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Holkham parkrun

This week I wanted to take advantage of the warm, still weather, and so looking at the coastal events still to explore, I decided this week I would visit Holkham's event!

The area

The area now part of the Holkham Estate was first bought in the 1700s by Thomas Coke; son of one of the most prominant barristers and judges of the 1600s, Edward Coke.

In a very similar fashion to Sheringham parkrun, Holkham parkrun is set on a country estate a short distance from the beach, although Holkham is much more palacial, perhaps surpassing Blickling parkrun in grandeousity, and challenging Wimpole Estate parkrun. Holkham Hall is a lived-in home, and is still owned privately by the family who built it; the Coke family of Norfolk.

Hockham Hall

The course

Runners follow a lollipop route from the start, heading south from the house along the main 2-mile long avenue, around a loop of farmland, before returning along the avenue to the start, taking in sights of the Obelisk, the Ice House, the Great Barn, and the main Hall on the way. The course is run on a mixture of tarmac and gravel paths, and undulates throughout, with one focal incline at the start, and an equivalent decline towards the end.

Free parking is available for parkrunners until 10:30am, although a charge applies if you intend to stay for longer. Toilets and a cafe are available near the car park at the visitors centre.

The run

Today's event was a Hawaiian-themed one, and the number of runners dressed in grass skirts and loud shirts seemed to grow as we got closer to the run briefing, which fit in perfectly with the weather!

In such a pristine location, it was perhaps inevitable that I would seemingly spend half of the run enjoying the scenery, and with the relatively simple backwards "P" shaped course meaning only 2 real corners, the run seemed to fly by very quickly, and I barely noticed the accumulated elevation, although with the final kilometer being largely downhill, I was able to push on a little!

Thank you to all of the volunteers for such a pleasant event today!

After the run

As the Hall itself is still an actively lived-in private home, it is only open to visitors on certain days, which don't include Saturdays, and so I explored the grounds of Holkham Park instead.

To the south of the house lies an avenue of trees extending almost 2 miles from the house to the estate's Triumphal Arch.

Avenue of trees south of the hall

Slightly north of the main avenue of trees, but south of the house, is the Obelisk; a sign of intent constructed by Thomas Coke on acquiring the estate of his plans for the construction of the main hall itself.

Holkham Obelisk

In a clearing at the end of another avenue of trees slightly west of the Obelisk lies the Temple; a place for quiet reflection on the estate.

Holkham temple

One of the oldest buildings on the estate is thought to be an ice house dating from around 1750; when Coke first took ownership of the estate.

Holkham Estate Ice House

To the north of the hall lies the lake, and St Withburga's Church. The Walled Garden is also situated to the west of the hall.

Lake at Holkham Estate, with church in background

Directly north of the house, and exactly aligned with the Obilesk to the south, lies the Coke monument; a memorial to Thomas Coke.

Coke Monument

The ornate gatehouse still serves as the main gate to the estate.

Main entrance to the Holkham Estate

Continuing north, I explored the pine wood, which connects the Holkham Estate to nearby Wells-next-the-sea; a very popular location for beach-goers based on the numbers I saw on the day!

On the northern border of the pine woods lies the beach, which had a mixture of soft sand, and the very appealing sea in the warm weather!

Beach north of Holkham Estate

Coincidentally, the estate was also hosting a "Feast in the park" event, and so I joined the many locals for lunch, and to watch a game of cricket.

Cricket game and Feast in the Park event at Holkham Estate

It is also worth mentioning that deer are a common sight should you explore the park, and while they are seemingly used to human interaction, it's worth being quiet as you explore, both to avoid startling them, but also so that you have opportunity to actually see them.

Links: Report | Results | Strava

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