Cow Tower in Norwich is one of those places I’ve been saying I “must visit” for years because it looks so intriguing but I never have – until last week when we decided to dodge the rain showers and enjoy a lovely riverside walk.
After a quick stop at Norwich Cathedral to see the nesting peregrines, via the watch point set up in the grounds by the Hawk and Owl Trust (you can also watch them live online here), we cut through the always beautiful Cathedral Close down to Pull’s Ferry.
Named after ferryman John Pull it is a well-known landmark in the city.
John Pull was appointed in 1796 following the death of the previous ferryman and was assigned the house, now in private hands, which was also a fairly respectable pub/inn he continued to run.
There is a “Strange Tale” about John Pull via this heritage site that is worth a read – if only because it makes you think where on earth did that come from?
The arch of the flint building was once a 15th century watergate and the French stone (along with other materials) used to build the Norman cathedral was brought in via this route.
John Pull died in 1841, aged 73, but the ferry continued to run until 1943. The buildings were restored in 1947 -9.
After admiring Pull’s Ferry we went left and picked up the riverside walk which was looking blooming lovely, even on a dull day.
It’s a short, very accessible, walk to the Cow Tower from here. In fact the whole path (or the bit we walked anyway) was well tended and we had no trouble with the buggy.
Cow Tower, according to the sign outside, is “one of the earliest purpose-built blockhouses in England” built in 1398-9 “to control a strategic point in Norwich city’s defenses”.
Its name might have been taken from the water meadow where it’s sited which was known as Cowholme.
You can’t get inside the tower but you can see it perfectly well through a locked gate.
Apparently the tower saw action during Kett’s Rebellion, which probably deserves its own post. There is also some suggestion that the tower was used to house alleged witches in the 16th Century before they were taken elsewhere to be burned.
It’s actually not hard to imagine all sorts of activity, especially on a gloomy day – although Freya couldn’t quite make it out.
We carried on along the path until we came to a fork and then took the left path which came out via the law courts, which I know well from my time as a general reporter.
It was a lovely way to spend an hour or so and there are plenty of places to stop and just enjoy the peace (or, if you’re like me, take photos).