The Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path
By Phoebe Smith
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The Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trail is an easy-to-follow 96 mile route that combines the best of inland and coastal walking, and one that is ideal for people new to long-distance walks. In eight detailed stages, this guidebook shows how to complete the scenic trail over a week and how to split it over a series of weekends.
Seasonswith the least rainfall in the UK and a normally sunny outlook this long distance path can be enjoyed year round
CentresKnettishall, Little Cressingham, Castle Acre, Snettisham, Hunstanton, Brancaster, Wells next to the Sea, Blakeney, Sheringham and Cromer
Difficultya waymarked National Trail so easy to follow; no huge sections of ascent or difficult terrain; mostly on forest tracks, country lanes, sand, waterside paths and cliff tops; easy-moderate with the length being the only thing some may find a challenge
Must Seean old Roman Road, an array of birds (observatories too), windmills, churches, picturesque villages, castle ruins, earthworks, Bronze Age tumuli, carved stone sculptures, sand dunes, striped cliffs, extensive sea views, salt marshes and traditional British seaside resorts
With big skies, wild marshland, dramatic clifftops and sandy beaches, the 96 miles of the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trail offers eight delightful days of accessible walking with good transport links and accommodation, making it easy to tackle as a series of day walks or a few long weekends.
The 49 miles of the Peddars Way starts in the heart of East Anglia near Thetford. It follows the route of a Roman road through rural Norfolk, passing picture-perfect villages accessed by walkways lined with Scots pine, and ends in Hunstanton, where it joins the Norfolk Coast Path.
From here the 47 mile Norfolk Coast Path follows a spectacular coastline, Hunstanton's dramatic striped cliffs gradually giving way to the wildness of a less commercial coastline, with the opportunity to glimpse rare sea birds above the salt marshes on the approach to the trail's end at the pier in Cromer.
This National Trail is fully waymarked on well-established paths and bridleways. There are no steep hills, but care should be taken on or near crumbling clifftops. The route can be undertaken at any time of year, the Coasthopper bus providing and easy escape from anywhere along the coast should the weather turn bad. Cyclists should note that while the Peddars Way can be followed with just a few minor deviations, bikes are not permitted on the coastal section of the trail.
This guidebook describes the route in eight easy stages perfect for the novice long-distance walker, with plenty of local history, wildlife and accommodation information.
• illustrated with OS map extracts and inspiring photographs
• points of interest explained including the Norfolk Songlines sculptures along the way
• facilities in the towns and villages described in detail
History of Norfolk
History of the trail
Plants and flowers
What to take
Waymarking, access and maps
Using this guide
When to go
In which direction?
Health and safety
The Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path
Stage 1 Knettishall Heath to Little Cressingham
Stage 2 Little Cressingham to Castle Acre
Stage 3 Castle Acre to Sedgeford
Stage 4 Sedgeford to Hunstanton
Stage 5 Hunstanton to Burnham Deepdale
Stage 6 Burnham Deepdale to Stiffkey
Stage 7 Stiffkey to Cley next the Sea
Stage 8 Cley next the Sea to Cromer
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Useful contacts
There is no single map for the whole route so a combination of several is needed to cover the entire trail. These can be purchased at local tourist information centres (see Appendix B).
OS Explorer (1:25,000)
229, 236, 250, 251 and 252
OS Landranger (1:50,000)
132, 133 and 144
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The stretch between Weybourne and Sea Palling now officially forms part of the National Trail (and part of the first official stretch of the England Coast Path). This means that the route between Sheringham and Cromer continues along the coastline, rather than diverting inland as it used to.
This new stretch has been signposted with waymarks and bespoke fingerposts displaying the National Trail acorn symbol. For those who still want to walk the 'original' route, this is still an option, and is signposted as a circular walk instead.
Thanks to Stuart Braddock.
'The bulk of the guide is a very practical route description dividing the walk into eight stages suitable for day excursions or combined for a longer trip. Each has a summary table giving essential information such as the distance, parking, public transport, accommodation and refreshments. There is also a useful overview of the day's walk describing points of interest to be encountered in that section.
...Noel Coward describes Norfolk as 'very flat' in Private Lives, implying dullness rather than referring to the topography. This excellent guide goes a long way to counter Coward's view and will be all that is required to enjoy the trail.'
Michael Fletcher, Strider - the Journal of the LDWA, August 2013
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Phoebe is an award-winning travel writer and photographer. She is editor-at-large of Wanderlust travel magazine and writes extensively for a range of newspapers and magazines in the UK and overseas. She contributes regularly to BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent and is often seen on BBC Breakfast talking travel and adventure.View Articles and Books by Phoebe Smith
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