The UEA Lake (aka UEA Broad) and Marston Marsh are both popular areas for walkers in the Norwich area, and there are other lovely small walks in this area to be enjoyed by all.
Being local we often take a short walks in and around Norwich, but we wondered whether there was a moderate length walk we could do that meant we could take enjoy some of our favourite views. So, we decided to concoct our own walk, resulting in this 8 mile trail. You might note some of the photos are at different times of the year (also, some sunny, some not so) – that’s because we have borrowed a few from some of our other walks to help give you a good visual representation of this walk.
The walk goes from the Colney Lane entrance to the UEA woods, around a small stretch of the River Yare, past the UEA Broad (also known as UEA Lake), follows the River Yare to Cringleford Bridge, then through Eaton to and around Marston Marsh before retracing your steps, with the variation of going back via the opposite side of UEA Broad. For those who want to be different, this walk could start at Cringleford Bridge or Marston Marsh and they would still be similar length walks.
Our walk starts off at the car park on Colney Lane, accessed from Round House Way, and we start the walk by traipsing through the woodland. There is a steady slope down through the woods, with a reasonably wide path for the majority of the way. It’s great to hear the snap of twigs under foot, but don’t forget to listen out for what you can hear. Okay, probably just wood-pigeons, but you might just hear something more interesting!
As we come out of the woods we join another path, and not to far ahead there are some routes off to the left. We’e taking one of these, which will lead us round to the UEA’s rugby and football pitches. Walk alongside these until you see a path and a bridge. As you can see below, you can go down the steps near the bridge to the river bank. Some people like to go for a paddle here, and further along the bank. There are a few places where this can be done, but there are reeds in the river and the depth is not always obvious.
Cross the bridge and follow the path around towards the UEA campus. There is a route through the woods (where there are nature walks and the bluebells are a nice sight in spring), or you could follow the path until it meets a roundabout and follow the road (Norfolk Road) towards the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts entrance. Whichever way you come you may see some sculptures just before you rach the Sainsbury Centre. We took the path through the woods knowing it would give us a nice view of Taitlin’s Tower along the side of the Sainsbury Centre. This is one of many sculptures in the Scuplture Park, dotted around the Sainsbury Centre and the UEA campus.
As we walk away from the Sainsbury Centre we turn to take another look at this cool building. Squint your eyes and you can imagine Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers landing on the roof!
Another look back as we get towards the end of the UEA Lake, and we can the Ziggurats look nice under the almost cloudless blue sky. you can also see the trodden paths zig-zagging over the grass with several well-followed paths between the university and around the lake.
Reaching the far side of the lake we follow the path around the lake until we reach a decision junction – continue around the lake or veer off towards Cringelford? The latter, of course!
Ok, so the next leg of the journey follows the River Yare to Cringelford Bridge, which is a short distance of approximately 1 mile alongside the meandering river. This is such a peaceful environment, and it’s pleasing just to stop alongside the river bank and observe. Swans gracefully cruise the stretch towards Cringleford Bridge, accompanied by ducks and coots.
Having reached the bridge, we bear left and walk towards the small Cringleford Bridge car park. There is a sloping driveway up to Eaton Street. Just to the right is a pedestrian crossing, so we cross over and pretty much opposite is a gate leading to our next leg of the trail. Right next to the gate is a sign about the Yare Valley so you might want to take a look at this before you enter. There’s a grassy path, leading over this bridge, below, and then ultimately around to Waitrose car park.
Just a few peaceful river shots because I like capturing reflections.
Just before we reach the car park there’s another small bridge to cross over.
There’s a path near the edge of the car park so we follow this path, which then brings us to a cut through to St Andrews Church, where we can follow a path past the church hall and on to Church Lane.From here it’s a short 0.35 mile walk along along Church Lane until the road reaches a corner, at which point Church Lane veers off from the main road and becomes a narrow lane.
Though this lane is quite quiet (the only down there is Eaton Vale Scout Centre), it is quite narrow so keep an eye out for vehicles and follow Church Lane down to the end. At the end of the line there is a railway crossing, and to the left a few steps that lead up to a path towards Marston Marshes. As you follow the path you might catch a glimpse of golfers on Eaton Golf Course through the hedgerow.
There are a couple of different paths across the field, one hugging close the river, the other angles towards Marston Lane. We took the latter, which brought us to the the Marston Lane entrance to the marshes.
This part of the walk is about a mile and follows a nice circular route, taking us down towards and alongside the River Yare and then back towards Marston Lane. There are a couple of options as you approach Marston Lane. You can either go through the gate onto Marston Lane and walk back toward Eaton or continue across the marsh and past some pollarded willows, and rejoin Marston Lane further on. Depending how wet and boggy the path across the marsh is might influence your decision on this one!
Once back on Marston Lane continue until you reach Church Lane, and then turn left, heading back towards the Eaton shopping centre. As you get towards Waitrose you may want to ponder a couple of directional options; Either walk up to the traffic lights & turn left on to Eaton Street, or go back through the church grounds, through Waitrose car park & across the field to Eaton Street. Either way is about the same distance. We took the more scenic route back.
On Eaton Street cross over at the same point you crossed earlier, and then follow the route back to the River Yare and back under the A11 underpass, below.
Continue along the outward route, heading back towards the UEA Broad once more. As you reach UEA Broad you will reach a junction to turn left or right. To be able to complete your circuit of the lake we went off to the left, enjoying some lovely scenes across the lake towards the campus.
Return leg, around the river yare side of the broad. The pathway is sandwiched between the broad and the river. There are a few spots along the path where you take a moment to look across the broad towards the UEA. Of course, the Ziggurats are central to the view from this side.
Okay, so the picture of the bridge below isn’t taken from the angle you would be approaching on this walk, but it looks better from this side.
Almost there. At this point you might be thinking, ‘was it steep walking up through the woods?’ Well, after 8 miles your legs might be convinced that it is. Anyway, we’re on the final stretch, so over bridge we go and then all we’ve got to do walk up through woods and we’re back at the car park where we started!
FACILITIES – There are some parking spaces at Colney Lane (accessed via Round House Way).
DOGS – Some parts of the walk will require dogs to be on leads, especially near wildlife (e.g. swans and ducks) and busy roads.
SAFETY – There is some uneven ground, roots in footpaths, open water (deep and shallow), roads and railway lines.
WHEELCHAIRS – There are a couple of steep parts of the walk, and a fair bit of the walk is over glass and meadows. Whilst the walk in general is flat, there is uneven ground (especially in the UEA grounds where rabbits like to dig holes) and (when it’s wet) the terrain around Cringleford Bridge and Marston Marsh can make it difficult.
CLOBBER – Nothing special needed, although in winter time or when it’s wet it can get a bit muddy, especially near the river and the marshes, which can even make the walk unachievable in anything but wellies.
DISTANCE – This whole was is approximately 8 miles
Where to Next?
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