The Weavers’ Way showcases the wonderfully-diverse scenery of Norfolk. From golden coastline to gentle farmland, serene woodlands to country estates, and the untold delights of the Broads National Park, there is always something to inspire you on this trail.
Starting from Cromer, on the north Norfolk coast, the Way makes a 61-mile (98 km) inland journey through the county to finish in the traditional seaside town of Great Yarmouth, on the east Norfolk coastline.
Taking you along rivers, canals, and former railway lines, the Way explores an ever-changing landscape scattered with pretty windmills, picturesque flint churches, sleepy villages, and lakes and dykes that are teeming with wildlife.
Some highlights along the way include: Felbrigg Estate, a glorious Jacobean parkland; Blickling Estate, a breathtaking county park in the Bure Meadows; Hickling Broad, the largest broad and a year-round haven for wildlife; Thurne Mill, one of the last working windmills in England; Breydon Water, a marshy expanse with many rare bird species; and Great Yarmouth, a bustling seaside destination famous for its ‘Golden Mile’ beach.
As you make your way through the Broads National Park, prepare to be awestruck by the beauty and the abundance of wildlife, especially birds. The broads were formed when depressions left by peat digging in the medieval period flooded. The result is a landscape of marsh and reed that is perfect for many rare and common species.
With almost no hills to mention on the entire trail, the Weavers’ Way affords very gentle walking that is suitable for all abilities and anyone with average fitness. The area is fairly well-served by accommodation, too, which makes it easy to tailor the itinerary to your needs, using the multi-day plan option.
In this Collection, I split the route into five stages, all averaging 13.5 miles (21.7 km). As stage 3 is significantly longer than this, though, especially as you have to hike onto accommodation, I have given some advice on how to split/shorten the route.
At both ends of the route you find good public transport links, including train stations in both Cromer and Great Yarmouth, making it easy to get there and home.
This first stage leads you from the golden coastline at Cromer Pier into a glorious Jacobean country estate.With minimal uphill or downhill, the 11.8 miles (19 km) on this hike should feel leisurely enough, which allows time to explore.From the Grade II-listed pier, the trail climbs gently to the Cromer Ridge and into Felbrigg Park. Here, it is worth visiting the medieval St Margaret's Church and Felbrigg Hall, a stunning 17th-century manor house.You leave the parkland after Felbrigg Pond and continue past Lower Gresham, through Sustead, and over Hanworth Common to Aldborough.The trail continues through large arable fields separated by hedgerows and small woodlands to finish in the village of Erpingham.There are a couple of places to stay and a pub that serves food in Erpingham, as well as other accommodation options nearby.
Unique buildings combine with spectacular Norfolk countryside on this hike, which explores the glorious Blickling Estate.Whilst 14 miles (22.5 km) is fairly challenging, the amount of uphill and downhill is minimal, as per the entire trail, so might be easier than you anticipate.From Erpingham, the Way heads through farmland, crosses the River Bure and continues into Blickling Estate.Whilst here, it is worth a quick detour to take in the sights, including: the Mausoleum, a striking pyramid built in 1793; the Tower, a luxurious racecourse stand built in 1773; and Blickling Hall, a striking Jacobean mansion at the heart of the parkland. You leave the estate, walk through fields and skirt the northern edge of Aylsham, a historic town with plenty to tempt should you fancy refreshment.The trail crosses the River Bure for a second time and then follows a dismantled railway line to North Walsham, where this stage finishes.
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This stage takes you to Hickling Broad, a year-round haven for wildlife and the largest of all Norfolk’s broads.Despite level and downhill walking for the entire stage, 15.8 miles (25.4 km) is a considerable distance and a good level of fitness is required, especially as you need to hike onto accommodation.From North Walsham, you follow quiet lanes to Meeting House Hill, continue past the former railway station, walk underneath the iron bridge and then cross the now-disused North Walsham and Dilham Canal.The trail heads alongside Honing Common and through farmland into Stalham. It is then a short step to the village of Hickling. You teeter on the boundary of the Broads National Park for a short while before fully stepping in at the spellbinding sight of Hickling Broad, the largest expanse of reedbed in England and a great place for spotting wildlife at any time of year.
This riverside hike takes you to one of the last working windmills in England and affords classic Broads scenery.With 12 miles (19.3 km) of distance and almost no ascent or descent to mention, this should be an easy hike, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the national park. From Heigham Sound, you hike along the waterside to the River Thurne and follow it southwest. Before you reach the village of Thurne you arrive at Thurne Mill, a Norfolk landmark for 200 years and one of the last working windmills in England.The trail rejoins the river via South Oby Dyke and follows it to Acle Dyke, which you take into the village. Once in Acle, it is worth making a quick loop of the historic market town and paying a visit to nearby St Mary's Church, in Fishley, which has a pioneering 12th-century round tower.
The final stage takes you through the heart of the Broads to finish on Norfolk’s golden coastline. With 13.4 miles (21.6 km) of distance, this is a fairly challenging hike. There is no uphill or downhill to contend with, however.From Acle, the route crosses Damgate Marshes to the village of Tunstall and then Halvergate a short step later.You hike over Halvergate Marshes to Berney Arms Windmill and then follow the River Yare as it flows into Breydon Water, a glorious place where many rare birds flourish.The trail hugs the northern edge of Breydon Water, fully immersing you into the landscape, and then drops into the seaside town of Great Yarmouth.On your way to the finish line, it is worth making a very tiny detour to see Great Yarmouth Minster, which was founded in 1101 and is the third largest parish church in England.