Sunday 7th February 2010
Approximately 4 miles
The weather had not been good in January and whenever we were free to go out walking it was either snowy or very wet, so our walks had been limited to potters around the village. So when we had a free day with moderately good weather (actually not great - the mist turned to drizzle) we decided to head straight for our final leg of the Nar Valley Way, from Litcham to Mileham. (We've decided that the final leg to Gressenhall seems to have precious little to do with the River Nar, so we're not intending to walk it.)
We had some difficulty finding somewhere to park in Mileham (there's a rather fierce 'No training, no parking' sign by the Castle), but we eventually found a good spot down Back Lane and left one car there. We left the other car by Litcham Church and started walking from there, taking a minor road past Litcham High School. Just round the corner we turned right onto a track (Drury Lane) and at the end of the track we turned left down a footpath that took us back to the B1145 between Litcham and Mileham.
I'd not been looking forward to this stretch of road walking but it was fine - there was a wide verge and the road wasn't busy. According to the map, we walked along the road for about 1 km, but it didn't feel that far. There were good views to our right towards a strip of trees, and that's where the River Nar flows. We turned left along a footpath down to the footbridge over the (very small) river, then uphill. Clearly the Nar doesn't have a single source, but there are several springs marked on the map in this area.
We emerged onto the minor Mileham Road, with very clear 'Nar Valley Way' signs, but from this point the signposting deteriorated badly and we were pleased (a) that we had a map and (b) that we weren't attempting to follow this part of the path in the snow. As the road went round a bend to the left, we turned right and walked through a field with a horse, realising when we couldn't find a way out in the far corner than we should have crossed to the other side of the field boundary half-way up the field.
Eventually we reached the northern extremity of our route, by a pond that we assumed to be one of the springs feeding the River Nar. We turned sharp right here (with a ditch bringing a trickle of water towards
the pond). Round the edge of Lounds Wood, we realised that the path went straight across an extremely muddy field, past another pond surrounded by trees.
Then we followed a track back to the road where my car was parked.
We passed the car and walked down to Mileham Castle, an ancient motte and bailey castle, constructed around 1100. We walked around the earthworks and up to the remain of the keep, then back to the car, lunch, and home.