Peddars Way is a well-known and popular walk in Norfolk. But be prepared, folks; It’s a very long walk!
It is considered to be the route of an old Roman road, and the official route runs from Knettishall in Suffolk all the way up to Holme-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast. Or vice-versa!
Okay – first, the really honest bit. I did this walk a few years ago and to be honest I can’t remember all the glorious details. I remember the blisters. Boy, do I remember the blisters! Nonetheless, I will do my best to recount as much as I can…
Our itinerary was as follows:-
- Day One
- Start from Holme Next the Sea at 9am
- Walk 25 Miles to Swaffham (go through or near places including Ringstead, Sedgeford, Fring, Amner, Little Massingham, Great Massingham, Castle Acre, South Acre, Great Palgrave)
- Drink/Eat/General Merriment/Sleep
- Day Two
- Start from Swaffham @ 9am
- Walking 21.3 Miles to Knettishall (go through or near places including North Pickenham, South Pickenham, Little Cressingham, Merton, Tottington (deserted village), Thompson, Stonebridge)
- Drink/Eat/General Merriment/Sleep
Pretty straight-forward, right? Especially as Norfolk is flat, right? Wrong! Norfolk isn’t exactly mountainous terrain, but the common perception that Norfolk is completely flat is wrong.
We started off in fine form at Holme next the Sea (at the sign on the photo above), everyone in good spirits, believing this to be a nice stroll in the country. A lot of the walk was done along paths that run alongside fields, country lanes, through villages, past quite a few cows etc.
We were lucky that we had a couple of nice hot days – cunningly I bought a couple of baseball caps so I could swap them when they got too sweaty! A couple of other items were essential for the walk – high factors sun-tan lotion, and lots and lots of water. We were fortunate to have a refuelling team to meet us at certain spots to fill up our water bottles and give us encouragement.
The warm weather meant the ground was dry under-foot, which was probably a good thing as there was no muddy patches to avoid. However, dry ground means hard ground under foot, and for a long walk like this meant a bit of extra stress and strain on the feet and joints.
The first day was a longer walk, and towards the end swinging my legs forward was a real effort. Reaching McDonalds at Swaffham was such a relief. I felt so hungry and thirsty, yet perversely it was hard to muster the energy to eat!
Day one was hard. Day two was harder! I recall finding it a real struggle to get my self up and motivated to go again. Buy, with blister freshly drained and back-pack re-stocked with snacks and drink I re-joined my fellow walkers and we set off again. Somehow we made it through the second day’s walk, though a few heroic walkers could no longer march on; weary limbs and blisters getting the better of them. But we were all together at the end and boy did the victory beer taste good!
Although the walk is extremely picturesque I didn’t take many pictures because a) I was too focused on putting one foot in front of the other b) I forgot to bring a camera c) my phone ran out of power and I didn’t have the opportunity to recharge. When I revisit some parts of the walk I’ll snap some more pictures.
Below: Rolling green fields in the North Norfolk countryside.
Above: Waking and talking!
Below: Bailey Gate at Castle Acre
Above: The Priory – Castle Acre
Below: Castle Acre ford
Above:Getting towards the finishing line, and a well deserved pint!
Berlow: Mega-blister – not my feet I hasten to add! This walker learnt her lesson – don’t embark on a long walk without the proper footwear!
This is not a walk for the faint-hearted. You really need to be capable of walking a long-distance walk and to make sure you’re prepared, have the right equipment and take care of yourselves. A couple of the guys on our walk didn’t take on enough fluids during the first day and ended up in hospital with dehydration!
Nonetheless, the Peddars Way is a wonderful and rewarding walk and a great way to see some parts of Norfolk.
FACILITIES – This is a tough one. Given the length of the walk planning is of paramount importance. work out where you park, can go to the loo, get food and drink, and even sleep well in advance of taking on this walk.
DOGS – Some dogs would probably enjoy this walk, but only if they’re used to walk long long distances. They should be on leads as you’ll be walking over private land (possibly where animals may be), and near roads.
SAFETY – The ground can be uneven in parts, so watch where you’re walking. Paths cross busy roads, so take care crossing.
WHEELCHAIRS – Due to the uneven nature of some parts of the walk we don’t this would be suitable. However, some sections may be okay, so we suggest carrying out a bit of research.
CLOBBER – Massively important to get this right. You’ll be walking over a mix of surfaces – I felt the worst bit was walking down lanes with loose gravel on uneven surfaces, which resulted in some serious blisters. In our group of walkers there was mixed results with choice of footwear; Pretty much everyone got blisters but the severity varied and this was the same for both walking boot and trainer wearers.
DISTANCE – 46 (forty-six) miles.
ANYTHING ELSE – We cannot stress enough about planning. Make sure you pack a ruck sack with all the essentials, including plasters (especially the blister variety!), water, drink, sunglasses, hat, layers of clothing, snacks, toiletries (especially sun lotion on a sunny day). Might also be a good idea to have the What3Words App on your phone too.
Where to Next?
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