Once back at Broadlands we showered to get rid of the Holkham sand and then decided where to go for dinner. Ginny fancied the Stoke Holy Cross Mill but that was firmly ruled out after a phone called revealed a 3 week waiting time for a table on a Saturday .After a unsuccessful look at google for local restaurants l said “lets just go for a drive and see what we find”. We headed out South East of Norwich heading towards Lowestoft and after going through a number of villages, we finally arrived at the town of Bungay across the county boarder in Suffolk.
Bungay is an attractive and thriving market town situated in a loop of the beautiful river Waveney, Bungay boasts many historic attractions too including the ruins of Bigod’s Castle, the ancient Buttercross – where a market is held each Thursday and the old Borough well. The River Waveney forms a natural picturesque boarder between Norfolk and Suffolk and was once integral to the running of the town and is mention in text by Daniel Defoe (English trader, writer, journalist, pamphleteer, and spy, now most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe).
His enlivened account of the Waveney’s Broads course is well read it follows:
“The River Waveney is a considerable river, and of a deep and full channel, navigable for large barges as high as Beccles; it runs for a course of about fifty miles, between the two counties of Suffolk and Norfolk, as a boundary to both; and pushing on, tho’ with a gentle stream, towards the sea, no one would doubt, but, that when they see the river growing broader and deeper, and going directly towards the sea, even to the edge of the beach; that is to say, within a mile of the main ocean; no stranger, I say, but would expect to see its entrance into the sea at that place, and a noble harbour for ships at the mouth of it; when on a sudden, the land rising high by the sea-side, crosses the head of the river, like a dam, checks the whole course of it, and it returns, bending its course west, for two miles, or thereabouts; and then turning north, thro’ another long course of meadows (joining to those just now mention’d) seeks out the River Yare, that it may join its water with hers, and find their way to the sea together”
The Bungay section of the River Waveney also gets mentioned as being one of the top 10 places for Wild Swimming in the Uk the entry reads “River Waveney, Bungay, Suffolk – The Waveney was the favourite river of Roger Deakin – forefather of the wild swimming movement. I love the two-mile loop around Outney Common, starting and returning from Bungay. This town is one of Suffolk’s most independent little places, with quirky cafes, craft stores and antiques dealers, and it has its own river meadows at the bottom of Bridge Street, perfect for a picnic and a quick dip. There’s also Outney Meadow Caravan Park, a riverside campsite with canoe hire. It’s a good river for spotting otters too, though you’ll need to wait until nightfall. Head out under a full moon and embark on a lunar snorkel safari”
We parked and walked around the town centre passed St.Mary’s Church which legend has it holds a dark secret. The famous event connected with St Mary’s church is the apparition of the devil in the disguise of a Black Dog in 1577. During a storm on Sunday, August 4th, a terrifying thunderstorm occurred with such – ‘darkness, rain, hail, thunder and lightning as was never seen the like’. Storms were always greatly feared during a period when most houses were built of timber and thatch and a lightening strike could quickly set large areas of a town ablaze. As the people knelt in fear, praying for mercy, suddenly there appeared in their midst a great black Hell Hound.
It began tearing around the Church, attacking many of the congregation with its cruel teeth and claws. An old verse records: ‘All down the church in midst of fire, the hellish monster flew And, passing onward to the quire, he many people slew’ Then as suddenly as it had appeared, it ran off, departing for Blythburgh Church about twelve miles away where it killed and mauled more people. Bungay Church was damaged, the tower struck by lightening and the Church clock was broken in pieces. Although there is no official record of injuries caused, the Churchwardens account book mentions that two men in the belfry were killed. Nowadays we would attribute the whole event to the Church having been struck by lightning but, in that superstitious age, many accidents and disasters were considered to be the work of the Devil. There had long been a belief that a Satanic black hound roamed the area and so it was easy to believe for people in the dark interior of the Church, that this evil beast was responsible for the catastrophe.
After having a look around we passed a bar and the full range of food outlets. We didn’t fancy fish and chips, Chinese, a kebab or a pizza so in the end we decided on a visit to the ‘Spice of Balti’ a locally recommended Indian restaurant, it serving amazing food, has a good atmosphere, and friendly customer service too. After our meal it was beginning to get dark so we headed back to Broadlands, as the clouds began to roll in. We’d hoped for a bright sunny day for Sunday so we could top up our all over tans but as we drifted off to sleep amongst the drip drip of spitting rain on the top of the tent we knew at that precise moment our hopes were receding.