The subject of St. Benet's Abbey came up in conversation and John told me that there was actually a way to get to it by road and/or on foot, and with the aid of an OS map he showed me the route. So here I was, on the way to finding somewhere I'd once thought I would never get to, but before I went there I couldn't resist making a brief stop at Ludham Bridge to grab a few shots looking over the River Ant.
From the main road a country lane took me down to a very minor lane which in turn led to a long farm track extending across the marshes almost to the river. The route wasn't particularly well signposted but thanks to John and his OS map I found my way with no problems. Near the end of the track was a small car park which had only been there since 2013, and from there it was only a short walk to the abbey ruins. The main part of the ruins consisted of a 14th century gatehouse with an 18th century windmill tower built into it and I got several good shots round the outside of it.
The inside of the tower itself was amazing - a 14th century stone archway and wall running through the middle of an 18th century brick windmill seemed rather odd at first but the longer I spent in there the more fascinating it became. Graffiti was scratched into the stonework in several places, some of it being names, dates and heart shapes from the early 1800s, and by looking carefully it was still possible to see certain figures carved above the ancient archway. I've since read that the place is supposed to be haunted but there were certainly no visitations while I was in there - and anyway, I don't believe in ghosts.
Back on the outside I snapped another couple of photos then took a walk towards the river. Through a gate and across a field were the rest of the ruins, what there was of them, and a large cross which signified where the abbey altar once was, though as I didn't really want to walk all the way across for what looked like very little I decided to have a quick look along the riverside instead.
Several boats were moored alongside the short path and a yacht was tacking a zigzag course across the river and back; as it got near to one of the boats moored not far from me the guy shouted to someone who I think he maybe knew "I'm only doing this to annoy other people!" I'm not sure if he was being serious or only joking, but given that pleasure craft much larger than his were cruising along quite regularly it crossed my mind that he was either being completely irresponsible or totally selfish.
As I walked back towards the car park I got chatting to a lady from one of the moored-up boats; her husband was fishing from the boat and she was bored so had decided to walk into Ludham village but wasn't sure which way to go. It was quite a distance from the riverside and as I was going that way anyway I offered her a lift, which she accepted. After dropping her off outside the village store I headed back towards the A149 which would take me towards the second place I wanted to visit; this was also somewhere completely new to me so I was really looking forward to seeing what was there.