Spanning from the village of Snettisham, this short but charming walk takes a route which snakes through the mixed woodland of the Ken Hill Estate. The western tip of the route commands fine views over the estate’s farmland and the Wash beyond.
'Age of Iron, Torcs of Gold'
In November 1948 a field near Snettisham was being deep-ploughed for the first time. Previously a lavender field, it was being prepared for a crop of barley. Tractor driver Raymond Williamson’s plough struck a large metal object and assuming that it was a bit of old brass bedstead, he placed it on the edge of the field where it lay for several days. Experts from Norwich Castle Museum were only contacted after several more artefacts were uncovered. They immediately identified them as Iron Age torcs made from gold.
Williamson’s discoveries had already become known as the ‘Snettisham Treasure’ when just two years later, in 1950, ploughman Tom Rout unearthed another torc, just fifty yards away from the site of the original discovery. This torc was massive, a whole kilogram of expertly crafted gold. Now known as the ‘Great Torc’, it is on permanent display at the British Museum in London.
Over subsequent decades, a dozen or so further major finds were made in the area. Collectively, the Snettisham Treasure now consists of around two hundred torcs, over a hundred bracelets and about two hundred and thirty coins with a combined weight of over forty kilos. While torcs have been retrieved from Iron Age sites across Britain, more have been found in Norfolk than in any other county, and more have been found in Snettisham than anywhere else in Norfolk. The Snettisham Treasure is renowned as the largest assemblage of Iron Age gold, silver and bronze objects found in Europe.
The Ken Hill Circular Walk takes a route around Lodge Hill Plantation on the Ken Hill Estate, passing the site of a medieval tower. Now surrounded by trees, the tower would once have commanded extensive views over the Wash.
(OS Explorer 250)