Brandon Travel Guide

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Brandon Things to Do

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    by arturowan Updated Mar 25, 2014

    It's possible to walk all the way to Thetford, following the course of the Little 0use, which meanders between the 2 towns, through scenic woodland...
    If you're beginning in Brandon town centre, then simply follow the river, from the bridge over it, bearing the main road, then all you need do is follow the river as far as Saint Helen's picnic site...
    There is a narrow wooden footbridge here & some options of where to walk, but whichever side of the railway line you pursue, there are a numer of cattle creeps (underpasses) between the 2 trails...
    The more interesting is the second railway bridge, over the stream at Saint Helen's well, where there is a natural spring, then a very steep climb out of a dingle, back to the main trail...
    The main problem is locating the tenuous route to the second wooden footbridge, which brings you out behind Thetford power station, to continue the walk into town, through the king's Forest...
    The way towards the bridge is not signposted from the Brandon side, although on the Scout camp (2 Mile Bottom) side of the river, there are 2 arrows/signs...
    It's easy to miss the narrow entrance to access to the footbridge, especially as a large tree trunk has fallen across the gap, but if you look for this obstruction, which has been sawn in half, then this is where to deviate from what appears to be the main trail...
    However, if you do miss the turning, it's still a scenic walk into town, but the route emerges onto a busy roundabout, outside the centre, & going this way misses the intriguing back view of the power station (see separate tip...)
    Unfortunately, the riverbanks along the 0use are a rich growing field for nettles & thistles, to the extent that from early June into late summer, the path is only passable, if you're wearing long sleeves & trousers, & are prepared for a jungle...
    The route is worth the discomfort, because it is so scenic, & along here I observed for the first time, the sight of a swan brooding her eggs, on a nest, built within a fallen tree across the river banks...

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Fishing

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    by arturowan Written Jul 12, 2013

    Grimes Graves is the only Neolithic flint mine open to the public in England, & if you're able to descend the 9m ladder, you can enter it for yourself...
    The Lynford area was once the centre of flint mining in Britain, & in neighbouring Santon there is to be found a hidden quarry, where the flint was removed bt barge on the Rivers 0use & Thet...
    Grimes Graves was not only a mine, but also a site of religious significance to the Anglo-Saxon miners, as appears to have been the entire Lynford/Santon area, where burial mounds can also be located...
    'Grimes' is a derivative of Grim, 'the hooded 1'; another name for the Norse god, Woden; so the ancient name of the site, 'Grim's Graben', actually translates as; 'the masked 1's quarries'...
    Also of interest on the site, are 2 foxholes that were dug during WW2 - in keeping with the prominent military presence throughout this area...
    The visitor centre has a giftshop, as well as local history information, & charges £2.90 to adults wishing to descend the mineshaft...
    0pening times are 10:00-17:00 (18:00 during summer)
    0pening days are; Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday (Tuesday & Wedneswday, during summer)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Museum Visits

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    by arturowan Written Jul 12, 2013

    Brandon Brewery is easy to find - just go down the main high street, & you'll see a brown sign pointing towards what looks like somebody's home...
    This is where Dennis Cooper has converted a 15th century cottage farmhouse, & the brewery is located inside where the dairy was once situated...
    Despite the cottage industry appearance of the business premises, a surprising quantity of strong pale ale, dark ale, stout, & bitter, are brewed & bottled on site, to suite specific tastes...
    The visitor can see for themselves all stages in the process of cask conditioned ales, & learn about the mixing of malts & hops that results in the different flavours & strengths of brew...
    Any or all of the products can be sampled on the premises, or bought from stock, including in a giftpack, or otherwise the visitor can relax in the tearooms...
    If the brewery isn't open when you visit, then you can sample whatever Brandon brew that happens to be on tap, just down the road at The Bell...
    Brandon Brewey is open to customers, Monday- Saturday 09:00-17:00

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Singles
    • Beer Tasting

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Brandon Hotels

  • Center Parcs

    Elveden Forest, , United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Solo

Brandon Transportation

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    by arturowan Written May 30, 2013

    Brandon train station has a timeless look about it, & as soon as I first saw it, I took an instant liking to this stop on the main lines between Thetford; Norwich; Attleborough; Wymondham; Cambridge; & Ely...
    Brandon station reminds me of the look railways had when I was growing up, & part of the reason it appears so timeless, is because Norfolk railways remain unelectrified, but are served by efficient, reliable diesel locomotives...
    (& if anybody tells you that diesel trains are smelly, then they're lieing - & in my opinion, the British rail network would be much for the better today, not to mention affordable, had it not been unnecessarily burdened by the miles of hardware, needed to achieve electrification...)
    If you visit Brandon station, you might receive a sense of deja vu, that you've seen it before, & if you've watched Dad's Army, then you will have done, because this is where they filmed train scenes for the platoons fictitious hometown of Walmington-0n-Sea...
    Although Brandon is a small town, not only is it served by 2 lines of track, but also has a goods yard, which seems to be a repository for railside architecture, such as old signals & ladders...
    Brandon station was built in 1845, with a footbridge to allow passengers to cross the 2 lines of track, & until 1849, when the main Ipswich/Colchester line opened, was the only route to reach Norwich & London...
    A signal box, built in 1931, stands at the opposite side of the level crossing, but has been disused since 23rd June 2012
    A modern addition to the station architecture, are a set of murals painted on the disused window panels, based on artwork of children from the local primary school...
    Although the station no longer allows access to passengers, having become totally self-service, a group is trying to have the building returned to public use - check out Friends 0f Brandon Station website, to learn more...

    Related to:
    • Trains
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel

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Brandon Warnings and Dangers

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    by arturowan Written Jun 7, 2013

    There are 1000's of downright ridiculous excuses for 'cycle paths' in UK - so why am I singling out the route connecting Brandon to Weeting to prove that the so-called 'road planners' who design them, never ride bikes?
    Because it's downright dangerous, & as part of the National Cycle Network, promoted to tourists, is a disgrace...
    Like many a UK so-called cycle path, the route is actually the pavement parallel with the main road, with a white line painted along it...
    However, whereas all these 'not 1 thing or the other', type of so-called 'cycle lane' (i.e; pavement) divide pedestrian & cyclist sections in half, this 1 has the line painted all of 6" from the kerb!
    I.e; from outside of white line to edge of kerb, the cyclist has all of 1' in which to control a 2-wheeled machine - in other words, to use the path as it's designed, would be like training for a circus act riding a bicycle on its rims along a taut cable...
    The worst thing about this, is that if used as designed, the cyclist will have an elbow & knee, extended over the kerb, & therefore at risk of being hit by traffic, driving too close to the edge of the road...
    0f course, most people using this route, will ride the other side of the white line, but then they're technically riding on the pavement (which they're doing anyway), but will now be liable to an on-the-spot fine for not riding in the road!
    Such is the nonsense & 'grey area' that UK councils have created with their confusing policy of creating so-called 'cycle paths', by painting white lines along pavements...
    I cycled the length of this road & had no trouble with traffic, but it was very early in the morning, before commuters & white-van-man are active, & seeing how flat & straight this route is, then this will surely encourage speeding & in my opinion, what is much worse - tailgating...
    But, if Brandon council wish to benefit the safety of all road users, they would be better to implement measures to discourage NASCAR-style, nose-to-tail driving, rather than painting white lines where the cyclist is expected to be squeezed into a no-man's land of 12" gap...

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Cycling
    • Road Trip

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Brandon Tourist Traps

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    by arturowan Updated Jun 12, 2013

    Weeting Castle is to Brandon, what the Priory is to Thetford - a very enthusiastically signposted & promoted ruin, which when you arrive, doesn't really live up to all the hype...
    As with Thetford Priory, the history of the so-called 'castle' is interesting enough, but actually it was never actually fortified, so only justifies its title, because it once had a moat...
    Even so it only ever really was just an impressive manor house, the 'dreamhome' in its day, with an iceroom for food storage, where moat water was frozen, but today that is difficult to visualise, so little of the structure remains...
    Considering the original construction goes back to 1180 - & was abandoned for a while in the 14th century, this is understandable, but it's a shame that features such as the moat, have not survived for the latterday visitor...
    It's a mystery to me why this heritage site receives the lion's share of local tourism publicity & direction signage, but I suppose it's because English Heritage are footing the bill for this particular venue, that has thus become the centre of the Weeting & Broomhill region, tourist attractions...

    Unique Suggestions: Take a detailed 0rdance Survey-type map of the area, to find all the other local interesting sites, which aren't as well-marked to find, as is Weeting Castle...

    Fun Alternatives: Brandon/area is full of ancient curiosities, worthy of discovering, at least as interesting, as if not more so, than Weeting Castle; namely;
    Saint Mary's Church, on the same site, is a fascinating find, & the graveyard has some very interesting tombstones worthy of attention;
    Broomhill Priory;
    Pepper High Hill Burial Mound;
    The Stump Cross; & Brandon railway station (see other articles on here...)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Castles and Palaces

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Brandon Favorites

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    by arturowan Updated Feb 13, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Brandon is a beautiful town in a rural location, where the River 0use flows under the bridge bearing the main road, with pleasant walks to be taken, on either side...
    Brandon railway station is also an attractive feature of the place, & ought to be seen just for its murals & flower displays, even if you are not arriving by train...
    Brandon has all that is best about Breckland, heathland, including a large section of the imposing Thetford Forest...

    Fondest memory: Although the concert season is advertised as Thetford Forest - High Lodge, the actual location, is within the Brandon border of the woodland...
    There have been some big name stars on stage at High Lodge over the years, including Elvis Costello, Bryan Ferry, & BLONDIE...
    Hearing BLONDIE play 'Atomic', just as the sun set behind the forest & the trees turned from green, to silhouette, was enough to send a shiver down my spine - I will never forget that atmosphere...
    I love forests; I love rock music - to combine the 2 - what a rush & natural high...

    Related to:
    • Festivals
    • Music
    • Camping

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