We moved to Norfolk about 3 years ago after having spent many years in the shadow of the Lake District. As we prepared to move from the north we knew that one of the things we would miss the most would be our frequent walking trips in the Lakes. If we had known what we know now, though, our tears would have been much briefer. Sadly, it took us 2 ½ years to figure that out.
In March this year we began exploring the trails of Norfolk in preparation for walking Wainwright’s Coast to Coast path to raise money for a beloved charity. We hadn’t really ventured onto any of the paths before this, and to be honest we really didn’t know that they existed. But we knew that we would have to get some long day treks in, and it only took a few minutes of internet searching to find out that we are absolutely perfectly placed for this. We had no idea that Norfolk was such a haven for walking, and especially for long treks. Soon after finding this gem out, though, our biggest problem became choosing which path we wanted to do when. We’ve blogged about them on our own blog at length – please feel free to stop by and have a read (4feet4scott.wordpress.com). But as an overall impression and experience, we really can’t sing the praises of walking in Norfolk enough.
We live in Norwich, meaning we have excellent public transportation links that could take us to some of the further flung trails (although it would be nice to have better links between Kings Lynn and Norwich for those of us who do not have a car). Being in south Norwich also means that we are within very close proximity to two long distance paths – the Boudicca Way and the Wherryman’s Way. For the ones we can’t just pick up from outside our front door, though, we found it remarkably easy to access them with a quick train or bus journey, be able to walk 15-20 miles, and get public transportation back to Norwich. And we know that if we’re stuck trying to find a weekend walk, a quick tweet to the people at Norfolk Trails for suggestions proves very useful.
Being used to the trails in the Lakes, where signing is a no-no, we’ve been really impressed by the ease of using trails around here where the signing is clear and easy to follow. Even lazy map readers like us can get by without getting ridiculously lost (which might not be a good thing!). We’re also impressed with how quiet some of the trails are. We know we’re not the only people out walking on the weekends, especially with the incredible weather we’ve been having. But there are so many walks to choose from that you easily find yourself in the quiet and solitude of the Broads, the coast, the fields or the woods with only one or two other human sightings a day.
There was one trek we took where we met up with the Trail Ranger for a particular stretch of the walk and he was a wealth of information about the path and the various points of interest that weren’t too far off the path. It was a friendly and welcoming experience, and that’s really the overall impression we get from the people we run across, whether they’re on the trail, in the pubs and shops or just on the streets in the villages.
We’ve hit most of the trails on offer now, and we really can’t decide on a favourite. We do know, however, that there is still plenty to explore and we’re looking forward to walking the lengths of some of them. We leave for our Coast to Coast walk later this week (sadly without Norfolk Trails tee shirts. Hint hint?), and while we’re looking forward to getting back to the hills we also know that we’ll miss the trails and the sights of Norfolk. I know this sounds a bit glowing and too good to be true, but walking in Norfolk has been a fantastic – and a fantastically supported – experience and we feel lucky to have it at our doorstep.
Becky & Robert