Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path
The National Trail combines two long distance walking trails; Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path. The route starts in Suffolk at Knettishall Heath Country Park and follows the route of a Roman road to Holme-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast. The Peddars Way meets the Norfolk Coast Path at Holme-next-the-Sea as it runs from Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea.
The Trail provides 129.5 miles (208 Km) of walking through fantastic scenery and landscape. The majority of the Trail runs through the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Brecks, a unique area of forest, heath and low river valleys.
Knettishall Heath to Little Cressingham – 14.5 miles (23.3 Km)
Quiet river valleys, rich in wildlife and crossed by Roman legionnaires 2000 years ago interspersed with unique dry heathland, this is the Brecks, a place of strange beauty and hidden stories that go back to the Stone Age.
The Peddars Way starts here, where the last ice age over 12,000 years ago left pingo ponds and curious patterns in the heath land vegetation. Along this stretch you will find the first two Songline sculptures telling the stories of how landscape and man interacted all those years ago.
The regional long distance routes Angles Way and Icknield Way link with the Peddars Way at Knettishall Heath.
Little Cressingham to Castle Acre – 11.7 miles (18.8 Km)
From the water and windmill of Little Cressingham to the popular village of Castle Acre, the sense of history is never far from you on this stretch of the Way. Houghton on the Hill hides the renovated church of St Mary’s and the amazing 11th Century wall paintings.
Near North Pickenham you’ll find the third Songline sculpture; this stone reflects the pilgrim links of the village. It was here that Catherine of Aragon paused on her pilgrimage to holy shrine at Walsingham.
The Nar Valley Way regional long distance route crosses the Peddars Way at Castle Acre.
Castle Acre to Sedgeford and Fring – 13.9 miles (22.4 Km)
If you seek peace and solitude this is the stretch for you. The northern section of this stretch has a particularly remote feel to it.
This is old heathland, which during the early part of the 20th century was ploughed and converted to large cropped farm fields. Be ready for the wide open skies. It was here that the agriculture improvers of the 18th and 19th Century left their mark in the form of marl pits dotted about the landscape.
The fourth Songline sculpture is to be found on this stretch and reflects the enclosure of heathland and common.
Sedgeford to Holme/Hunstanton – 8.9 miles (14.3 Km)
An old magazine of the Cromwell era starts this section. Followed by an old railway line. The local building material of carrstone now starts to make an appearance giving a warm glow to houses.
The chalk base rock becomes evident as you walk down to Ringstead. Keep your eyes peeled for a first glimpse of the sea.
Holme next the Sea (and Hunstanton) to Burnham Overy Staithe – 16.1 miles (25.9 Km)
From the farmed remoteness of the Peddars Way prepare to enter another world. One where salt, sand, marsh and sky mingle and blend with small harbours, flint villages, shell fishermen and local communities. This is the Norfolk coast AONB, internationally renown for its wildlife. See winter flights of pink-footed geese, as you have never seen before, silhouetted against the evening sky. Experience the wild remoteness of a lonely sea bank. Intersperse the natural world with the warmth of village life and you have a wonderful experience.
As you descend towards the coast pass the final Songline sculpture, marking the last leg of the Peddars Way, and looking out over the Wash. On a clear day see the Lincolnshire coast and the Wolds AONB beyond.
Burnham Overy Staithe to Stiffkey – 9.8 miles (15.8 Km)
This section along the Norfolk Coast Path continues the theme of sea, sand and saltmarsh. The natural world has an awe-inspiring omnipresence.
For a spot of culture visit Holkham Hall. Home of the 19th Century agriculture improver, Thomas Coke. Take time out at Wells next the Sea for a famous mix of historic buildings, old port and amusements. These occasional villages provide brief interludes in the peace and quite of the Norfolk coast.
Stiffkey to Weybourne – 12.5 miles (20.1 Km)
Watch bait diggers out on the mud flats or take a trip from Morston to see the seals or Blakeney Point NNR. Experience the beauty of an early morning high tide when the rest of the world is still thinking about breakfast.
Walk along the rabbit trimmed grass paths over looking one of the most important areas of salt marsh in Europe. Visit the mecca for bird watchers at Cley next the Sea. Above all enjoy the feeling of being away from the everyday rush of the world.
Weybourne to Cromer – 8.6 miles (13.8 Km)
“He who would old England win, must at Weybourne Hoop (Hope) begin” so runs the old saying that recognised the deep water access to Weybourne Hope. Visit the Muckleborough Collection that traces years of military presence here. Beginning this stretch of the coast path, you’ll soon be aware of Weybourne’s military heritage, with several guns belonging to the Muckleburgh Collection lining the route. Having been the site of a camp since the days of the Spanish Armada in 1588, Muckleburgh hill is now home to the country’s largest private collection of military vehicles. The village of Weybourne itself is just a short distance off the route, and as well as offering a number of opportunities for refreshment, it’s home to the spectacular remains of an Augustinian priory dating from the 13thCentury and, thanks to its designation as a conservation area, many examples of Norfolk flint and brick architecture going back to the 17thCentury. Leaving Weybourne, the route rises away from the sea and follows rolling clifftops to the traditional seaside town of Sheringham. One of the town’s most notable attractions is the North Norfolk Railway, which offers picturesque steam train rides to Holt, a few miles inland. Whether you take the ride or not, you’ll likely hear the train’s whistle and see its white plume of steam as you wander along the clifftops. Beyond Sheringham, the Coast Path ascends Beeston Hill, known locally as ‘the bump.’ As its diminutive nickname suggests, it’s more molehill than mountain, but this glacial kame offers great views along this stretch of the coast, as well as the Cromer Ridge, just a little way inland. Though the cliffs on this stretch of the coast are eroding, the receding coastline has given up a number of mysteries in recent years. Most notable among these was the discovery of the ‘West Runton Elephant,’ the best example of a Steppe Mammoth skeleton found anywhere in the world. While the skeleton itself was removed by the Norfolk Archeological Unit around twenty years ago, the site is still frequented by fossil hunters at low tide, hoping to make discoveries of their own!
Cromer to Mundesley – 7.75 miles (12.5km)
One of the first things you’ll notice on approach to Cromer is its traditional pier, complete with a theatre that often hosts variety shows. The Weavers Way long distance route links with the Norfolk Coast Path at Cromerpier. Though the summer months are Cromer’s busiest, the town doesn’t simply shut down in the winter. The town’s many shops, cafes and restaurants are open year round, and all