Poringland Woods, The Roman Ruins at Caistor St Edmund, Dunston Common, Marston Marshes and Lady Belt Country Park. Looking for a new walk for you and your dog? Here are Tom and Toto’s top five dog walks on the south side of Norwich.
Caistor Roman Town (Venta Icenorum) and High Ash Farm (Caistor St Edmonds)
Caistor St Edmund, Norwich, NR14 8QN
This large expanse of picturesque open space is only three miles from Norwich. A large free car park is on site with two dog friendly options. Caistor Roman Town is perfect for dogs to run off lead and for you to learn about all things Roman from the information boards. The river also runs through the ruins which will satisfy the swimmers. At some points of the year sheep occupy a few of the fields (great for watching lambs play) so dogs must stay out of these fields but there are plenty of others. In spring time, Skylarks make their nests in the grasses of the large field over the river so again keep wildlife-chasing dogs on lead. They are amazing to watch and have a very distinctive call.
Over the road from the car park is High Ash Farm. Dogs must stay on lead around the farm which is also a bridal route so give a wide berth when a rider comes your way. There are over 5 miles of tracks open to the public on High Ash Farm including a section of Boudicca’s Way. All of the walking is on grass tracks that are designed to allow at least 3 people to walk side by side, Wildflowers and horses make this a very picturesque walk.
Estimated walking time – anything from a quick run around to 7 hours if you take on both walks!
Poringland woods (Poringland)
Framingham Earl, Poringland, Norwich, NR14 7QP
15 minutes from Norwich, Poringland woods can be found on the left of the A146 as you enter the village of Poringland from Norwich. Drive slowly or you will miss the entrance to the free carpark which looks like a driveway between the trees. This woodland walk is characterised by tall pine trees, ferns and purple rhododendron bushes, it really is beautiful. Off lead dogs are welcome but be careful if you dog can be flighty as the woods are right on the main road. The walk opens up into a large basin in the centre which is great for dogs (or children) to play in.
Estimated walking time – up to 1 hour
Dunston Common (Dunston/Stoke Holy Cross)
Stoke Holy Cross, Norwich NR14 8PF
Located just off the A140 (turn left off the A140 just before Dunston hall when leaving Norwich). There is a large free carpark which can get a bit muddy so wellies are best if its been raining. Dunston Common has a large open area of grassland perfect for ball play and an area of semi-mature woodland to explore. A selection of play equipment suitable for younger children on sight so perfect for a little family outing. Be careful if you have a ball obsessed pooch as the common backs onto Dunston golf club. Keep your eyes out for a number of wooden crows which adorn one of the large oak trees in the woods.
Estimated time – 30 mins- 1 hour
Marston Marshes (Tuckswood/Eaton)
Marston Lane, Norwich NR4 6LJ
Marston Marsh is a haven right on the Norwich City fringe and is one of our favourite places to walk. Located off the Ipswich road opposite the Holiday Inn you will find a small track leading to free carpark from where you can walk to the marsh further down the lane. Alternatively, you can park and walk from the Eaton entrance near the golf club. Marston Marshes is a large expanse of floodplain grazing on the River Yare with several spots perfect for dog and human swimming. Cows keep the grass levels down in the summer so dogs must be kept on lead while walking past them. Parts of the walk can get muddy in winter months and liable to flooding as the river Yare rises but many of the pathways are stone or boardwalk. In the summer it is beautiful. Open grasslands for ball play and sniffing or a good game of chase. Keep your eyes peeled for Orchids, Otters and Highland cows on the far side of the river.
Estimated walk – 1 to 2 hours depending on the route you take.
Ladybelt Country Park (East Carlton/Hethersett/ Cringleford)
Hethersett Road, East Carleton, Norwich NR14 8HX
Ladybelt is a recently established countryside park which utilises a reclaimed gravel quarry (which is partly active) with its own good size carpark. There are woodland, grassland, wetland and pond areas to explore. There is a historic ‘ice house’ which was built for use by nearby Ketteringham Hall and is now home to rare species of bats. The woodland has a wide variety of birdlife including green woodpeckers, jays, buzzards kestrels and a variety of blue, long-tailed, coal tits and goldcrests. While walking the parkland you may spot deer or even a fox so if your dog is a wildlife chaser best keep them on a long line. The only restrictions are March to September when dogs need to be walked on lead dogs only, as ground nesting birds are present.
Estimated walk – 1 hour for a slow lap
If you know of anymore great hidden gems in and around Norwich, please do share them with us.