Author Topic: Walking the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path (virtually!)  (Read 1217 times)

WhitstableDave

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Having completed a couple of outstanding sections of the North Downs Way using Google Street View on a treadmill, as well as the entire Pembrokeshire Coast Path and Cleveland Way national trails, I started this morning on the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path national trail (or the PWNCP from now on!).

I hadn't actually heard of the PWNCP until I looked on the National Trails website for my next project. As far as I could tell, it was the only completely 'street viewed' national trail that I hadn't done yet. So basically, I didn't have much choice - the PWNCP it is!

The shape of the PWNCP is very similar to that of the Cleveland Way in that it's a horseshoe where the route heads north to the coast before following the coast south. And whereas I said that the Cleveland Way is like two very different trails joined into one, the PWNCP literally is two very different trails joined into one.

The Peddars Way begins near Thetford at Knettishall Heath, which is right on the Suffolk / Norfolk border. It heads slightly west of north in an almost straight line (it was a Roman road) to  Holme-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast - a distance of 49 miles. Then the Norfolk Coast Path takes over and heads east then south from Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea - a distance of 84 miles. In all then, the PWNCP is about 133 miles. I'm planning on doing about 12 miles a day, so it should take me 11 days if all goes well!

Once again, I've rotated the route map to save space:



I knew from the very start that I was going to like this trail and 12.2 miles and 3 hours later I knew I was right! This one looks fantastic! From a small car park, I set off along a lovely wooded path...



...and about a mile further on I passed pigs. Welcome to Norfolk!



After about 3 or 4 miles I came to the River Thet. I didn't actually see much of the river, but the path used a boardwalk for what seemed a very long way and at one point I saw water as well as reeds.



But then the sun went in and it began to rain - this photo shows what much of the route from then on looked like:



It's hard to explain what I really like about this path, but I'll try. The area is very agricultural, but the path never seemed to cross any fields. This path is established - it's been here for more than a thousand years and it belongs here. There was never any feeling of the path taking me onto someone's land; the path is a separate thing entirely and we're off to a great start!  :)

Mel

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Brilliant  :D .  This might be the flattest treadmill trail you've done yet mindst.


Hope you get onto the beach around the Cromer area so you can look for fossilised chalk and flint rings (paramoudras)and see the stripey cliffs  O0
I'm tired of people bein' ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. - John Coffey, The Green Mile

MarkT

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I look forward to seeing how you get on as I walked the Norfolk Coast Path last year. However I did a lot of the walk along the beach so it will be good to see what your route shows. I started in Hunstanton and finished on the beach at Hopton-on-Sea and did it over 2 long weekends.


Good luck

WhitstableDave

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Day 2 of my treadmill trek along the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path was something of a disappointment after yesterday's excellent start. After the first few hundred yards of walking off-road, I arrived at a road and for all but about a mile or so of the 12.2 mile section the going was on tarmac. I have to say that the tarmac was mostly in the form of very quiet, pleasant lanes, but I had expected better of a national trail. 



At about the 6 mile mark, the Street View cameraperson turned into a field (as in 'went' into one), and I thought we were done with road walking for the day. Then I thought that the path was far too unwalked to be the PWNCP and that we'd taken a short cut to North Pickenham instead of staying on the road. It turns out that the OS map shows that we were on the trail whereas the Google map disagrees. I trust the OS.  :)

It was during this nice break from roads that I chose a view to share - a footbridge over the River Wissey: 



I livened up today's walk by doing interval training for whole of the second half!  :)

MarkT

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When you reach the coast, the views will get better.

WhitstableDave

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When you reach the coast, the views will get better.
I'm looking forward to that!  ;)

WhitstableDave

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Day 3 of my treadmill trek along the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path national trail involved the straightest stretch of walking yet - as is very obvious from the route map!



Fortunately, the first mile-and-a-half was very interesting. I liked the ford and footbridge on the way into Castle Acre...



...and the town itself was brilliant, with its castle, town walls, priory and old houses. I vaguely remembered visiting Castle Acre about 30-odd years ago.



But from there on it was nearly 10 miles of hardly changing scenery and not a single bend. The first few miles were on tarmac...



...and the rest were on unmade byways. Rain threatened, but I managed to avoid the downpours:



I'm doing just over 12 miles each day and I stop for the night wherever I happen to be. When I set off again tomorrow I'll still be going along that dead straight line!

Seeing a trig point in this landscape was a novelty - it's at 92m. Who says Norfolk is flat?  :)



Tomorrow I should reach the sea and the Norfolk Coast Path part of the trail. Hooray!

Bigfoot_Mike

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Well done for avoiding the rain. I swear the track by the trig point is not dead straight. There appears to be a slight deviation. Your walks must be some of the most interesting treadmill sessions there have been.

rural roamer

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This is our nearest National Trail living in Suffolk. We have never walked it -saving it for when we cant do hills any more! We have walked around Thetford Forest and have also done a walk at Castle Acre which we have enjoyed. I always thought the coastal path would be more interesting than the Peddars way.  We have also done some of the coast path around Sheringham as we often head up that way for an overnight stay.

WhitstableDave

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...
I swear the track by the trig point is not dead straight. There appears to be a slight deviation...

This is a slightly earlier view of the trig point location. It made me smile:



Peddars Way continues straight ahead along the track (albeit with a slight wobble), while the road bends ever-so-gently to the right, which requires a sign warning of a 'Sharp deviation of route to the right'!   :)

WhitstableDave

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Day 4 of my treadmill trek along the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path (PWNCP) and I've finished the PW bit - just the NCP to go!

As with Days 1, 2 and 3, the way was mostly straight and, to be honest, not very exciting. Thankfully though, I had less than 10 miles of straightness before I reached the coast - and a complete change of scenery!  :)



The PW passed through a couple of very attractive villages, but for most of the time the view looked very like the image below. The way wasn't just straight, but it was very flat too. The total elevation gain for the whole of the first 10 miles was only 66ft!



The sea at last!  :)



Unless I got the last bit completely wrong, there's a strange quirk where the PW becomes the NCP. At the coast, I turned west and went the 'wrong way' for the 2 miles to Hunstanton and the start of the Norfolk Coast Path. I found the sign for the NCP by a memorial as advertised, but tomorrow I have to go east - retracing my steps for 2 miles. I don't really mind because it was good to see Hunstanton - and a very nice town it looks too - but it rather suggests the joining of the two paths to create a national trail was contrived. Oh well, I'll try to find a slightly different way out of Hunstanton.



I'm looking forward to doing some tortuous coastal walking!

WhitstableDave

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Day 5 of my Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path virtual walk began at the start of the Norfolk Coast Path section in Hunstanton. After 4 days of the Peddars Way, which is very straight, very flat, and very samey, I was hoping for something a little more varied. I wasn't disappointed - the landscape might still be flat, but today's walk was much more interesting and the time passed quickly because there was always something new to see ahead.



Leaving Hunstanton on a path going past the Old Lighthouse:



Typical of the scenery for the next 5 miles: a path (sometimes boarded) across the sand dunes on what I assume is a sea wall. To the left were sandy beaches and salt marshes. I passed a good many people out for a stroll or bird-watching along here.



The path turned inland for about 3 miles, presumably following the ancient coastline. A pleasant bit of field-walking...



This is Brancaster. Despite being on a coast path and passing a sign to the beach, I only caught an occasional glimpse of the sea all morning.



The final couple of miles were spent almost entirely walking on a narrow boardwalk alongside the marshes.



I'm looking forward to seeing more of this coastline!  :)

WhitstableDave

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Day 6 of my treadmill trek along the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path has taken me well past the halfway point, with about 73 of the 130 miles completed, and I'm loving the NCP part!   :) 



I set off from Burnham Deepdale along an 'A' road, albeit a very quiet one, because the Street View cameraperson didn't follow the NCP along the coast at this point. Perhaps the tide was too high? It didn't matter much though because it wasn't too long before I was heading back to the coast - passing a picturesque mill on the way:



Past Burnham Overy Staithe (great name!), the path continued along the top of a sea wall as it headed towards sand dunes...



...and then I was on the most amazing beach I've seen since the Outer Hebrides. So, the best beach I've seen in England then! It went on for much further than the mile or so I was on it. Wow:



I left the beach and headed towards Wells-next-the-Sea and was surprised by how pleasant the way was. There were lots of people around - most with dogs - and, unsurprisingly, I passed a huge car park further on. Wells-next-the Sea looked very nice, although I thought it should be called Wells-next-the-Creek because the actual sea looked a long way off!



And as soon as I'd passed through Wells, I was back on the coastal trail with farmland to my right and marshes to my left.  :)


rural roamer

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That beach must be Holkham. I doubt if its often that empty! Tomorrow look out for the seals at Blakeney  O0

Mel

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Just catching up.  Glad to see you've got nice weather for this walk so far  :)
I'm tired of people bein' ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. - John Coffey, The Green Mile