Our Guide to Walking Trails in Norfolk
Norfolk is perfect for walking all year round, not only because of the spectacular variety of scenery and the gently rolling landscape, but this is also the county known as “the land of the big skies” – the amazing light that gives a walker that immense feeling of being at one with the world.
Whether it is down quiet country lanes, along the golden beaches and the spectacular coastal paths, walking beside tranquil water or the quaint cobbled streets of medieval Norwich, there is something for all ages and abilities – there’s even ghost walks!
We’ve selected a few of our local favourites for you to enjoy.
Blickling Estate – The Lake Walk
About 1.8 miles – 1 hour
Mentioned in the Domesday book and now managed by the National Trust, the estate was the birthplace of Anne Boleyn and has a stunning house in a spectacular setting, a lake, mausoleum, gardens, stamp shop, second hand book shop and plant sales.
There are a variety of walks of different lengths well sign posted from the main car park which you can add on and if you want to make a full day of it, there are also 3 eateries and a pub on site – as well as a chance to see the conservation teams at work in the house. Even better – it is open every day all year round.
BITTERN LINE RAILWAY RAMBLE
About 6 miles – 3 hours
This is ideal as you can start directly from our cottages instead of the suggested point in Wroxham. It is a really peaceful walk down quiet lanes, runs alongside the Bure Valley Railway (you can wave at the passengers on the steam trains going past every now and then) and then weaves its way through countryside, passing quaint cottages to Coltishall village – thought to be the birthplace of the wherry sailing boat.
Here at the big open space of the green by the riverside, you can take a break and enjoy a pub lunch or an ice cream from the little van before winding your way back to the cottages.
HAPPISBURGH – THE COAST PATH
From 1 mile upwards – 30 minutes upwards
This is a lovely coastal walk where you really take in the fabulous views and big open skies where the land meets the sea. Starting at the iconic Happisburgh Lighthouse (check for opening times as it has the most spectacular views from top) you can add sections on depending how much you wish to walk – and we’ve suggested refreshment stops at each point.
Carry on to Cart Gap (Smallsticks Cafe), Waxham (Waxham Barn Cafe) and then on to Horsey where in the winter you can see the seal pups on the beach.
This is a real favourite of ours all year round, walking through the beautiful National Trust grounds designed by Humphrey Repton. There are lots of colour coded routes of varying lengths, but we like this the most because of changing scenery. We also adapt the route a bit to have tea and cake at Weybourne Station on the “Poppyline” (North Norfolk Railway) and wait for a steam train to come through. It is particularly spectacular in May/June when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in full bloom – and well worth the climb to the top of the gazebo to see the amazing views over the coast to Blakeney Point. There’s also a cafe, toilets, shop, and plant sales at the starting point and a fun area for kids to let their imaginations run riot and create their own den from wood provided.
About 3 miles – 1.5 hours
The medieval city of Norwich is just packed with history at every turn and there is no better way to see it at its best than by walking. It is a very compact city (second in size to London at one time) which means you can see so much in such a short distance – from the cobbled streets of The Lanes, the riverside, 900 year old cathedral, to the vibrant market stalls and so much more. There are of course endless places to eat and drink (and shop) – and there is something for all ages and abilities.
BURE VALLEY PATH
About 9 miles – 4.5 hours
Another favourite of ours – walking directly from the cottages to take a shortcut to join this peaceful path alongside the narrow gauge Bure Valley Railway line from Wroxham to Aylsham. It passes through a beautiful Broadland river valley, picturesque villages and the historic RAF Coltishall airfield.
Aylsham is a pretty market town with more walks of its own and a great pub The Black Boys. If you feel too tired to walk back, you can always let the train take the strain on the return journey.
BROADS WALK HOW HILL TO ST. BENET’S ABBEY
About 7 miles – 3.5 hours
This is a lovely walk in a classic Broads area starting at How Hill Nature Reserve, along the tranquil riverside to the historic site of St. Benet’s Abbey, the remains of the only monastic site in England not closed by Henry VIII.
There’s a lot to see on the way including landmark drainage windmills, a marshman’s museum, swallowtail butterflies, bitterns, traditional sailing boats including wherries – and you can even take a boat trip on the Electric Eel. Every season also gives stunning shots for photographers.
THE PASTON WAY, PASTON TO NORTH WALSHAM
The 22 mile Paston Way passes through the famous Poppyland area of north east Norfolk, taking in medieval churches, pretty villages, rolling farmland, disused railways and beach walks.
Passionate walkers may want to do the whole trail, but this is just one of 4 sections of the route and there are many more circular and linear routes to chose from – many of which link in with other Norfolk Trails.
GUIDED WALKS – If you prefer walks with a knowledgeable local guide – and many of them are open to walkers all year round, then check here to see which ones are happening during your stay.
THE Norfolk Trials Network
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