National Trails Archives

The Norfolk Coast Path- Day One

Norfolk Coast PathMy Peddars Way adventure ended with me ensconced in the Bed and Breakfast in Hunstanton, contemplating the rather ruinous state of my feet and my swollen ankle…

My next challenge was the 47 mile Norfolk Coast path, which I had decided on walking in just two days… but after slogging it along the Peddars Way for the past three days, with constantly wet feet rubbing blisters and twisting my ankle for good measure, the future of the walk was in serious doubt. I had decided to concentrate on getting a good night’s sleep and dealing with tomorrow as it comes…

The next morning I reinforced the compeed dressing covering my blisters with zinc oxide tape and headed down for a hearty breakfast. I was joined by a couple who told me that this was their fourth visit to the Bed and Breakfast; their first coincided with a hotel inspector’s visit, and they were rather perturbed when he pulled out a metal probe and proceeded to check the temperature of his breakfast sausage!

The owners had kindly dried my shoes for me, and as my comfy socks were still wet I had to put on a pair of the new ones, hoping that the dressing would keep them from rubbing too much. As I took my first tentative steps, the blisters and the ankle didn’t feel too bad, and looking at the sky I hoped I was going to be able to keep my feet dry today!

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The Peddars Way- Day Three

Peddars WayToday was to be the final day of my Peddars Way adventure. However there was no time for celebrating as my ankle was quite sore and swollen after yesterday’s stupid slip. I really thought I may have blown my chances of finishing but set to with my usual hearty  appetite at breakfast, listening to the rather depressing sound of the rain pattering on the conservatory roof.

The landlady informed me that the heavy showers were due to give way to lighter showers, and her husband cheerfully added that the jetstream was due to move at the weekend, giving sunny weather next week, which didn’t really lighten my mood any.

I set off into the grey gloom, which quickly gave way to showers. Mercifully my ankle wasn’t too bad when I started to walk on it, and I had dressed my blisters, so I felt slightly more hopeful and just decided to take it slowly. The first thing of any interest I passed was a dead snake on the road which looked as though it may have been an adder.

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Peddars WayI was quite excited about packing for this adventure as it was my first taste of independent long distance walking! So- what did I take for a plod along the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path…

Rucksack
I decided to use my trusty old battered Raidlight pack- mainly because it’s the only one I own! I was going to use a bum bag but like all my kit mine is fairly old and has a tendency to loosen every few minutes, needing constant tugs on the belt to tighten it, which gets very annoying very fast.

Camera
I am a bit of a camera buff and like to take my bulky DSLR. I reasoned that at least I could shove some stuff in the large camera bag.

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The Peddars Way- Day Two

Day Two- Little Cressingham to Castle Acre- 12.5 miles;

Peddars WayAfter a suitably huge breakfast as befits an intrepid endurance plodder I set off into grey cloud and the promise of drizzle. I wasn’t too worried though as I thought that today would be the shortest and easiest day of my Peddars Way adventure. Well, suffice to say I was wrong… instead it turned out to be the greatest threat to the whole adventure!

If yesterday was dominated by forest walking, then today was all about road walking. I must admit that this first part of the Peddars Way isn’t as interesting as the latter stages, and I probably wouldn’t choose to walk it again.

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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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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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