This web-site is for the village of Brampton in Norfolk. The village is linked through the Parish Council with the neighbouring historic hamlet of Oxnead.
Brampton is one of the smallest villages in Norfolk and is almost certainly the smallest of all the places with the same name throughout the world. The village is located in the valley of the River Bure some 2.5 miles from the market town of Aylsham.
The village sign (above) gives a clue to the fact that the village has a rich history. Archaeological finds go back to the neolithic but the glory days were in Roman times when the site was a bustling industrial centre with maritime links to the rest of the empire. Pottery and metal products were the main items manufactured here. The sign is based on a Roman artefact discovered in the village which can now be seen in Norwich Castle Museum. Excavations in the 1960’s & 70’s uncovered a Roman bath house and much evidence of industrial activity. It also identified the location of the port area from where the manufactured items were exported.
The River Bure was navigable through Brampton until 1912 when wherries (Norfolk cargo carrying river boats) would transit to the mill at Aylsham. Brampton itself had a staithe (landing place) and at least one wherry was based here. Today the head of navigation is Coltishall from where the Bure forms an important part of the Broads network as it wends its way to Great Yarmouth.
Today the village is unspoilt and very quiet. Visitors on foot, bike or horseback are very welcome but our narrow lanes and lack of parking makes a visit by car very difficult. There is also a station at Brampton on the picturesque Bure Valley Railway with a footpath and cycle way running alongside.
There are a number of footpaths in and around Brampton. One of the favourites is the path that leads to Burgh-next-Aylsham which crosses the Bure by way of the “cradle bridge”. The photograph of the cradle bridge below left was taken from the Burgh side. The other picture was taken from the bridge and looks downstream, Brampton is on the right and Burgh the left. This footpath starts (or ends depending on your perspective) in Burgh churchyard.
A set of car keys has been found on the Oxnead Road at Brampton. If you have lost some, and can correctly describe them to Jonathan Spinks at the MOT Garage at Brampton, then you may be reunited with them!
The annual Brampton Litter Pick has become such an established event within the village calendar that we have started to treat it as the ‘first sign of spring’. Although, as I write this on the next day, Sunday, in which one can almost ‘bask’ in spring sunshine, the slightly duller Saturday weather still favoured all those who gave a voluntary hour to the task.
It is sad fact that we still need to do this every year in order to maintain the beauty of our surroundings, but it gives us all an excuse (not that an excuse is really needed) to get together for collective task.
‘It is like that we are clearing up after a few serial litter louts. The theme is generally the same. Lager cans of a particular brand, containers for a well-know fast food supplier, dog poo bags left hanging in the hedges (As if that was considered as “clearing up”).
Anyway, job done. Thanks to everyone who participated. The parish looks ready for the warmer weather.
The frosts of mid to late January have changed the habits of the parish wildlife. The most marked change being the flocking of the birds. The Woodpigeons gather into gangs, but most noticeable of all are the large flocks of finches. The finch flocks – consisting mainly of Chaffinchs, Greenfinches, Bramblings, Goldfinches and Linnets – gravitate to the fields planted for this very purpose at the south end of the village. The farm’s conservation scheme, ‘Wild Bird Cover’, consists of a special mix of seed-bearing plants, and it is working. On a fine clear Saturday morning I counted 60 in one flock perched atop the hedgerow trees whilst another, half as big, wheeled round above. A good example of successful farm-based conservation.
Frosty clear nights echo with the calls of courting foxes. One evening this week a dog fox called as it ran done the village street making all the dogs jump from their slumber.
The Brampton Carol Singers raised £160 during their tour of the village on Christmas Eve. Thanks to all who participated and to those who donated to their collection this year. The money which they raised has been sent to the Salvation Army to support their work with the homeless.
Boxing Day morning seemed quiet. The whole village appeared to having a lie-in. On days like these the rest of the parish’s residents – at least the wildlife ones – carry on with business as usual. As I walked past the allotments arrowheads of duck and purposeful pigeons travelled in opposite directions. Finches settled in the tops of the sycamore along the edge of the ‘wild bird food’ crops on the old shoreline. Then, I swear I felt the rush of air as a hawk overtook me on the village street. A male sparrowhawk appeared from over my shoulder, dropped to a few inches above the road surface and flew intent and fast along the lane. Intent, no doubt, upon ambushing a finch.
The hedgerow berries, such as Hawthorn, have been bountiful this year. But The winter thrushes, the Redwings and Fieldfares, wait until the sharpest frosts of December have passed before they feed upon them. This morning, the 16th December, was the key date for this year’s feast. Numerous scattered flocks roll and flutter from bush to bush ahead of us as we walk along the old railway line. Their calls, a strange mixed chorus of the Fieldfares’ ‘chock-chook’ calls and their Redwings’ weaker ‘seeep’, surround us during their frenzy of feeding.
‘The next week, the Hawthorns are stripped. All but the outermost berries have been taken.
Over the last few days the evening has arrived with golden sunset. It feels like a time of change – the last Swallows skimmed the last stubble of the harvest a few days ago, before heading south. The autumn migrants have arrived from the north.
It was last Wednesday evening, whilst accompanied by a post-hopping Barn Owl, that we heard this year’s Golden Plover. Their plaintive whistling calls carry to us, above even the traffic noise along the Buxton Road. It was twilight, the sunset had been spectacular and darkness was falling fast. Every year flocks of Golden Plover rest for a few days on tawny arable fields above the old Roman Road. We could hear their calls but their restless flocks were invisible.
This morning’s clear skies, after a light frost, rendered the chance of seeing them altogether better. Looking south we soon spotted the flock of about fifty birds, their silhouette unmistakable – on knife-shaped wings they wheeled and turned, in synchrony their colours alternating dark and pale as they flew. Flying for fun, circling and settling before setting off again. All the time their whistles carrying down to us, earthbound.
Jilly and Piet prepare to travel back to the 1940’s (To the Sheringham 1940’s Weekend), although from Brampton in 2018 – perhaps not such large leap after all…!
Simon Baker, from the Norfolk Mink Project, will be giving a talk at the Burgh Reading Room on Tuesday 9th October at 7.00pm. All are welcome and entry is free. (See http://burghlife.co.uk)
Mink have been active on the Bure for some time. They have become naturalized on English rivers having originally escaped, or have been let loose from, fur farms many years ago. They are an efficient predator and will kill everything they can catch – fish, birds, mammals such as Water Voles and inverterbrates. If a mix of wildlife is to survive on the Bure, the Mink need to be controlled. This is where the Norfolk Mink Project plays a role.
Background information: https://thenorfolkminkproject.org.uk