Author Topic: TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path  (Read 775 times)

bricam2096

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TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path
« on: 18:07:20, 05/05/19 »
The full report and photos can now be seen on my website at http://www.brians-walks.co.uk/peddars-way-norfolk-coast-path.html

When I planned this walk I didn't know at the time it would be during the Easter holidays so the coast section was rather crowded as you might imagine, luckily I had booked accommodation well in advance. I had 8 hot sunny days, not a spot of rain so this was a real bonus. Whilst not as scenic as many of the other National Trails it still had many good points and with it being mostly flat, well signposted and good paths, it would be a reasonably good one for a beginner. The NCP is much nicer than the Peddars Way.

Day 1 - Peddars Way from the start at Knettishall Heath to Watton (a mile of the route) (15 miles)

Getting to the start and Norfolk itself was not the easiest, it would take me 5 different trains to get to Bury St. Edmunds where I stayed the night before I started. I stayed there because there's now no public transport to the start of the Peddars Way so I would catch a bus from Bury St. Edmunds to a small village called Coney Weston and walk the 2 miles to the start along a road then a path.



The start is a simple signpost, no plaque or sculpture etc which is a shame because doesn't everyone like getting their photos taken at the start?  :D The Peddars Way, if you look at it on a map is almost exactly straight, much of it is along old Roman roads but the 1st day would start of with woodland path, tracks and road sections. I knew the scenery wouldn't exactly be fantastic given how flat the Peddars Way is and quite a lot of the time you feel fenced in with a large military firing range on one side and woodland on the other side. The songline sculptures were nice though





Today was really just a warm up, 15 miles of flattish walking wasn't very strenuous and only took 5 hours in hot weather. There's not a lot of accommodation between the 10-20 mile mark so I chose to cut off and stay at Watton which is about a mile away from the trail, it has a few hotels, shops and takeaway  O0

Day 2 - Watton to Castle Acre (16 miles)

After a good nights sleep and breakfast, I retraced my steps from Watton to rejoin the trail, it was already hot enough to be in tshirt and shorts. Shortly after I rejoined the trail I reached Little Cressingham and started a long and painful road section, the views were quite far but nothing really interesting. I was glad to finally get off the road and get some field edge walking into North Pickerham and find a bench beside an American WW2 war memorial (they were stationed nearby).

More road walking followed, past a go karting centre (how I wished I had one for all the road walking today) and then the sound of traffic got louder as I reached the main A47 road. A quick dash across it took me to a service station and a McDonalds so that was lunch and a break sorted. Another songline sculpture was nearby



More road walking would follow although most of the country lanes had little traffic on them, this would take me towards Castle Acre where the old Clunaic Priory ruins can be seen



Shortly after this I was entering Castle Acre through it's Baily Gate and my Hotel for the night in the lovely village (shop and chippy in it so tea sorted). I was a bit miffed to get to my Hotel to be told that breakfast started at 9am, which is really far too late for a Hotel which prides itself on being on the Peddars Way as most walkers would want to be well gone before then. They also mentioned it was a continental breakfast, something that wasn't mentioned when booking or on the website. Kindly though they did make me up a "pack up" for the next day, which was nice of them.



Day 3 - Castle Acre to Hunstanton (23 miles)

My first long day of the trail but again nothing strenuos and I was looking forward to the Coast and a change in scenery, something a bit better than the Peddars Way. The last day was almost all in a straight line, first on a road section but then much nicer tracks and paths past many pig farms. I started early seeing as I didn't have to wait for breakfast, stopped at the shop, chatted to a local and headed off along a road until I reached a trig point and cut off along tracks



Today was the hottest day so far but the sun was behind me all day which meant the backs of my legs were burnt (yes I forgot the sun cream again) The tracks and paths, although straight were nice to walk on, dry and sometime grassy but I imagine after rain they wouldn't be as nice as many of the tracks had deep ruts due to tractors. I stopped in a village called Ringstead to have my lunch on a bench but didn't stay long as the sun was too hot.



As I walked uphill out of the village on a road I saw the Sea for the first time, it meant I didn't have far to go but after some field walking I ended up on a very narrow road leading to a beach which was busy with cars. I then walked through agolf course, signs telling me to watch my head before reaching the end of the Peddars Way and joining the Norfolk Coast Path (although it actually starts a couple of miles East in Hunstanton)



The 2 mile stretch along to Hunstanton was quite leg sapping after walking over 20 miles as it was quite soft sand, I tried to find harder sand. As I got near the cliffs a path then led off and a grassy path along the top of the cliffs to Hunstanton followed, past the old lighthouse. The Start/Finish of the NCP wasn't too far away and I was soon in my Hotel having a well deserved break and thinking now about the NCP.



The Norfolk Coast Path.



I'll put a few photos up as there's already a trip report to Cromer and than a short TR from Cromer.

The start of the walk in Hunstanton


The lovely beach near Holkham


Wells-Next-The-Sea


Cley Windmill


Sheringham Beach


Leaving Sheringham on a sunny morning


From Cromer, it would be a nice variation of paths to Mundesley where I stopped for the night, a nice cliff top walk being the highlight along a quite eroded path in places.



Day 7 - Mundesley to Caister ( 23 miles)

This is a day that can be shortened if you like as it passes through or near a couple of little villages where you can stay or get a bus elsewhere. I started at Mundesley following signs away from the coast which wasn't what I had on my GPS but I followed it, came out of playing fields and along a gravel road. I was getting further away from the coast all the time and when I reached the end of this road there were no signs. I assumed that I had missed a turn off but my mindset was just to head towards the coast by whatever path I found. When I got to the playing fields I noticed a hidden path beside it with the acorn sign, this took me to the coast. At this point I could see where I had set off from earlier so no idea why the detour. Anyway, beach walking was to form much of my day and thats what I did at Mundesley.



After a few miles looking for harder sand I came to cement sea defences, it felt nice to walk on these. I was soon passing through Walcott and onto a nice scenic grassy cliff top walk passing Happisburgh on the way. Lots of this path had been eroded away and I passed through what's left of a caravan site, some still remain but vandelized.

Part of the eroded coast path near Walcott


After here there was a choice of routes, the beach or an alternative one if the tide's in, I took the latter option as I knew I had plenty beach walking to come but after a couple of miles I took a path onto the beach anyway. I left the beach just before Sea Palling and passed through it, not much open. After that though I would be on nice wide grassy and gravle paths, no sign of the sea on my left and farmland on my right. This welcome path took me near Winterton where I joined the beach again before leaving it for a nice wide grassy valley type walk to Hemsby where again nothing seemed to be open.

After Hembsby I only had a few miles to Caister and hoped for more hard path but that wasn't to be as I joined the beach again after Hemsby and more soft sand. On the right of me were houses and sheds far too close to the cliff edge for comfort, the cliffs looking very fragile and not rocky. My legs were really tired now as I tried to find harder sand and eventually after a couple of miles I passed below caravan sites and I knew Caister wasn't far away. It was with much relief to eventually join a grassy track and reach the lifeboat station, the end of my long day.



Day 8 - Caister to Hopton (9 miles)

I knew today would be very easy and so it proved, but quite a lot of pavement walking. I left Caister along a grassy path which led to a caravan site and a gravel track. After this it was a long straight pavement section to Great Yarmouth pier which I could see in the far distance. It seemed to take hours to reach it but maybe it was because it was my last day.



I last visited Great Yarmouth 20 years ago, it really hasn't changed (for the better). The path takes you through the town and over the bridge near the docks.



Then a long straight busy road to Gorleston where things improve as you head back to the water again along a quieter road before reaching the pier and the beach. You have the option of walking along the beach or along the Prom depending on tides and how you feel. The Prom was busy with joggers and dog walkers. At the end of the Prom it narrowed and then took me down onto the beach for a last stretch of soft sand walking. I eventually came to a small boulder field sea defence and through that where a ramp took me up to a grassy path passing a caravan site



The end was almost in site and as the grassy path dropped downhill and onto a concrete path which then reached a ramp. At the top of the ramp was the finish, a rather large anti-climax. A simple post pointing in the opposite direction. Have to admit it's a rather tame finish to a National Trail and not exactly one for having your photo beside unlike many others but it was the end.



Ok, so it wasn't the best long distance walk in the UK but I had enjoyed myself, the weather had helped. It wasn't as good coast walking as I've done in Pembrokeshire or part of the Cleveland Way where a lot of cliff edge walking is involved but it still had it's scenic moments

LDWs done - 31 in total including 15 National Trails and 3 C2C

Wainwrights 176
www.brians-walks.co.uk

vghikers

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Re: TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path
« Reply #1 on: 12:52:14, 06/05/19 »
A great report with plenty of detail there and you certainly picked a fine week with the weather - imagine that shingle slog in pouring rain  :o. You have some bright summery pictures to remember it.

After your last reference to this trail in a recent thread, the report unfortunately confirms my suspicions in spades. I don't think I'll be doing this one after all, I did start the research into it a few weeks ago but it's a case of too little scenic payoff and too much tarmac for the logistical effort involved. It seems to be one of those trails where much of the satisfaction would come from completing it and adding it to the CV rather than the walk itself.
Also, as I mentioned on that thread, the trail has been extended a long way to Hopton which I imagine does nothing to improve matters.

bricam2096

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Re: TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path
« Reply #2 on: 14:01:19, 06/05/19 »
It seems to be one of those trails where much of the satisfaction would come from completing it and adding it to the CV rather than the walk itself.


Also, as I mentioned on that thread, the trail has been extended a long way to Hopton which I imagine does nothing to improve matters.

I have to admit, especially on the Peddars Way at times it did feel a bit like just plodding on and ticking it off the list but then again maybe walking it with company would improve the experience and take your mind off the lack of scenery or doing it in day walks rather than one complete journey.

The new section after Cromer I actually enjoyed although there is quite a bit of beach walking involved but there's more variation of paths and some cliff top paths which I enjoyed.

If anyone asked me an easy National Trail to do I'd suggest this one but I would probably say it's my least favourite out of the 14 I've done. At least I'm honest  :D :D
LDWs done - 31 in total including 15 National Trails and 3 C2C

Wainwrights 176
www.brians-walks.co.uk

alan de enfield

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Re: TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path
« Reply #3 on: 15:40:04, 06/05/19 »
Great report and super pictures.
We have found it a really nice part of the world.


We did it 'off shore', here we are arriving in Well-next-Sea




sunnydale

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Re: TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path
« Reply #4 on: 16:29:04, 06/05/19 »
Looks a great walk Brian, lovely photos too O0
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Mel

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Re: TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path
« Reply #5 on: 23:06:36, 06/05/19 »
I read this last night as my "bedtime story" bri.  Really enjoyed it  :)


Did you not walk up "Beeston Bump" on your way from Sheringham?
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pleb

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Re: TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path
« Reply #6 on: 14:36:13, 07/05/19 »
Bookmark.....must have a proper look at this!
We're all doomed! DOOOMED I SAY!

MarkT

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Re: TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path
« Reply #7 on: 22:34:29, 07/05/19 »
Nice report and pics, and great to see what lies in store for me when I do the second half of the walk. If we didn't walk pass each other that weekend, we must have been close  :)


I will be basing myself at Mundesley for the next stage, did you stay at the campsite or B&B/Hotel?


Interesting you say this is probably the least interesting walk of all the Trails. As a novice to NT's and enjoy coast walking, what you recommend?

rural roamer

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Re: TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path
« Reply #8 on: 12:37:56, 08/05/19 »
Great report and photos bricam! Living in Suffolk we are guilty of this being the nearest LDW to us but we still havenít walked it.  Itís never really appealed to us as a LDW. We started off with the Dales way and went up from there.  Weíre now thinking that weíll leave it until we canít do the hills anymore! I wondered how people got to the start as its in the middle of nowhere. We have walked bits of it mostly around Sheringham. Did you see the seals at Horsey Gap? Thereís often hundreds on the beach there.

pleb

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Re: TR - The Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path
« Reply #9 on: 10:47:01, 09/05/19 »
Nice pics looks really nice O0 O0 O0  though my feet are aching just looking at it!
We're all doomed! DOOOMED I SAY!