Walked from: Peddars Way
Date: 14-16 November 2015
Distance: 46 miles
Walked with: Tracey
Weather: Mixed. Mainly dry, overcast and oddly mild
I finished walking my eighth ‘national trail’ today and my tenth long distance one – the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path.
I first walked a section of the Norfolk Coast Path back in 2005, before I’d properly gotten into walking, and walked the western half in 2008. Last month I went back with friends and re-walked the eastern half from Cromer to Wells-Next-the-Sea, and with just the 46 miles of the Peddars Way standing between me and the completion of another national trail, my walking boots were calling.
The Peddars Way, let’s make no bones about it, is easy. Largely flat, and, as it follows the route of a Roman road, predominately straight: it’s the English walking equivalent of driving through Texas. To bring home the point, there’s even, about half way along, a McDonalds, immediately adjacent to the walk (no, we didn’t go in).
We walked it in three days, crunching our way through piles of fallen leaves as we went. Our walk took us across the entire county of Norfolk (the first 10 minutes of the walk are actually in Suffolk) and much of the middle day was spend walking on quiet country lanes, or on footpaths hemmed in by hedgerows (also a problem in much of The Ridgeway), which was dull at times. But large parts of the walk had a gentle beauty about them, and the autumn colours blazed at times, despite – or perhaps because they were set off by – their grey climatic backdrop. Castle Acre, along with the impressive ruins of its old priory, was a lovely village, as was Great Massingham, where we stayed last night in the well-run and stylishly appointed Dabbling Duck pub. Ringstead appeared promising too, although sadly the Gin Trap Inn was closed when we passed through: upsetting news at the time but it did mean we ended up catching an earlier bus… which led to an earlier than and an earlier long hot soak in the bath!
Peddars Way is not the most exciting of the English long distance walking routes (except for machine gunfire from an army camp on the first day), but its largely sheltered position makes it a great pick for a late autumn or winter hike – and if carrying on to walk the rest of the trail, the first two thirds of the Norfolk Coastal Path is exveptionally pretty and offers the opportunity to explore landscape quite different from anything else I’ve seen in England.
Anyway, I took some pictures, so check them out:
Day one – Lovely woods near Knettishall Heath / Roundham Heath / Day two – Ruins of Cluniac Priory near Castle Acre / the River Nar / Trig point marking the high point of Peddars Way (92m!!!) / Day three – fields near Great Massingham / skies above Harpley Common / never ending track (near Fring, but could have been anywhere on the Way) / me – happy to have finished another walk