The Wells To Walsingham Light Railway
Now, I'm not much of a one for steam trains. Somehow the gene that has directed the rest of my family to variously obsess, head to Greece on (full size) ex-UK, engine-buying expeditions, run station sweet shops etc has firmly passed me by. But I've found my exception.
As my half-anthracite brother was staying with me, and because I see a lot of the happy team at the Wells to Walsingham Light Railway on our regular visits to keep their little cafe (there will be a lot of diminutive adjectives coming up) stocked with our sausage rolls, I suggested a trip from Wells to Walsingham. And just utterly LOVED it.
The engine and carriages are so tiny they melted even my mechanically indifferent heart a little. I'd tell you the gauge, but neither of us are interested in that, are we dear reader? But what unexpectedly thrilled and excited me was the journey. It was like a long, relaxed ramble through a nature reserve. I'll list the wild flowers I spotted below, and there were plenty more.
Most of the carriages are open, and the little engine is slow enough that you really have time to absorb what's very closely around you. More than anything, it reminded me of a sunny chug on a canal boat. Apart from the flowers, we saw deer, a buzzard, a marsh harrier and a very close (almost beak to nose) encounter with a barn owl, perched in a trackside tree.
The trip took about half an hour. You can time it to catch a later train back and have a good wander around medieval Walsingham village and buy treats at Walsingham Farm Shop. At that end there was a hilarious bold chicken, so big it was near half the size of the engine, which had to be entertainingly scooped off the track (I suspect it's an Equity member and fully trained).
Anyway, it's all delightful. On our homeward trip we even took a detour to have an evening stroll on the Warham Camp bronze age fort (which you can see from the train) and then stopped for a sip of Moongazer ale at the newly re-opened Carpenter's Arms at Wighton.
My WWLR North Norfolk May wild flower list...
All spotted from the carriage. I'd love to know what you spot that I've missed - do add a comment below:
Ox Eye Daisies
Vetch - yellow and purple
Campion (White and Red)
Scabious (Bachelor's Button)
Something blue, a bit like Viper's Bugloss but smaller