East Dereham is a strange place. It is quite close to the Twilight Zone – but, incidentally, nowhere near West Dereham! No matter how many times I go to Dereham – I always have an uneasy feeling that I'm just about to get lost. It is very odd and very disconcerting.
Good to know that I'm not alone. Lots of people seem to have problems going the correct way on the A 47 near Dereham. Road was closed again this week as the Norfolk Constabulary vainly attempted to put right the chaos caused by someone merrily driving to their doom on the Swaffham bound carriageway – but going to Norwich. Wrong way, Corrigan!
Why does this happen so often in or near Dereham? Since you ask, I'll tell you. The road network around Dereham is the most poorly designed, ill-conceived nightmare ever constructed in the Western hemisphere. It's that simple. It's no wonder all except the locals find it difficult to drive to Norwich without killing themselves – or others. For example – as you wander around the Dereham one-way system near the town centre – vainly trying to follow the carefully misdirected signs to Norwich A 47 – eventually you reach the east end of town and are (seemingly) directed to turn left into an industrial estate in order to join the main road. Not surprisingly, this seems odd to anyone who does not live in Dereham – or have six fingers. I have driven past this sign many times secure in the belief that this cannot be the turning. It is. (Don't believe me – go to Dereham, if you dare, and look for yourself).
Going the other way is just as bad – but of a different style. Getting off the A 47 you find yourself on the slip road. It is a travesty. It is the shortest slip road in England and has the sharpest radii turn outside of Brands Hatch. I'd love to see the stats on how many accidents there are on this wonder of the road builders art. Think I'm exaggerating: log on to:
Here you will find useful info about Dereham – such as the best description of Dereham I have ever seen – Dereham, a cemetery with lights. And, Dereham: The one-way system, you kinda get swept along, like a little fish in a river.
Enough about Dereham. The other really disconcerting and obtuse journey is from Gt Finborough in Suffolk to RAF Wattisham – a distance of about 10 miles. Now, this will make your blood run cold and possibly turn your eyeballs to ice-balls. If you leave Finborough School and turn left you go through Stowmarket and Needham Market and get to Wattisham. I f you turn right you go through the villages of Finborough and Hitcham and Bildeston and still end up at Wattisham? How odd is that? Typical Suffolk if you ask me. There is another more direct way to get there, but it is so confusing that I can not do it. Lest you begin to think I am just a little backward when it comes to navigating – I assure you that this is not the case. I'm very good. It's Dereham and Finborough that are the problem. Try them. You'll agree.