Saturday, June 16, 2007

Martham Part 2

Return to your car the same way you came but if you want a longer walk continue westward on the same path. At Martham Staithe turn left towards the town and head towards the church. It’s a Gateway Church of the Open Churches Project.You will find an open door and welcome for pilgrims and tourists alike.

St. Blide, the mother of St. Walstan , princess of the royal house of East Anglia is buried here! Walstan chose to live a life of prayer as a humble farm labourer. One imagines it was his mother who introduced him to the faith!

St. Blide’s Chapel in the south aisle is a sensitively re-ordered modern prayer space overlooked by some high quality 15th century Norwich glass. Time and eternity interweave as you pray before resuming your pilgrimage, Here the Communion of Saints can feel very real. Princess, holy working man, glassmakers, the church at Martham (past and present) and you all following the Carpenter King!

Leave town on the West Somerton road, just before the Martham town sign turn left. A track leads down to a T-junction and a metalled road, turn left, then just past Rectory Cottage right . The footpath will bring you back to Staithe Road, West Somerton. A round trip of 5 miles.

© Richard Woodham 2007


There is a secret place, a clearing in the woods, where clear water laps upon a sandy shore. Tread softly and let the green music of the place slow you into the rhythm of its stillness…….

To get there, park at West Somerton by the Green, head south and turn right into Staithe Road, then right on the footpath that goes along the dyke side. Soon the path goes away from the water and runs along the south side of the Martham Broad Nature Reserve. In summer hidden warblers twitter and churrr and Marsh Harriers swoop and glide low over a sea of reeds. If you are in luck you may catch sight of Cranes circling high in the sky. After about 15 minutes walk you come to a place where tall trees separate the path from the reeds. Find a path off to the right. It leads you to the water’s edge - Boathouse Broad!

On a hot day its almost impossible to resist a paddle! On a very hot day a swim might be in order. Remember your baptism!

© Richard Woodham 2007

Little Terns

© Chris Gomersall (, Ref: 1614076_00093_002) used with permission

On a sunny day at the end of June I had come to North Denes. It is at the other end of Great Yarmouth from the Pleasure Beach and about as far removed from the rides and the candy floss as anything could be! A large part of Jesus’ ministry was exercised around the Sea of Galilee and whenever I am beside the seaside I keep hearing echoes! On that particular day two sayings of Jesus held sway: “Come apart and rest a while!”; and “Consider the birds!”

I like consider and its’ Latin roots: con = together and sider = sit down! Better than walking by, or just sitting down , I had come to swim close to where the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds guard an important breeding colony of (rare) Little Terns!

In 2002 vandals trashed the site, now the R.S.P.B keep watch throughout the breeding season. The eggs and chicks are at constant risk from raiding hedgehogs, foxes. cats, gulls and birds of prey as well as human-beings!

Little Terns - swallows of the sea – are dainty birds with v shaped tails. As I floated on the tide, they were flying in with whitebait sized fishes in their beaks and the air was full of sound! They seemed not to notice me as they fished, hovering to spot their prey, then folding their wings to dive into the sea close by.

I remembered that I am one of the baptised, a bird hovering over Jesus at his baptism and Simon Peter sploshing fully clothed from boat to water as he raced towards the risen Lord. I wonder, was it fanciful to feel the presence of the same Lord as I swam towards the shore ?!

To visit the colony, park or take a bus along
Yarmouth’s North Drive to a point north of the boating lake, head towards the sea and then go north until you see the fences around the colony. Swimming is not compulsory!

More about Little Terns, the work of the RSPB and how you can get involved can be obtained from the RSPB via their website at or from

The Eastern Region office at :

Stalham House
65 Thorpe Road


Tel: 01603 660066