This document created by Malcolm McDonald describes a fantastic route for a light walk around the village showing off some of its best features.
A Stroll Round Norton In Hales
This short walk is intended to guide you round the centre of the village and to the River Tern if you want to go a bit further. Details of longer walks are available here on the village website and leaflets.
From the front door of the Hinds Head cross to the triangular green where you will see what is known as the Bradling Stone. This large stone was brought here during the Ice Age and it stands on three smaller stones reminiscent of a Stone Age burial cairn, but no one knows of its origins. Also on the Green is the Best Kept Village post on which can be found a record of Norton’s many successes in Best Kept Village and In Bloom competitions.
From here, cross into the churchyard. Just inside the gates will be found a flowerbed which contains what look like pieces of rock but are in fact lumps of iron slag which came from Forge Farm. They are here as a reminder of Norton’s Iron making past. During the 18th and 19th centuries wrought iron was produced in Norton using power from the River Tern and charcoal, which accounts for the lack of woodland in the parish today!
Just inside the church door is the Cotton Memorial, designed by the architect Inigo Jones, who is better known as the person who was responsible for Somerset House in London. It commemorates the death of Sir Rowland Cotton’s wife and daughter in 1606. Unfortunately the memorial is in poor condition as it was moved in Victorian times without due care and attention! Walking round the outside of the church gives good views of the village, this being the highest point. The church is unusual in having a carillon, a device to play a tune on the church bells every three hours.
From the church yard gate turn left and walk along by the side of the Big Green with the Old Rectory on your left. A little further on, past the bungalows, will be seen a ginnel, or alley, on the other side of the road. Cross the road and on going through this passage way you may be surprised to come out on the lovely Recreation Ground, but If you have a dog, please miss this bit out. On your left can be found the children’s play area and then the bowling green and tennis courts. Walk past these round the cricket outfield to the cricket pavilion. Then take the paved path past the nice flowerbeds to the car park and carefully cross the road, turning right towards the centre of the village.
Walk along to the end of the green where you will see an old telephone box which now contains tourist information. To extend your walk go along the lane to the left which takes you down the hill to a wildlife pool and the River Tern. There is a bench seat here so you can sit and watch for wildlife and note that the seat is in memory of David Parton, who created this lovely area, and is made from an oak tree that grew on his farm. From here walk back up the lane to the centre of the village with its lovely summer floral displays, passing the bus shelter which is dedicated as a war memorial, and back to the pub.
More information about the history of the village can be found at www.nortoninhales.org.