Find out about the 15 National Trails providing over 4000km of well-managed paths which offer walking, riding and cycling experiences through some of the finest countryside in England and Wales, officially designated by Natural England (formerly the Countryside Agency).
Location: Eastern England.
Length:: 150km (93 miles).
Average number of days to complete:: 8.
Users:: 100% for walkers, 50% for cyclists and horse riders.
Start point: Knettishall Heath Country Park, 8km (5 miles) east of Thetford.
Finish point: Cromer Pier.
Landscape:: A distinctive roman road through the Brecks and on to the big open arable farmland of north west Norfolk. The Coast Path starts on the cliffs at Hunstanton with views across the Wash to the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB. The Trail then follows extensive sandy beaches and dunes to rise again at the cliffs of Cromer. 65% of the route passes through the Brecks, the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding natural Beauty and the North Norfolk Heritage Coast. 43% runs through or borders either a Special Area of Conservation or a Special Protection Area.
Highlights: Thetford Forest, Castle Acre (village), the 2000 year old Roman Road (Peddars Way), Ecotech (Environmental exhibition centre at Swaffam), saltmarsh and dunes and huge open beaches and skies, Norfolk churches and flint cottages.
Famous Associations: The Duchess of Kent -“Here in Norfolk I find …peace especially when I walk the lovely, lonely stretches of the Peddars Way. The silence and isolation along the strange green track-way encourage one to reflect on the history that has taken place there.” Writer Thomas Paine, broadcaster John Timpson, Pocahontas (her husband was from Kings Lynn), poet WH Auden, naturalist Richard Mabey (grew up on the coast at Cley), local poet Kevin Crossley-Holland, Lord Admiral Nelson (born at Burnham Thorpe), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (based at Sheringham), Oscar Wilde and writer Clement Scott (from Cormer). In addition to these famous literary names a host of films have been filmed on the Trail including Shakespeare in Love, Great Expectations, Dad's Army, Moonstone and The Eagle has Landed.
Trail Officer's favourite part: Wells to Morston for the sheer remoteness and beauty of the coast and the River Thet crossing, a beautiful place in early summer.
Nearest Towns: Norwich 32km (20 miles), Cambridge 56km (35 miles), Thetford 8km (5 miles) and Kings Lynn 16km (10 miles). Sheringham and Cromer are on the route. The market town of Swaffham is situated close to the route.
Access: Both Kings Lynn and Norwich are two hours by train from London.
Access to Knettishall Heath is from the Bury St Edmunds rail station and thence bus to Coney Weston from where it is a short walk to the start of the route. Cromer is half an hour from Norwich by train. Kings Lynn, Thetford and Norwich are all on National Express routes. The Norfolk Coast Path is served by the Coast Hopper bus service running from Hunstanton to Sheringham.
Information available: National Trail Guide by Bruce Robinson (Aurum Press) ISBN 1-84513-207-6: Accommodation guide by the Norfolk Ramblers Association available from the National Trail office; A Norfolk Songline leaflet (National Trail); A Norfolk Songline book and CD An artistic/historic interpretation of the Peddars Way (by Hickathrift Books); A Norfolk Songline Teachers Pack (National Trail).
Contact for all information and advice: Tim Lidstone-Scott, The Old Courthouse, Baron’s Close, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 8BE.Telephone: 00 44 (0) 1328 850530.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org