Grey seals and in recent winters has been the biggest colony in England, with around 2500 pups.
Kids would definetly enjoy an award winning outdoor adventure park BeWILDerwood, with its magical treehouses and hints of intriguing characters. A day at BeWILDerwood means hours spent together with family and friends, exploring and engaging in the wild Norfolk landscape, building dens with bracken and sticks, taking 5 minutes trip in a lazy boat rides across Scaaaary Lake, dressing up and joining in with the enchanting daily story telling; crossing Jungle Bridges and visiting Treehouses, whizzing down Wobbly Wires and getting befuddled in the marvelous Muddle Maze; snaking through the peaceful pathways and revealing treacherous trails – this is a world with more than a little sprinkling of fairy dust.
BeWILDerwood is 13 miles from Swafeld Hall, on the way to Norwich (via Wroxham).
From Wroxham you can also take a nostalgic trip by steam trains on Bure Valley Railway – Norfolk’s longest narrow gauge railway which runs between the historic market town of Aylsham and the Norfolk Broads town Wroxham, at the heart of the Norfolk Broads. The 18 mile round trip runs through the pretty Bure Valley countryside following the meandering River Bure through meadowland and ancient pasture.
Another heritage railway, the North Norfolk Railway (or The Poppy Line) runs from the smart Victorian seaside resort of Sheringham (15 mile from Swafield Hall) to the full of good antique shops Georgian town of Holt, through the county’s most stunning coastal scenery. It was described by the Daily Telegraph as one of the UK’s great five heritage railways.
If birds are your thing, why not visit Happisburgh owls? (It’s 7 miles from Swafeld Hall.) The owls there are all very friendly, and you will be able to hold them, feed them and fly them.
But just 5 minutes walk from Swafield Hall you can explore The Knapton Cutting Nature and Butterfly Reserve. It is situated along the picturesque old railway track of the northern section of the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Railway, which is now a public walkway (a part of the Paston Way footpath). The railway was constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries, though unfortunately the section that linked Swafield to North Walsham was closed in 1964.
The Butterfly reserve is full of of wild flowers, scrub and undisturbed grassy banks, which make it an ideal habitat for butterflies. Nineteen different species have been recorded. You can find there a diversity of flowering species such as black knapweed, yarrow, sheep’s sorrel, primrose, oxeye daisy and particularly of note hoary cinquefoil and the small-flowered catchfly, which is classified as endangered in the United Kingdom.
Further along, the main body of the railway cutting is dominated by young oak woodland and the old railway bed supports primroses, wood avens, herb Robert and lords-and-ladies.
Paston Way public footpath passes nearby Swafield Hall, partly using the old railway track (The Knapton Cutting Nature and Butterfly Reserve). The 20 mile Paston Way goes through the Poppyland of north east Norfolk, taking in medieval churches, pretty villages, rolling farmland and beach walks. The path takes its name from the Paston Family (made famous by the “Paston Letters”) and leads walkers on a voyage of discovery, visiting 15 churches and 15 villages. The route makes use of footpaths, bridleways, beaches, a disused railway line, quiet lanes and some roads.
Pigney’s Wood is 15 minutes walk away along the old railway track, it is managed by North Norfolk Community Woodland Trust and serves as a haven for wild flowers, butterflies and birds. The site comprises 1.7 hectares of mature mixed woodland, 7.8 hectares of new woodland, 8.5 hectares of open ground and 5.5 hectares of low-lying, wet grassland. Over 20,000 trees of forty species have been planted since the site was purchased in 1992.
In Swafield village the walkway along the old railway track crosses the course of the beautiful old canal. The North Walsham & Dilham Canal is opens to the public for walks and exploring wild life. It’s possible to book a Boat Trip on the canal – an hour-long trip from Ebridge Lock to Bacton Wood Lock and return.
Swafield is one of only a few villages in Norfolk with a canal. The North Walsham and Dilham Canal is Norfolk’s only man made, locked sailing canal. It was opened in 1826. The canal is 8 3⁄4 miles in length. It ran from Antingham Bone Mills (1.5 miles NW of North Walsham), to the Broads (to Wayford Bridge where it joined the navigable River Ant). The canal used 6 large locks (wider than most canals in the UK) along its length to enable the 20-ton wherries to ascend the 58ft rise to Antingham.
North Walsham and Dilham Canal at Swafield bridge.
Swafield village had an entry in the Domesday Book of 1085. It is not until the 13th or 14th centuries that the church of St Nicholas at Swafield is built. The nave and chancel were rebuild in the 15th century, which attests to visible wealth during this period. St Nicholas sits proudly on a hill and there is a beautiful view to the surrounding countryside. It has one of the few remaining Medieval Rood Screens in Norfolk.
The nearest to the estate villages are Swafield (1 mile), with the award winning local “butcher, baker, pie maker” Tavern Tasty Meats, and the village of Trunch (1.8 miles). There is a popular pub ‘The Trunch Crown’ , a corner shop / post office and fascinating St Botolph’s Church. Famous classical Trunch concerts are held there during the summer season. The most interesting part of St Botolph in Trunch is its magnificent wooden carved font canopy, one of only four such surviving canopies in all of England.
The nearby market town of North Walsham (2.5 miles) contains several good restaurants, pubs, the local Waitrose, Sainsburys and Lidls. It also has a modern leisure centre (with swimming pool). In North Walsham you can explore the historic market place and market cross, investigate the large town church, take a swim in the local leisure centre or even visit Norfolk Motorcycle Museum!
The church of St Nicholas at Swafield