The Woottons route has good surfaces throughout and a number of bridges to help visitors through the woods of Ling Common. The spread of these suburban villages across the landscape can almost be charted by looking at the fabric of their buildings.
'Suburbs and Salterns'
The Domesday Book of 1086 lists Wootton as having two plough teams, one hundred and twenty sheep and fourteen saltern mounds. Salt would have been an important commodity for trade at this time, and it was extracted from saltwater by evaporation in the saltern mounds that dotted the local landscape.
Over time, two settlements emerged, each surrounding a medieval church. Old maps depict the two villages being separated by fields. In 1862 the railway reached North Wootton, which was then the first station on a new branch line between King’s Lynn and Hunstanton.
Today, North and South Wootton are virtually contiguous. While some families have lived in the area for generations, many have settled here to take advantage of good transport links to commute to work from these popular residential areas. The railway was removed in 1969 however, and the station building is now a private residence.
North and South Wootton both retain their own parish churches. All Saint’s at North Wootton has the most recent origins. It was built for the Honourable Mrs Mary Howard of Castle Rising in 1852. It replaced the original medieval church on the site which by then had fallen into ruins.
St Mary’s Church in South Wootton dates from the Saxon period, although there have been many alterations and additions since. The church still has a beautiful Norman font and a funeral bier dated to 1611.
The Woottons Circular Walk navigates a route through modern housing developments along the edge of the wooded Ling Common, between All Saints at North Wootton and St. Mary’s at South Wootton, crossing an area previously occupied by fields and saltmarsh.
(OS Explorer 250)