PICTURE the scene. It was the baking hot summer of 2003. Family Silk had just made the big move from Norwich out into the sticks at Loddon. After several weeks of non-stop unpacking, I manage to escape on my bike to explore for the first time. On a Sunday afternoon I’m dying for a swift one and the Wherry at Langley is just the right distance away. …But you’re miles ahead of me of course. Unbeknown to me, the pub had closed its doors for the final time a few weeks earlier. I’ve enjoyed a drink in every other pub along what we would learn to call the Wherryman’s Way, but The Wherry would be the one that got away.
In the intervening years I’ve heard rumours every which way, but today South Norfolk council confirmed the inevitable. Their website has yet to be updated, but yes they have given permission to convert the “former public house to residential use with erection of 2 storey extension, subject to conditions”. I’m not sure what the conditions are, but I understand that “offering hand-pumped real ale at reasonable prices to blokes on bikes” is not included. At least the building will survive and at least just a few yards up the road, walkers can now be watered and fed at the excellent Langley Abbey. But still it’s the end of an era.
* More details on the pub’s history here.