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Norfolk’s Hidden Gravel Highway — Peddars Way

Mark Seton (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Norfolk’s Hidden Gravel Highway — Peddars Way

Mountain Biking Collection by Katherine Moore



3-5 h

/ day

88.1 mi

2,550 ft

2,600 ft

Peddars Way is a long distance hiking and cycling trail from near Thetford near the Norfolk/Suffolk border to the North Norfolk coast at Hunstanton. Mostly following ancient Roman routes, the trail has the characteristic straight trajectory that’s associated with this era.

The Peddars Way is for you if you love wildlife, history and the great British Countryside, which it has all three in spades. Explore ancient castles and ruins, look out for wildlife among glacial wetlands and coastal marshes and enjoy the expansive arable landscape that’s so typical of this county.

At 46 miles (74km) this route can be completed over several days, allowing plenty of time for exploring the rich history—not to mention great eateries—that lines the route. For keener cyclists, the whole way can be attempted in a single day, or even a there-and-back attempt! Here we propose a two to three day route, with the third day from the end of the Peddars Way in Hunstanton following lanes on National Cycle Route 1 back down South West to King’s Lynn, the nearest train station. We’ve also added a short length at the start of the Peddars Way so that you can navigate easily from Thetford Station, the best local access point to the start.

This is an off road route, which is most suited to gravel bikes. Hardtail or rigid mountain bikes are also perfectly acceptable, but it should be noted that racing-type road bikes will not be suitable for this route. It’s best ridden in the drier summer months as some trails run along field margins that can get rather wet and boggy in the rainier seasons. Remember that Norfolk is very low-lying and hence drainage is not the county’s strong point!
As the Peddars Way is very well marked and follows the same direction entirely, it is very easy to navigate, and with good accessibility to nearby towns it makes the perfect off road route for beginners. The terrain is rarely challenging, and the landscape is perhaps some of the most gentle in the UK. For perspective, the highest point on the route is at a mere 300 feet (90 meters)!

Beginning and ending at train stations, the accessibility of the Peddars Way as presented here is excellent. Either leave a vehicle at the start or finish and train back to it, or abandon the motor completely and choose public transport.

And if you want more, the Peddars Way actually forms part of an epic coast to coast long-distance route, starting on the English Channel in Lyme Regis: komoot.com/collection/960973/english-channel-to-north-sea-cycle-the-greater-ridgeway-trail

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The Peddars Way

51.1 mi

1,500 ft

1,600 ft

Last updated: November 10, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Thetford to Swaffham - Peddars Way

    38.9 mi
    8.6 mph
    1,100 ft
    925 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Start at the Southern tip of Peddars Way, the most inland point. In fact, this route starts at the closest train station at Thetford, to give you a safe route out of the Norfolk town to the official start of the trail. This first stage is the longest at 34 miles (55km), including the ride out from Thetford

    by Katherine Moore

  • Intermediate
    30.8 mi
    8.2 mph
    925 ft
    1,100 ft
    Intermediate gravel ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The second day completes Peddars Way, from the centre of the county to the North Sea at Hunstanton. Retrace your steps, or rather tyre tracks, out of Swaffham back to Peddars Way to the East. Back onto tracks and lanes, your first stop of the day should be at Castle Acre at the English Heritage site

    by Katherine Moore

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  • Intermediate
    18.4 mi
    9.9 mph
    525 ft
    600 ft
    Intermediate gravel ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Having finished the official Peddars Way trail near Hunstanton, the third day’s ride is a much shorter one at 19 miles (30km) to reach the nearest train station in King’s Lynn, seeing as Hunstanton’s train station was closed in 1969.


    Although only a short ride, there’s still plenty to do and see as you

    by Katherine Moore


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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    88.1 mi
  • Duration
    10:08 h
  • Elevation
    2,550 ft2,600 ft

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