Circular and Linear Walks

A dramatic cliff face on Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path

Circular and Linear Walks

This 5 mile (8km) walk follows mainly footpaths in the sandy Brecks area, once characterised by open windblown areas now typically planted with pine woodland following World War One.

Archaeological features abound on this walk:  the campsite at Thorpe Woodlands was the site of a mediaeval settlement until the early eighteenth century; the Peddars Way shows one of the best examples of 'agger' (the raised embankment which supported the Roman Road) can be seen; at West Harling Heath, Bronze Age burial grounds or tumuli can be seen. 

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The West Runton Circular is a charming route for families, first time walkers or those who just want a quick walk. Following the base of Incleborough hill, the route is less undulating than the nearby Roman Camp walk, but shares much of the same character and charm. Following sunken pathways between hedgerows and fields, you are often treated to glimpses of the sea.

Along the clifftop path, look for paragliders launching themselves into the air and surfers enjoying the water below. The Norfolk coast is also the first port of call for many migrant birds, exhausted after a journey over the sea. At different times of the year you can see species such as the tiny goldcrest refuelling in the scrubby bushes growing on the cliff slopes and land abutting the cliff tops. 

On the fringes of East Runton, you’ll pass beneath two railway viaducts. One is still in use today and supports the Norwich-Sheringham line. The other, though disused, is a fine example of industrial engineering. When you’re back at the start near West Runton beach, explore the rock-pools and keep an eye out for fossils; the skeleton of the famous West Runton mammoth was found in the cliffs here so who knows what you might discover.

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Weybourne beach is popular with anglers and is a launch site for several commercial fishing vessels. If your timing’s right as you start the walk, you might see one of these small, traditional boats launching. It’s an impressive feat on the steep shingle beach, the splash of the boat entering the water before its crew jumps aboard and calmly puts out to sea.

Challenging for some, the first section of the walk involves crunching along the shingle beach before heading inland through grazing land and past The Quag – a large pool that often has interesting birds on it.

From here the route ascends onto Kelling Heath, a site of great geological interest as one of the best examples of a glacial outwash plain in England. The heath’s dry conditions are perfect for birdwatching too, with nightjar, whitethroat and tree pipit all nesting on the site.

From the edge of the heath’s treeline, you’ll enjoy a great view of Weybourne village, and across to the sea in the distance. You might even see a steam train chugging past on the on the Poppy Line heritage railway that runs nearby.

Looping back through the pretty village, there’s ample opportunity to refuel, with a pub, cafe and tea rooms to choose from.

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Winterton Dunes is internationally significant as a site of special scientific interest, and interestingly, with its acidic plant communities, has more in common with the dune systems of the Baltic than those found elsewhere on the Norfolk coast.

The dunes are also home to the threatened natterjack toad. You’re far more likely to hear them than see them though – the mating call of the male is very loud!

Away from the scenic dunes and beach, the walk explores the area inland, heading to the magical ruins of St Mary’s church at East Somerton. Though the church survived the reformation, it fell into disuse once the church parish of East Somerton was subsumed into that of Winterton. Today, it is quite spectacular. Set in woodland and overgrown with ivy, a great oak tree grows straight up though the now-roofless chancel.

One of the most prominent landmarks on the walk is another church – the Holy Trinity and All Saints in Winterton village. It is one of several churches built in the 14th century with particularly large towers to act as status symbols. Many generations of sailors have looked to these towers as landmarks from the sea.

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Interactive Map

Plan your visit to the Trail on our interactive map
Plan your visit using our Interactive Map.
Where to stay, great days out & lots to do!