The Peddars Way is a wonderfully varied 46 mile long distance walking trail in Norfolk.
It leads you from the depths of Mid Norfolk amongst pretty and tranquil woodlands and open heathland, through typical Norfolk flint stone villages, skirting an ancient priory ruin, walking under a medieval Bailey gate and on to the dead straight tracks which formed part of the Roman Road, heading towards the stunning coastal landscape of North Norfolk.
The Peddars Way forms part of the Norfolk National Trail called the Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path. Although it's one long trail (130 miles), it can be split into two separate walks if that's what you feel you'd like to do.
Above you can see the Peddars Way map and how it dissects Norfolk, and below you can see the options for walking the Peddars Way. We also have options for the combined Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path walk which you can find here.
Here we offer a varied selection of daily mileages for the Peddars Way.
I made a short video which you can watch below. I thought it would be nice to point out some of the highlights of the Peddars Way, so I hope you enjoy it!
This long distance trail starts just outside Thetford in the middle of beautiful and peaceful woodland (just on the edge of Knettishall Heath Nature Reserve) and runs North, finishing on the great expanse of sand dunes at Holme-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk Coast.
The difference in the landscape from the start to the finish is one of the things that you'll really remember, and it's what makes this walk so wonderful.
If you love peace and nature, wildlife and open rural countryside along with a bit of history, then this is a walk you’ll enjoy.
It literally takes you on an easy graded walk through a variety of landscapes starting in ancient woodland and important heathland, along open working farmland, tracks and paths that are enclosed by hedgerows and trees and through a few timeless villages until you reach the open coastal landscape of the North Norfolk Coast at the end of the walk.
There’s a really interesting article that I was asked to comment on about Norfolk, its history and in particular the Peddars Way which you can read here. I think it also sums up why you might enjoy this walk too.
As with all our long distance trails, this path can be walked at any time during the main walking season which covers Spring, Summer and Autumn.
Spring is a fantastic time when the flora and fauna are just coming into bloom; primroses on the banks, blossom in the hedgerows, wild flowers on the verges and birds chirping in the bushes.
Autumn is also another popular time to walk the Peddars Way, when the children have gone back to school and Norfolk becomes a little quieter! The woodland colours are beginning to change and the weather is usually quite good!
Any time is a good time! And if you want to walk out of the walking season, we can organise your walking holiday for you. The B&B’s and pubs don’t shut, and neither do we! It's obviously a bit muddier in the winter months though, and it obviously gets darker quicker!
This is an historic walking trail that dates back in 64AD although I think it first made it onto a map in the Elizabethan era in 1587. The path is believed to have followed an even older track called the Icknield Way (another trail that goes from Norfolk to Wiltshire), and was eventually used and modified by the Romans.
There will be times on this walk when you definitely know this is a Roman Road! Some of the tracks and pathways are so straight, your eye just follows the undulating landscape for a long, long way!
And these are the times when you’ll be able to reflect on life, listen to nature and chat away with your friends, loved ones or just be happy in your own thoughts.
It was actually named the Peddars Way in the 15th century in honour of the pilgrims who walked along here to the religious centre of Walsingham, many of them bare-footed. Pilgrims still walk along stretches of this path today.
Signs of the Ice Age and Bronze Age are also evident along this historic trail.
Pingo ponds date back to the Ice Age (and you can take a detour to see a few of these) and as you approach Amner Minque on your 3rd day, you’ll notice 3 Bronze Age tumuli which are ancient burial grounds showing up on the horizon.
This long distance trail is extremely peaceful and you really won’t come across very many people at all; that’s one thing that makes this walk an attractive option!
You’ll be walking along and amongst open countryside and arable farmland. Norfolk has a very distinct landscape, but it isn’t always flat, as many believe. There is lovely rolling wooded countryside along the path which you’ll see in many stretches of the path.
And as for villages and towns, depending on where you stay, you should only walk through 4 quiet villages along this trail. Many of the houses are built from the typical Norfolk flint stone, or, as you get close the coast, carrstone.
No walk is perfect, and in order to follow the trail and get to the coast, there is a little bit of unavoidable road walking on quiet lanes on the second day, but that soon dissipates into the peaceful tracks heading north.
As mentioned above, the Peddars Way is an historical long distance trail and this is very evident as you walk the 46 miles north to the coast.
Historical monuments and evidence of past history that you’ll find along the way are:
Emerging from the pine forests, Brettenham Heath National Nature Reserve sprawls out to the left you. This is managed by Natural England and, being an historic path, shows signs of the Ice Age in its formation of the landscape. It’s the oldest heathland in Norfolk.
Pingo ponds also date this earliest part of the walk to the Ice Age. A short stop at a bird hide for a little leg rest (!) overlooking a large man-made mere at Thompson Water, and a quick stroll around some pingo ponds is a nice little detour off the main path.
Early on in the walk the trail takes you alongside the Standford Military Training Ground. If the army are there on exercise, the red flags will be flying at entrances to their gates. You’re also made aware of the military land with enough notices along the path to deter anyone from straying!
What are Songlines, you may be asking!
These are an unusual sight along the Peddars Way. There are 5 stone “Songlines” and the idea originates from the Aboriginals. They explore the connection between the path and the landscape which is very apt along this quiet path. The inscriptions are worded as poems. They started out as temporary forms of sculpture using wire, flint mounds and other materials. Over time, these were replaced by stone, and remain as that today.
They’re easy to spot and all have inscriptions on them, some of which are a little bit difficult to read, but if you persevere, you’ll get there!
Having read all of the above, I now hope you have a very good idea of what you can experience on this wonderful Peddars Way historic walk, and how much you should enjoy it.
I think for me, it’s the peace, tranquillity and the history along much of the trail that really makes it special. I hope you might think the same once you've completed it!
You can contact me on the details below to chat about the walk that you’d like to take and we can work out exactly the walk you would like, or fill out the enquiry form. Nothing is set in stone until we have agreed the walk together.