St Benets Abbey – Recommended Places to Photograph
St Benets Abbey in Norfolk has been selected by Abby Campling as her recommended place to photograph. This is part of a series of posts about places that photographers recommend. Abby started out as a beginner at our Original Art Photography workshops. She now sells prints of her work at art and craft fairs and has been commissioned by various local businesses.
Why this location
This location is one of the first few locations I visited in my early stages of my photography learning. It wasn’t a planned trip, I just fancied taking some pictures and ended up visiting here. I managed to get there as the sun was setting, which enabled me to get a very atmospheric light and also capture the sun shining through the abbey. That exact shot was the picture I used to enter into the ‘photo of the day challenge’ in the EDP. I was very proud when it was accepted and was then in the paper the next day. So this location symbolises a massive milestone in my photography journey. It brings me so much joy re visiting the abbey, reminding me of that milestone.
About St Benets Abbey
St Benets Abbey is located in the broadland area of East Norfolk, close to the meeting place of the rivers Bure and Ant. The building has been demolished except for the gatehouse and the wind pump. As well as being a historical building, St Benet’s is also very atmospheric. Standing away from roads it is a peaceful place to spend time surrounded by the open skies and away from our busy world. For over 200 years it has been a favourite spot for artists and photographers.
Free guided tours take place from the beginning of May until the end of September on Wednesday’s at 2:00pm, and on Saturday and Sunday at 3:00pm. The meeting point for this tour is at the Gatehouse at the head of the path from the river.
There is limited phone signal at St Benet’s and the nearest public toilets are a 30 minute walk away, at Ludham Bridge. The closest cafes, pubs and shops are there, or in Ludham or Horning.
The area between the gatehouse, the moorings and the car park is fully accessible, elsewhere the ground is uneven. Dogs should be kept on a lead.
Before setting off think about:
•Suitable footwear and clothing
•Something to drink and a snack
•A local map and perhaps binoculars and camera
Walking to St Benet’s Abbey is a lovely walk. There are facilities to leave a car at either Ludham Bridge or Ludham village. There are four walks to St Benet’s Abbey outlined here:
• From Ludham Bridge via the river bank
• From Ludham Bridge via Hall Lane
• From Ludham village via Staithe Road
• From Ludham village via Norwich Road
All the walks are quite short, taking between 30 and 45 minutes to arrive at St Benet’s at a leisurely pace.
By River on boat
Arriving by boat remains the most attractive way to approach the site. The majority of visitors still come this way.
The main river approaches to St Benet’s Abbey 24 hour moorings are:
• Downstream on the Bure
• Upstream on the Thurne
• Downstream on the Ant
Driving and cycling
The approach roads to St Benet’s Abbey are outlined on the website as well as Information about cycle hire and local taxis.
Bear in mind that the lane down to the Abbey is a restricted byway through a working farm. Vehicular access to visit the Abbey is allowed by kind permission of the local farmer. Drive slowly and beware of potholes and uneven surfaces; and give way to farm traffic. Only park in the car park near the end of the track, which can accommodate 10 vehicles, plus two spaces for people with disabilities, and bikes. For more information please visit the website http://www.norfarchtrust.org.uk/stbenets There is also a detailed map on the website.
© Abby Campling, 2017