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Metton to Aldborough and return

Saturday 6th March 2010

About 7 miles of walking, around half on the Weavers' Way

Metton isn't actually on the Weavers' Way, but it used to be, and the presence of the former route as well as the current one again provided an excellent circuit. We'd visited Felbrigg Hall in the morning, then left the car by Metton Church. It was a bright afternoon, with plenty of sunshine, though bitterly cold. Before we left Metton, we looked around the church, inside and out. The church was built close to other buildings and, presumably for this reason, there is a passageway at the bottom of the tower, to enable processions around the church to remain on consecrated ground.

We walked back towards Sustead and rejoined the current route of the Weavers' Way by turning left onto a track at 193371. We passed a man repairing the rather waterlogged track with stones then, at Glen Farm, the track became a path, first signposted to the left behind farm buildings then down and over a stile to the right. We emerged onto a slightly squelchy meadow, merging with the former route to the Weavers' Way (to be our return route).

Over a field boundary, we found ourselves in a freshly ploughed field - fortunately the gap in the hedge at the far side was very obvious, so we just walked straight across the field. The soil was soft but not too heavy, so we didn't find it as difficult as on similar occasions previously. The gap in the hedge brought us to Emery's Lane, a tiny and delightful lane. We followed this to emerge, by way of a gate and a cattle grid, onto Hanworth Common. We walked alongside the common then took a lane to the right, which brought us out by two large and attractive ponds. We turned right, through another gate/cattle grid off the common, and climbed up Ringbank Lane.

The path was clearly signposted to the left and the walking was initially easy, but we soon found ourselves in a narrow and extremely wet and muddy passageway, between two prickly hedges. We could see a better path through woodland to our right, but we assumed this was private land; as we got to the end of the passageway, a man was just getting out of a car and he said it would have been OK to follow the path through the woodland (but we never saw where this emerged, so perhaps we did the right thing).

We turned right and a short distance down the road we took a (thankfully dry!) path on the left-hand side. This took us across fields and through a wooded area to emerge onto the village green at Aldborough. Aldborough was not at all what I had expected. I'd imagined a fairly large conventional village with a relatively built-up centre,  but it's not that big at all, just very scattered around the green and various commons. The path meanders its way around the village and we saw an owl flying around one of the areas of common ground. We passed the old mill and climbed Middle Hill, then the Weavers' Way turned right down a footpath (at 193342) whilst we continued to Alby Hill.

The path turned first left then right, then left then right - with attractive snowdrops to admire - then we headed across the fields, with Hanworth Church visible to our left hand side and Alby Church visible to our right hand side - they're only separately by about 1km! We reached a minor road (the former route of the Weavers' Way) and turned left, past Manor Farm and Hanworth Church (St Bartholemew's). By the church we turned left, past what appears to be a newly formed lake and Hanworth Hall (which appears to be modern, perhaps built on the site of an older property).

We were soon back on Hanworth Common and we took a minor road to the right. We passed another pond then took a footpath straight ahead of us, just to the left of a house. We crossed a field and we were back on the very narrow Emery's Lane. We turned left and immediately right, back across the freshly ploughed field and the meadow, but turning right this time, to follow the old route of the Weavers' Way (very helpfully still signposted) around the edges of fields and down a track, back to the Church at Metton.