When I was presented with the end of a piece of string by my partner on Christmas morning, I was filled with excitement!… was it a puppy??? I followed the string which lead me through the hall and kitchen, out to the conservatory and into the storeroom, where it was joined on to a bike! … I must be honest; it wasn’t something I had asked for and I certainly hadn’t expected it, but I thanked Andrew warmly and told him it was a lovely gift. (Inwardly I was disappointed, but I certainly didn’t show it). It stayed in the storeroom until all our children had gone back to their respective homes and Andrew suggested it would be a lovely day for a bike ride to Holkham Park; he wasn’t wrong, the weather was gorgeous, all be it very cold, so I dressed myself appropriately and off we went.
Living in Wells-next-the-Sea we are blessed with some beautiful countryside around us. Of course, the sea is on one side so we are limited slightly for which direction we can go in, but none the less, we have lots of choices of quiet country lanes to cycle along. We decided to go in the direction of Holkham, it is only a couple of miles from our home and a great first venture out on my new bike. The ride was lovely; having a very old bone rattler to take me to the shops and back, this was very different. With umpteen gears and lightweight body (the bike’s, not mine), I found it a real pleasure to ride on; my spirits very soon began to lift, and I found myself enjoying it rather than enduring it.
We cycled through the East gate to enter Holkham Park and over a couple of cattle grids, before encountering the gentle deer enjoying the winter sun on their backs and the lush green grass. On we cycled, passed the cycle hire shop and in front of the back of the stately Holkham Hall. It is a majestic building and a wonderful sight. Holkham hold lots of events throughout the year and it is always a great place to spend a whole day if on holiday in North Norfolk. We passed the ducks and geese settled on the south end of the lake, and carried on past the ice house, possibly the oldest building in Holkham Park and used to store ice for the social life of the Hall during the 19th century. We continued up towards the towering obelisk and all the way along to the south gate, where we turned around and returned to the hall, taking in the front view as we came back down the steep hill, which we had struggled up earlier. We parked up our bikes and enjoyed a wonderful hot chocolate with cream in the café, before mounting our trusty steeds and returning home the way we had come.
I truly had the best time! I enjoyed every minute and felt incredibly alive with the wind in my hair and the sound of my heart in my ears when I was working hard on the hills. My bike turned out to be my best present; I had no idea how much fun it would be, and I would highly recommend anyone visiting the area to enjoy doing the same.