Fakenham is a key location in the Orbital project and land has been safeguarded for rail use in the town by North Norfolk District Council and as such is subject to Policy CT7 of their adopted Core Strategy.  The track route corridor from Fakenham through to County school, the Northern station on the Mid Norfolk railway has also been safeguarded for rail use.  Connection to this station, a distance of only 6 miles would then enable rail traffic to run through to Dereham and then to the mainline connection at Wymondham.

Looking toward Great Ryburgh from the Three Brick Arches bridge at Fakenham

In December 2014, we were able to buy a significant stretch of railway land at Fakenham through auction for £24, 000 .  This was thanks to the generosity of supporters of the project.  Press release here: Norfolk Orbital Railway project gets closer to reviving old link to Fakenham

Linking Fakenham through to Melton Constable and then on to Holt does present a few challenges.  In September 2001, WS Atkins rail, carried out an engineering and environmental study into the reinstatement of the line.  The conclusions and recommendations highlighted a number of key areas for further consultation, in summary:

  • The reinstatement of the railway should be practicable largely on the original alignment although there will be significant environmental and highway implications
  • Detailed consultation to determine environmental constraints
  • Landowners need to be consulted in order to identify issues and to identify alternative routings.
  • Discussions to be carried out with HMRI with regards level crossings.
  • Risk assessments to be conducted.
  • Interface proposals should be agreed with the rail operating companies.
View from Three Brick Arches at Fakenham looking towards Melton Constable

There were two stations, Fakenham West on the Midland & Great Northern Line linking the Midlands with Cromer and Great Yarmouth.  The line closed in 1959.

Fakenham West platform

Fakenham East station on the Great Eastern Railway linked Wells next the Sea with Wymondham on the main Norwich line and closed to passenger traffic in 1964.  However the line remained open until as recently as 1980, with a daily freight service.

Saturday 21st April 1979, a special the ‘Fakenham Flyer’ stands at Fakenham East station. Photograph: Mark Dufton and Railscot
Members of the Fakenham Area Conservation Team at Bridge 1715. They do a wonderful job maintaining our Permissive Footpath at Fakenham.

The Fakenham Area Conservation Team works in the Fakenham area to do practical conservation tasks with a team of volunteers. Our work mostly concentrates on managing different habitats for wildlife and public amenity, together with maintaining access along some of the many rural rights of way and permissive paths in and around the Town.

We always welcome people to the group and actively seek new members who want to come to join us. There is no joining fee or expectation to donate anything apart from your time to enjoy working with us. There are no commitments over coming to tasks and we are happy if people just drop in and out as the time they have allows.

We have a full inclusiveness policy and will try to accommodate people from all backgrounds, ages (children need to be accompanied by an adult) and abilities, although the tasks tend to require some walking and some physical activity depending on what they are (we do things such as path cutting / levelling, tree planting, grassland and scrub cutting / management)

We have a Health and Safety policy, inclusiveness policy and child safety policy. We are fully insured for public liability through The Conservation Trust – which covers all volunteers for any conservation management task that they are doing whilst with us.

FACT was formed in 1989 by the then Wensum Valley Project (County Council sponsored) and has been going continuously since then. We work with a variety of partner organisations such as The Melton Constable Trust, Fakenham Town Council, Sculthorpe Church to provide management of their sites. The Melton Constable Trust and Town Council have been extremely supportive of FACT over the years and provided us with funding and equipment together with shared help on projects and publicity.

If you would like to join us please contact Tracey Yardley or Chris Yardley on 07748 135422 / 07931 434162 –  or tracey.white15@hotmail.co.uk; we would love to hear from you