Long Distance Paths Archives

The Peddars Way- Day One

Day One- Knettishall Heath to Little Cressingham- 14.5 miles

Peddars WayI had committed myself to walking the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trails, but it was an adventure in itself just getting to the start of the Peddars Way at Knettishall Heath. I had driven down to Mum’s caravan the day before, so I caught the Coast Hopper bus from Wells to Kings Lynn, the train from Kings Lynn via Ely to Thetford, where the excellent Suffolk Links Brecks Bus was waiting to transport me to the start. This truly is an amazing service- bookable in advance, a minibus will collect you from the station and deposit you at Knettishall Heath, all for the princely sum of £1.80.

The lady who collected me advised that this is a local community service used to take people to Day Centres etc, but like all public services it is under constant threat from Government cuts. It would be a great shame if it were lost.

Once we reached Knettishall Heath, she drove off with a cheery good luck, leaving me to have a good faff with my rucksack and to feel a little nervous and lonely… this was it- no backing out now! The start of the Peddars Way is very unassuming- a solitary finger post next to a car park in the middle of the forest marks the start of the adventure.

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The Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path- Preparation

Peddars WaySo the decision was made… in July 2012 I was going to walk the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path long distance trails– a total distance of 96 miles.

The Peddars Way follows the line of an ancient Roman road and runs from Knettishall Heath through the flat agricultural landscape of Norfolk, ending at the coast at Holme-next-the-Sea. By contrast, the Norfolk Coast Path (Henceforth to be known as NCP to save me valuable minutes of typing time… I am not an endurance typist!) is a newly created path and runs from Hunstanton to Cromer, hugging the sandy beaches, jagged cliffs and salt marshes of the Norfolk Coast. As the two paths meet at Holme-next-the-sea, they are usually walked together. Read about the Peddars Way and NCP in a little more detail in this post.

Why I Chose to Walk the Peddars Way and NCP

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The Gritstone Grind

Gritstone ChallengeCovering the whole of the Gritstone Trail in Cheshire, England, in one day is certainly no easy task. I had expected a lot of climbing but hadn’t anticipated quite how much the Trail actually ascends and descends, plus 35 miles in one day was going to be a big ask considering my current fitness levels.

The race registration was at Disley Community Centre, near Stockport, which meant a lovely 4am start Sunday morning to catch the coach from Disley at 7am which was to take us to the start at Kidsgrove Station, near Stoke-on-Trent.

Race organizer Rich had asked the council several times to open the loos at Kidsgrove Station for us and had been assured that they would be… so of course they weren’t… picture a load of well hydrated endurance nutters all desperately trying to find a private spot to answer nature’s call!!

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Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast PathThe Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trail form a 93 mile trail across Norfolk and around the Norfolk coast. The Peddars Way runs for 47 miles from Knettishall Health in Suffolk to Holme-Next-The-Sea on the Norfolk Coast, carving like a knife through the remote agricultural lands of north east Norfolk as it marches inexorably towards the sea.

The Way was one of the earliest known Roman roads to be built in Norfolk. It formed part of an extensive network of routes created following the failed revolt of the Celtic leader Boudicca, allowing the Roman army fast access to the coast as well as all areas of Britain in case of further Celtic uprisings.

Over the centuries the Peddars Way has changed from a symbol of Roman might and oppression to an important trade route for pilgrims and drovers. In fact the name ‘Peddars Way’ did not come into common use until medieval times. Most of the route of the Peddars Way can still be traced today, and in some places the raised ‘agger’ of the original Roman Road can still be seen.

As the Peddars Way joins up with the Norfolk Coast Path at Holme-Next-The-Sea, the two trails have been linked and are usually walked together.

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