1) The starting point for this walk is Kissing alley an ancient footpath that runs from the old Norwich Road alongside mature gardens across the B1172 and down the side of Hethersett Hall.
Kissing alley has the benefit of established hedges and gardens which give homes to a wide variety of birds including great tit, blue tit, long-tailed tit, blackbird and jay all of which you can expect to see.
2) As you travel down the path the parkland round the Hall comes into view with its meadows and landscaped trees. This should give good views of jackdaws and woodpigeons and is a good spot for green woodpecker and at least one report earlier this year of lesser-spotted woodpecker. In winter this is a great place to watch the build up of redwing and fieldfares as well as mistle thrush
3) As you reach the end of the parkland you come alongside the Hall lake and the wet woodland that runs alongside the stream that feeds the lake. The lake is home to moorhen,coot and mallard as well as Canada and barnacle goose all of which can be joined in winter by a variety of wildfowl including goosander. Other possibles include kingfisher cormorant and grey heron. In spring also expect to hear blackcap, chiffchaff and wrens singing their hearts out.
4) At the end of Kissing Alley you meet another old track and turn left along Suckling Lane. The left turn is marked by an old iron gate and is a good point to stop and look across the fields to the East which often contain deer and buzzard. In spring and late summer watch out for swallows and house martins hawking as well as for pheasant which can often be heard calling even if they are out of sight.
5) As you walk along Suckling lane check the hedges and trees for all the favourites in summer including whitethroats and yellowhammers.
6) at the end of suckling lane which is an uneven footpath you will reach station lane a metalled road which can be followed left back towards the B1172. This part of the walk is good for hedgerow favourites including linnet and birds such as yellow hammer if you haven’t seen them already. The road gives sweeping views across to the Hall and is a good vantage point for hunting kestrels and buzzards as well as numerous woodpigeon and corvids.
7) At the bottom of the station lane hill it is worth stopping to scan the low lying stream floor or checking out the ill kept footpath that leads on to the farm land which runs along side the stream and small pond home to moorhens as well as the occasional passing heron or kingfisher. The woods at this point can also hold sparrow hawk and plenty of pigeons. I also find it a regular spot for hearing the call of green woodpecker although they are rarely seen.The footpath here on the left can be used as an alternative path to the church of St Remegius but it is generally poorly maintained and the road walking will bring its own birding treats.
8) walk to the end of station lane and turn left crossing the B1172 to return to wards the village as you wlak past the Church Farm with its excellent local services and consider whether you deserve and ice cream scan the roof tops for the farms feral dove population and jackdaws and the occasional pied wagtail. If you are looking to buy bird food locally then this is also worth a stop.
9) opposite the farm are Landscaped gardens and a small lake home to moorhen and mallard. The trees here also hold a small rookery which is bustling in spring and the birds will usually be seen close by throughout the year. At night from late Autumn listen out for tawny owls which nest locally.
10) Further along the main road is St Remigius church with another rookery and usually the odd jay or magpie. In summer look out for house martins which nest in a nearby colony. Then follow the old Norwich road back to the start of the walk. As you walk past the Queens head pub look out in the summer for locally nesting swifts as well as the resident house sparrows and collared doves.
Recent sightings and other possibilities for this walk include peregrine falcon and little egret so please leave a comment or update the editor via the usual website or the @HethersettBirds twitter account