The Boudicca Way is named after the legendary warrior Queen of the Iceni, whose tribes once inhabited the area, and passes through the beautiful, unspoilt rural countryside of South Norfolk and the Waveney Valley.
The area has a strong historical heritage, passing by Venta Icenorum (Caistor St Edmund Roman Town) which was the Roman administrative centre in the area and the market town of the Iceni. More information about the Iceni and Romans.
The route also passes the Tasburgh hill fort site, one of only six of its type in Norfolk and also crosses what is believed to be the site of a Roman Villa at Tivetshall St Mary. You will also find a number of other interesting and historically important buildings, such as Saxon and Norman round tower churches, along the Way.
In the Middle Ages Norfolk and Suffolk were the most densely settled counties in England, wealthy as a result of excellent agricultural land and the sale of wool and cloth to the Continent. As a result of this high population there were a very large number of parishes, each with their own church. Norfolk still has over 800 medieval churches, as well as a number built since the Reformation. The county is particularly famous for its round towered churches, some of which date from before the Norman conquest.
Along the course of the Boudicca Way (or just a short distance off it) you can find at least 10 examples of Norfolk churches, such as that in the corner of the Roman fort at Caistor St Edmund, Shotesham, Saxlingham Nethergate and the round-towered Tasburgh.
Churches and churchyards can be a source of interest and inspiration, whether you are interested in history, art or archaeology, keen on photography or sketching. They can be havens for wildlife, being home to bats, owls, butterflies and rare plants. They can also provide a pleasant place to stop and have your lunch in the cool shade or to shelter from the rain!
Two of the most interesting churches on the route are round-towered St George’s, Shimpling, often open on summer weekends, and charming little St Andrew’s, Frenze, open daily. Both are Grade I listed and cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust, the national charity responsible for protecting historic churches at risk.
Pulham St Mary is known for the ‘Pulham Pigs’ – giant oval gas-filled balloons that could be powered through the air. Pulham St Mary was chosen as the site for an Airship Station just before the First World War and from then until 1930 airships flew from Pulham. And why were they called Pulham Pigs? Well, the story goes that an old Norfolk farmer saw the big beige balloon in the sky and said “Thet luk loike a gret ol’’pig!” (“That looks like a right old pig to me!”). And the name stuck.
The 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum tells the story of the men who were stationed at Thorpe Abbotts and how they came to be known as the “Bloody Hundredth”.
Housed in the original airfield control tower and other atmospheric buildings 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum is a fitting tribute to the Americans who came to Thorpe Abbotts in Norfolk to fight alongside the allies during World War Two.
The museum and its rich collections are also a moving testament to the affection and friendship that developed over the years between these Americans and the local people nearby.