WALK THROUGH FLORDON

Take a walk through Flordon village. Names highlighted and underlined are links to other pages on this site with more information on a particular item of interest. Another page will open in a new window, then you can return to the walk.

We begin in the east of the village, at the signpost looking towards the bus stop:

To the right is the cricket ground (home of the Hethersett & Tas Valley Cricket Club), and the road to Newton Flotman which passes Rainthorpe Hall.

Behind us is the road to Tasburgh, which crosses the River Tas at the bottom of the hill. Just before the bridge is a track on the left to the fish farm, and to the right is a track to all that remains of Flordon Mill and its farm.

But heading westwards, to the left, we walk through Flordon village. Today there are a number of modern dwellings on both side of the roads, but in the not-so-distant past there were just a few buildings....

Prominent on the right is a large brick building with some elegant chimneys. This was once the Railway Tavern, one of two Flordon pubs. It was opened in 1851, soon after the railway came, and closed in 1958. Find out more about its nick-name and landlords under Pubs & Shops. The landlord supplemented his income by farming the land around, and it is marked on some older maps as 'Station Farm'. Its red brick has not always been visible - an air view of the area shows it as a prominent white building:

This air view shows most of the other buildings on the right before the railway bridge. Beside the (former) Railway Tavern is a track to Station Cottage and fronting the road is the (former) coal yard - closed by the time this photo was taken. The little office building is there, to the left of the entry. Two modern houses occupy the site today.

Looking east (towards Newton Flotman) from the railway bridge in 1960s - the wooden cart shed is in the distance to the right of the road.
Looking east (towards Newton Flotman) from the railway bridge in 1960s - the wooden cart shed is in the distance to the right of the road.

Opposite the Tavern, to the left of the road as we walk, a wooden cart shed stood on the corner of a track. One day it collapsed - the roof sank gently to the ground as the walls gave way! A little further along on the left is the track to Skylark farm which once continued on to Flordon Station. Was this once named Railway Farm - mentioned in some sale documents? 

Skylark Farm house today
Skylark Farm house today

The station was opened in late 1849, closed to passengers in 1966 and demolished in 1976. You can read more about the railway and the stationmasters who lived here under Transport. Despite being a fine building, the station house did not survive and all signs of its platforms and sidings were removed before the line was electrified in 1986.

Flordon Station house
Flordon Station house

Electrification also made it necessary to rebuild the railway bridge so it was high enough for the wires and the parapet high enough to stop people from climbing up and risking electrocution. The old bridge it replaced was far lower, and youngsters did sit there to watch the trains - and to carve their initials into the stones!

Before crossing the railway, there is one older house on the right, dated 1880. Beyond the bridge, Greenways - the turning on the right - is another road to Newton Flotman, parallel to the railway and ending at a level crossing. Almost all the houses in the Flordon part of this lane are modern, but it does lead to Orchard Farm.

Looking up the hill towards railway bridge with Hill House on right. On the left, building materials show where a new close of houses will soon be built.
Looking up the hill towards railway bridge with Hill House on right. On the left, building materials show where a new close of houses will soon be built.

Backing onto the railway, with fine views over the upper Tas Valley, is Hill House. I'd love to know more about when it was built and who has lived there.... Anyone with information or memories can CONTACT me. 

Looking down The Street from junction with Greenways. The first of the new bungalows are being built, one with its driveway on the right.
Looking down The Street from junction with Greenways. The first of the new bungalows are being built, one with its driveway on the right.

The Street winds down a steep hill - unusually steep for Norfolk! First house on the left at the bottom of the hill is the former Rectory - a building with a fascinating history. Much of its grounds climb up the hillside towards the railway. Behind the back (west-facing side) of the Rectory and hardly visible from the road is the former Memorial Hall, a former coach house converted in 1919 to honour those who died in World War 1. There are still people living in Flordon who have never forgiven the Diocese for selling the village's only meeting room along with the Rectory.... 

Beyond the modern houses, 3 prominent brick dwellings lie between the Street and the millstream. First on the left was the Post Office, where Albert Harbour, and then his son, Herbert (Bertie), were postmasters and sold sweets. Bertie was a cobbler, too, and would mend boots and shoes for villagers.

The Street, Flordon, looking west. On the right is stump of village sign; drive to Hapton Hall; 3 old cottages. The van is where the old shop has been demolished.
The Street, Flordon, looking west. On the right is stump of village sign; drive to Hapton Hall; 3 old cottages. The van is where the old shop has been demolished.

The next house had a shop at the front - and people still remember the somewhat eccentric Nellie Seedon who sold just about everything. The shop itself was a single-storey building opening onto The Street, the remnants of which were demolished in 2018. Donald Calton talked of the stacks of 'stuff'; and inside Nellie's house, of squeezing round a large table piled high with old papers to get to the fire: when she moved away it took a lorry to take all the papers away!

The third house was a pair of cottages - Mr Goodrum, the postman, lived in one and Fanny Smith in another.

Looking west c.1926 from the Broadwater to bridge to Hapton Hall and last of the old cottages between the Rectory and the bridge.
Looking west c.1926 from the Broadwater to bridge to Hapton Hall and last of the old cottages between the Rectory and the bridge.

Beyond these houses is the drive to Hapton Hall - once a country house and now belonging to Redwings so all the fields around are full of horses and donkeys seeing out their retirement in luxury! Two bridges cross the stream here - one carrying traffic to Hapton Hall and the other now grassed over. This is the Broadwater - and it could be broad when it flooded! But renovated sluices upstream control the flow now. Originally it was the stream for Flordon Mill, branching from a tributary of the River Tas. Looking back from the drive to Hapton Hall it is obvious that it was dug along the contour several feet above the course of the river. As a mill is mentioned in the Domesday Book, this might well be Anglo-Saxon engineering!

The land rises to the millstream which flows between the fence and the houses on the left. In the distance is the Old Rectory.
The land rises to the millstream which flows between the fence and the houses on the left. In the distance is the Old Rectory.

It is here, near the bridge, that the village sign stood until the wood rotted. Only the stump remains, but hopefully it will be restored.... Look at the HOME page to see it in all its splendour.

On the right-hand side of The Street, beyond a modern bungalow, is the path to Flordon Church and churchyard. Although an historic building of considerable interest, it has no tower or steeple and is hidden behind the houses in The Street and Long Lane. Vehicle access is off Long Lane and the Church is now the Community Centre, too. Certainly worth a detour! A little further on are the post-box and traditional red telephone box - once outside the post office and now even the phone box has become a 'book exchange'! The modern houses behind are built in 'The Pit', though no-one seems to be quite sure what was dug out of the hillside here.

Sketch looking east (artist & date unknown) with Rose Cottage (far right); Bower Cottage; pair of thatched cottages now demolished; Black Horse in distance; 'Clay Lump Cottage' far left.
Sketch looking east (artist & date unknown) with Rose Cottage (far right); Bower Cottage; pair of thatched cottages now demolished; Black Horse in distance; 'Clay Lump Cottage' far left.

Walking eastwards we pass Rose Cottage and Bower Cottage - delightful old cottages. The modern bungalow beyond, on the corner of Long Lane, included a village shop when the Brothertons lived there. It replaced a pair of thatched, clay lump cottages which had deteriorated and were demolished. Donald Calton's family had moved into one of them whilst his father was working at Hall Farm, and later moved further along the road, beyond the Black Horse.

On the opposite side is a cottage now named 'Clay Lump Cottage', and beyond it is Blackhorse Cottage, named after the pub opposite. People remember when Mr Havers lived in the last cottage - a carpenter who also made coffins and moved here when he gave up as landlord of the pub opposite. These clay lump cottages need careful maintenance to survive flooding - something they have done many times over the decades. 

'The Street' flooded at the junction with Long Lane - more photos of the 1987 floods on the main VILLAGE page.
'The Street' flooded at the junction with Long Lane - more photos of the 1987 floods on the main VILLAGE page.

On the right is Long Lane - a road deserving its name as it continues through part of Bracon Ash parish and into Mulbarton. The first houses up this road were 'Homes for Heroes' - houses built by the Rural District Council in 1921 beside the 'loke' leading to the church. Further 'Council' Houses were added in the 1930s and 1950s, and modern bungalows filled the gap between them and The Street. It's worth continuing beyond the houses for a fine view towards White House Farm and Flordon Hall.

The Black Horse
The Black Horse

On the corner is the former Black Horse - Flordon's other pub. Several publicans were also blacksmiths and the little building across the yard was once a forge. When Mr Havers was landlord it was his carpenter's shop, until he moved across the road. Also across the road is an entrance to the playing field and playground on Flordon Common. This is another hidden gem well worth exploring. The footpath continues into the river valley where a wealth of plants have been recorded for over 100 years.

Flordon play area - beyond the gate in the distance is The Street and the side of the former Black Horse pub.
Flordon play area - beyond the gate in the distance is The Street and the side of the former Black Horse pub.

Beyond the Black Horse the road bends and the thatched house up on the left is actually a modern building. It replaced the much older thatched Birds Farm after it became a mushroom farm. Mushrooms are now a major product from Flordon, although with expansion and modernisation a new entry has been built further along the road. Not only has the old thatched farmhouse gone, but on the opposite side a pair of clay lump cottages where Donald Calton and Sydney Rackham (both born 1932) lived as schoolboys have also gone. They suffered when flooded and when water was seeping through the walls they were condemned and demolished after the last war. All that remains are two splendid horse chestnut trees which have grown from conkers the lads planted when they were at Hapton school together!

Continuing beyond a modern house on the right we begin to climb out of the valley. On the left is the new entry to Waveney Mushrooms Ltd and on the right the drive to White House farm, although the old farmhouse has been sold and renamed. It is still very much a working farm, though - once part of the Mergate Hall estate.

White House Farm before it was modernised and extended, with barns on the right.
White House Farm before it was modernised and extended, with barns on the right.

The next cottage on the left was where Mr Cooper had a market garden and sold vegetables. After this there seems to be just a few modern bungalows to left and right, but in the past there were several old cottages on the right, on land that is now scrub and trees - circled on the 1901 map, below: 

Ted Sheldrake - 'buttonhole Ted' - lived in the first on the right. He gained his nick-name from the beautiful buttonholes he sported whenever he was out - mostly flowers from his own lovely garden. Always polite, 'I also remember Ted Sheldrake, " buttonhole Ted" - he always used to tip his hat as he passed by.' (June's memory).

'Buttonhole Ted' and his wife - remembered for his buttonholes, mostly from his lovely garden
'Buttonhole Ted' and his wife - remembered for his buttonholes, mostly from his lovely garden

Ted Sheldrake worked on the railway, called in at the Black Horse on his way home, and went round the corner to the White Horse, Hapton, when not at work! It is said he walked everywhere to the measured step of a linesman treading the railway sleepers. A short distance along was Mrs Gray's cottage - its location still marked by snowdrops in winter. There was once a terrace of 3 cottages looking down Hapton Lane. Go down there and you can reach the other end of Flordon Common, and a track to the left leads to Harvey House and related dwellings still owned by the family of Ida Holmes who fought to preserve the Common.

Harvey House - a 'new build' in 1906. The Potter family are looking round their new home.
Harvey House - a 'new build' in 1906. The Potter family are looking round their new home.

Continuing on the road to Bracon Ash we'll reach the main entrance to Flordon Hall, at a road junction. Buildings beyond here were cottages for farm-workers at Hall Farm, and then comes the boundary with Bracon Ash. Mergate Hall, whose estate once included both Flordon Hall and White House Farm, is at the far end of the road, by the junction with the B1113 in Bracon Ash.