After the last two cough-inducing posts I have been advised to get out in the fresh air. So how about a ruined church in Norfolk at nine o'clock in the morning? Norfolk specialises in redundant churches, many falling to pieces in the middle of fields with just the odd crow or owl for company. This treasure is to be found down a cul-de-sac below the famous Appleton Water Tower on the Sandringham Estate, a drive down through a farmyard to where sheep graze around the iron fencing. Appleton church has a 12th century round tower, now covered in ivy and built in local pebbles, flint, brick and the carrstone that runs in a narrow band next to the coast of this part of West Norfolk. There are 179 standing round towers in England, of which about 140 are in Norfolk. They are assumed to be easier to build than square towers, but they're not. It's just a style thing. So here is Appleton, forgotten, but not lonely. You open a gate in the iron railings and wade chest-high through vegetation to where this porch is ablaze with colour in the autumn light. The next time you're here, turn off the coastal runs and get the Ordnance map out of the glove box. Within a very short distance of just this one ruin are two more locations marked in Old English black letter: 'Church (rems of)'.
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