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20 routes in Norfolk & Suffolk

Anna Paxton


20 routes in Norfolk & Suffolk

Anna Paxton


20 routes in Norfolk & Suffolk First published in 2021 by Vertebrate Publishing. Vertebrate Publishing, Omega Court, 352 Cemetery Road, Sheffield S11 8FT, United Kingdom. www.v-publishing.co.uk Copyright © 2021 Anna Paxton and Vertebrate Publishing Ltd. Anna Paxton has asserted her rights under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as author of this work. A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 978-1-83981-011-4 All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright herein may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means — graphic, electronic, or mechanised, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems – without the written permission of the publisher. Front cover: Clifftop views on the Norfolk Coast Path approaching Sheringham (route 4). Back cover: Boats navigating the tidal mudflats on the River Orwell (route 16). Photography by Anna Paxton unless otherwise credited. All maps reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. © Crown Copyright. 100025218 Design by Nathan Ryder, production by Cameron Bonser. www.v-publishing.co.uk Printed and bound in China by 1010 Printing International Limited. Vertebrate Publishing is committed to printing on paper from sustainable sources.

Every effort has been made to achieve accuracy of the information in this guidebook. The authors, publishers and copyright owners can take no responsibility for: loss or injury (including fatal) to persons; loss or damage to property or equipment; trespass, irresponsible behaviour or any other mishap that may be suffered as a result of following the route descriptions or advice offered in this guidebook. The inclusion of a track or path as part of a route, or otherwise recommended, in this guidebook does not guarantee that the track or path will remain a right of way. If conflict with landowners arises we advise that you act politely and leave by the shortest route available. If the matter needs to be taken further then please take it up with the relevant authority.


Contents Introduction ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� vi Acknowledgements �������������������������������������������������������������� viii About the walks ������������������������������������������������������������������������ viii Navigation ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ix Safety ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ix

The Countryside Code ������������������������������������������������������������� x How to use this book ������������������������������������������������������ xiii Maps, descriptions, distances ��������������������������� xiv Km/mile conversion chart ���������������������������������������� xiv East Anglia Area Map ����������������������������������������������������� xvi

SECTION 1 – NORTH NORFOLK COAST 1 2 3 4 5

Hunstanton Cliffs to Titchwell Marsh – 11.3km/7miles ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 5 Holkham Beach & Burnham Overy – 17.4km/10.8miles ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 11 Blakeney Point – 11.6km/7.2miles ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 17 Cromer Ridge & Sheringham Cliffs* – 22.4km/13.9miles ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 21 Mundesley to Overstrand Beach & Cliffs – 13.2km/8.2miles ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 27

SECTION 2 – THE BROADS 6 7 8 9 10 11

Blickling Estate & the Weavers’ Way – 12.5km/7.8miles �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 35 Horsey Gap, Windmills & Seals – 14.5km/9miles ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 39 Wroxham & the Bure Valley Railway – 20km/12.4miles ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 45 Upton Broad & Marshes – 12.4km/7.7miles �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 51 Norwich Riverside & Whitlingham Country Park – 13.9km/8.6miles ���������������������������������������������������������� 57 Bungay Castle & the River Waveney – 9.2km/5.7miles ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 61

SECTION 3 – SUFFOLK COAST & HEATHS 12 13 14 15 16

Walberswick to Southwold via the Sandlings Walk – 17.9km/11.1miles ���������������������������������������������� 69 Dunwich & Westleton Heaths – 13.6km/8.5miles �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 75 Aldeburgh & Thorpeness – 12.9km/8miles ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 81 Orford – 11.3km/7miles ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 87 River Orwell & the Shotley Peninsula – 16.9km/10.5miles �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 91

SECTION 4 – THETFORD FOREST & THE BRECKS 17 18 19 20

Castle Acre & West Acre – 13.1km/8.1miles ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 101 The King’s Forest & West Stow Country Park – 12.6km/7.8miles ����������������������������������������������������������������� 107 Pingo Trail – 11.5km/7.1miles ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 111 Little Ouse Valley & Thetford Forest – 18.5km/11.5miles �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 117

APPENDIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 *Shortcut available

CONTENTS

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Introduction

The East Anglian landscape is shaped by water. Inland, rivers meander gently through flatlands to the coast. Cliffs are washed away in nights of fleeting stormy violence while, through a slow process of accumulation, tidal flats form and are reclaimed. The routes in this book are concentrated in the historic counties of Norfolk and Suffolk on the east coast of England. Navigating wetlands, woodland and heath, and clifftops above beaches of sand and shingle, the walks focus on the waterways of the Broads National Park, designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the North Norfolk Coast and Suffolk Coast and Heaths, and Thetford Forest, the largest lowland forest in the UK. Along the North Norfolk Coast, from Hunstanton to Cromer, stretches of dramatic coastal erosion bear witness to the power of the sea, as does the shifting shingle spit of Blakeney Point. Salt marshes, sand dunes and tidal flats form havens for nature at Holkham Bay and Titchwell Marsh, their unspoiled beaches connecting some of Norfolk’s most popular seaside towns. Further inland the rivers Bure, Yare and Waveney wind their way through the fens and wet woodlands of the Broads. Routes here combine ancient woodland, waterways and windpumps with the remains of medieval priories, castles and commons in the historic market towns of Norwich and Bungay. Horsey Beach is a highlight of this area, where seals from the UK’s largest seal colony create a spectacle as they bask on the beach with their pups. With perfect sandy trails, the Suffolk Coast and Heaths are a delight: the heathland of Dunwich and Westleton is a mixture of birch trees, gorse and heather. On the coast, the towns of Aldeburgh and Thorpeness are full of Suffolk character. No visit to East Anglia would be complete without getting on the water, and the foot ferry between Walberswick and Southwold provides the perfect opportunity. East Anglia is intersected by long-distance trails. As well as the Norfolk Coast Path and Suffolk Coast Path, there is the Angles Way, Weavers’ Way and Sandlings Walk. The walks in this book incorporate highlights of those longer routes, including the Icknield Way as it cuts through Thetford Forest. The Pingo Trail is truly unique, with geographical features that can only be seen in The Brecks. vi

DAY WALKS IN EAST ANGLIA


Whichever walk you choose I hope that each route communicates something about the character or history of the area. Make a day of it – take time along the way to explore medieval ruins, choose a wild swim spot, sit in a bird hide and watch the comings and goings, or enjoy a brew with a view.

Anna Paxton

KITE SURFERS AT OLD HUNSTANTON

INTRODUCTION

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1 2 3 4 5

Hunstanton Cliffs to Titchwell Marsh ���������������������������� 5 Holkham Beach & Burnham Overy ���������������������������������� 11 Blakeney Point ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 17 Cromer Ridge & Sheringham Cliffs ������������������������������� 21 Mundesley to Overstrand Beach & Cliffs ��������������� 27

6 7 8 9

Blickling Estate & the Weavers’ Way ��������������������������� Horsey Gap, Windmills & Seals ������������������������������������������� Wroxham & the Bure Valley Railway ������������������������� Upton Broad & Marshes ��������������������������������������������������������������� Norwich Riverside & Whitlingham Country Park ��� Bungay Castle & the River Waveney ���������������������������

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

35 39 45 51 57 61

Walberswick to Southwold via the Sandlings Walk ������������������������������������������������������������������� 69 Dunwich & Westleton Heaths������������������������������������������������� 75 Aldeburgh & Thorpeness ��������������������������������������������������������������������� 81 Orford ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 87 River Orwell & the Shotley Peninsula �������������������������� 91 Castle Acre & West Acre ������������������������������������������������������������ 101 The King’s Forest & West Stow Country Park ���������� 107 Pingo Trail ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 111 Little Ouse Valley & Thetford Forest �������������������������� 117

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DAY WALKS IN EAST ANGLIA


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1

3 4 5 6

7

8 17

9 10

19 11 20

12 18 13

14 15

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CONTAINS ORDNANCE SURVEY DATA © CROWN COPYRIGHT AND DATABASE RIGHT.

Area Map & Route Finder AREA MAP & ROUTE FINDER

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1

SECTION

North Norfolk Coast

The North Norfolk Coast consists of crumbling cliffs, shifting shingle spits and vast expanses of sand. Although peaceful, the area certainly isn’t deserted. Its coastal nature reserves connect traditional seaside towns and are home to colonies of seals and multitudes of migrating birds that change with the seasons.


CLIFFTOP PATHS HEADING TOWARDS SHERINGHAM

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THE DUNES AT HOLKHAM NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE


DAY WALKS IN EAST ANGLIA – SECTION 1

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THE WRECK OF THE SHERATON BENEATH HUNSTANTON CLIFFS


01 Hunstanton Cliffs to Titchwell Marsh

11.3km/7miles

A linear route following the Norfolk Coast Path from Hunstanton’s dramatic crumbling cliffs, past a shipwreck, then through bird hides in the Holme Dunes and Titchwell Marsh nature reserves. Hunstanton » Cliffs and Beach » Old Hunstanton » Holme next the Sea » Holme Dunes Nature Reserve » Thornham » Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve » Coasthopper bus » Hunstanton

Start

Southend car park, Hunstanton (parking charge). GR: TF 672407.

The Walk

Our route takes us along a stunning stretch of the Norfolk Coast Path, with points of geological, historical and ecological interest. From the popular seaside town of Hunstanton, we explore the beach with its distinctive red-and-white striped cliffs. As rugged cliffs give way to reedbeds, saltmarsh and freshwater lagoons, we continue on to reach our destination at RSPB Titchwell Marsh. A short bus ride returns us to Hunstanton. The cliffs of Hunstanton were formed by an unusual combination of iron-stained sandstone and chalk. Be aware that the sea comes in all the way to the cliffs at high tide, so check before leaving that the tide will be out (there is an alternative route on top of the cliffs if the tide is in). Allow time to explore rock pools on the beach and search for fossils ejected from the chalky

layer of the cliff. The remains of the Sheraton can be found on the beach – the Sheraton was a trawler dating from the early 1900s that was used as a military target hulk and wrecked in 1947. Our route continues through Holme Dunes, where there is a visitor centre, cafe and beach, as well as the separate Holme Bird Observatory where visitors can use the bird hides for a small fee. Holme Dunes is the site of Seahenge, a Bronze Age timber circle which was uncovered by strong tides in 1998. We finish our walk at Titchwell Marsh, temporary home to thousands of migrating birds throughout the year. One of the RSPB’s most popular reserves, there is a wide sandy beach to explore, as well as a cafe and visitor centre. The Coasthopper bus stop is immediately opposite, and the ride back to Hunstanton takes around 25 minutes.

HUNSTANTON CLIFFS TO TITCHWELL MARSH DISTANCE: 11.3KM/7MILES »  TOTAL ASCENT: 63M/207FT »  START GR: TF 672407 »  TIME: ALLOW 3 HOURS (PLUS EXTRA TO EXPLORE RSPB TITCHWELL MARSH)  »  SATNAV: PE36 5AR  »  MAP: OS EXPLORER 250, NORFOLK COAST WEST, 1:25,000 REFRESHMENTS: THE ORANGE TREE INN, THORNHAM; RSPB TITCHWELL MARSH VISITOR CENTRE CAFE, TITCHWELL NAVIGATION: STRAIGHTFORWARD.

01 Hunstanton Cliffs to Titchwell Marsh – North Norfolk Coast

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 unstanton Cliffs to Directions – H Titchwell Marsh From Southend car park turn right while facing the seafront and leave the car park to walk along the esplanade, which leads to a green and amusement arcade. After the amusements, bear left and continue along the North Promenade past Hunstanton Sailing Club. At the end of the promenade go down a set of stone steps which lead to the beach. 2  Continue straight ahead* along the beach with the red and white striped cliffs on the

right. A white lighthouse and square red-brick watchtower will come into sight, after which the cliffs get smaller and give way to sand dunes. At this point, bear right towards the dunes, then turn right up a concrete ramp. At a well-hidden wooden post with an acorn symbol, turn left and follow a sandy track through overgrown trees.

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*Or, if the tide is in, stay on the path above the cliffs which will rejoin this route at 3.

DAY WALKS IN EAST ANGLIA


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01 HUNSTANTON CLIFFS TO TITCHWELL MARSH © CROWN COPYRIGHT AND/OR DATABASE RIGHT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. LICENCE NUMBER 100025218.

01 Hunstanton Cliffs to Titchwell Marsh – North Norfolk Coast

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Directions – H  unstanton Cliffs to Titchwell Marsh continued ‌ 3  Continue straight on past a series of wooden beach huts and the Ancient Mariner Inn.

Continue along the footpath, following the Norfolk Coast Path signs past Hunstanton Lifeboat Station and Old Town Beach Cafe. Continue straight on along the footpath through the dunes, next to Hunstanton Golf Club. At this point it is possible to cut up to the left to join a parallel higher path which gives a view across the wetlands to the sea. The boundary of the golf course is marked Private Property; bear right and stick to the waymarked path which leads to an information board and multiple signposts. Continue straight on following the sign for the Norfolk Coast Path along a pebbly track which leads through the fens and into Holme Dunes Nature Reserve. 4  Follow the slightly raised path straight ahead through the nature reserve as it

becomes a wooden boardwalk. Pass shingle bars and the site of Seahenge on the left, then approach woodlands directly ahead. Enter the woodlands along another wooden boardwalk, where there are signs indicating access to the beach on the left and Holme Dunes Visitor Centre (with a cafe and toilets) on the right. Take time to wander around the beach and visitor centre, then return to the signpost and continue straight ahead along the Norfolk Coast Path. 5  Continue along the path which leads up a wooden boardwalk to Holme Bird

Observatory on the right. This is a separate reserve and there is a small charge to go in and use the bird hides. After the observatory, continue along the sandy track which bears right and then left, with very flat land on both sides of the raised path. At the waterway, drop left down an embankment and on to a narrow track, then turn left off the track, following signs for the Norfolk Coast Path. Cross a small wooden bridge then turn right, and right again on to a small road which leads into the village of Thornham. Walk past the church to reach a road junction next to a bus shelter and The Orange Tree pub. 6 Turn left and walk along the road for 1.5km to reach a signpost for RSPB Titchwell Marsh. 7  After exploring RSPB Titchwell Marsh, return to Hunstanton using the regular

Coasthopper bus service. The bus stop is opposite the entrance to RSPB Titchwell Marsh and the journey takes around 25 minutes.

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DAY WALKS IN EAST ANGLIA


HOLME DUNES NATURE RESERVE

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Day Walks in East Anglia - Sample Pages  

Sample pages from our guidebook to walking in Norfolk and Suffolk, Day Walks in East Anglia, written by Anna Paxton. More info: https://www....

Day Walks in East Anglia - Sample Pages  

Sample pages from our guidebook to walking in Norfolk and Suffolk, Day Walks in East Anglia, written by Anna Paxton. More info: https://www....

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