The Peddars Way 

A Self-Guided Norfolk Walking Holiday

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.  

A stretch of The Peddars Way

It forms part of the Norfolk National Trail called the Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path.  Although it's one long trail (130 miles), we can be split it into two separate walks if that's what you feel you'd like to do. 

It's a complete contrast to the Norfolk Coast Path, it's an historic trail, and we can happily organise for you to just walk the Peddars Way. 

Below you'll find the options for the Peddars Way, as well as being able to read about some highlights of this fantastically peaceful and historic trail.

Walking both the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path

If you feel you would like to walk both the Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path in one go, then please click over to the page on the combined walk here.

Where does the Peddars Way start and finish?

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. 

You can read more about what you may see along the trail here.

The start

Start of the Peddars Way

The finish

The end of the Peddars Way

The Peddars Way Walking Options

Of course, if you feel 46 miles is too short a walk for you, then you have the chance to continue along the Norfolk Coast Path trail as well, most probably to Cromer, or maybe all the way to Hopton-on-Sea.  

The Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path is one of the 15 National Trails in the UK, but it can be broken down into the mileage you feel comfortable with. 

  • You might like to walk the Peddars Way one year and come back again to walk the Norfolk Coast Path another year!  We can arrange whatever fits in with your plans.

You can see the options below for walking just 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.

  • This Peddars Way long distance trail is a 46 mile historic and extremely peaceful trail that takes you on a journey through ancient woodland and historic heathland, through iconic Norfolk villages and skirting mediaeval priory ruins to finally continue along arrow straight grassy tracks all the way to the coast.

    Trail distance: 46 miles/74 km from Knettishall Heath to Holme-next-the-Sea
    Graded: easy to moderate
    Available: April to October

    Prices:
    PW1 – 4 nights, 3 days walking, – from £505 per person (based on 2 sharing)
    PW2 – 5 nights, 4 days walking – from £590 per person (based on 2 sharing)


  • Prices for these Peddars Way walks are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own as a solo traveller, or if you are walking in a group but would like a single room, then the additional single supplement of £55 per person per night applies

    Trail Code: PW1
    Trail length: 46 miles/74 km
    Trail duration: 4 night’s accommodation, 3 days walking
    Average distance: 15 miles/24.3km per day
    Prices from: £505 per person (based on 2 sharing)

    3 Day suggested itinerary

    The itineraries can always be altered to suit your needs. It’s always a good idea to have a chat before we go into detail about the walk. That way we can work out exactly what you require for your walking holiday.

    Arrival
    Arrive in Thetford and stay the night at your accommodation

    Day 1
    Walk from Thetford to Lt Cressingham (14.5 miles/23.2km)

    The first day takes you through mixed woodlands and pine forests, alongside heathland and an MOD training ground and out onto open fields and farm tracks. You may take a little detour to see an Ice Age Pingo Pond or the man-made mere of Thompson Water. It’s a chance to experience rural Mid Norfolk.

    Day 2
    Walk from Lt Cressingham to Gt Massingham (17 miles/27 km)

    Today requires a good stretch of road walking on peaceful lanes, but the countryside more than makes up for this. Bypassing the Georgian town off Swaffham, you arrive into the pretty village of Castle Acre where you can explore the medieval ruins of both the stunning Priory and the castle. Continuing on the walk, you follow the road out of Castle Acre, passing the highest point of the Peddars Way to finally arrive in the pretty village of Gt Massingham

    Day 3
    Walk from Gt Massingham to Holme (15.5 miles/25 km + 3 miles to B&B in Hunstanton)

    Passing an ancient burial ground, the walk undulates on these arrow straight tracks, sometimes enclosed by hedges, other times with a wide expanse of open countryside on either side. You’ll even pass an old gun powder store! You finish the walk on the dunes at Holme-next-the-Sea, or you’ll carry on to Hunstanton for the night.

    Book Your 3 Day Walk Here


  • Prices for these Peddars Way walks are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own as a solo traveller, or if you are walking in a group but would like a single room, then the additional single supplement of £45 per person per night applies.

    Trail Code: PW2
    Trail length: 46 miles/74 km
    Trail duration: 4 days walking, 5 night’s accommodation
    Average distance: 11 miles/17.7km per day
    Prices from: £590 per person (based on 2 sharing)

    Day 4 suggested itinerary walk

    The itineraries can always be altered to suit your needs. It’s always a good idea to have a chat before we go into detail about the walk. That way we can work out exactly what you require for your walking holiday.

    Arrival
    Arrive in Thetford and stay the night at your accommodation

    Day 1
    Walk from Thetford to Lt Cressingham (14.5 miles/23.2km)

    The first day takes you through mixed woodlands and pine forests, alongside heathland and an MOD training ground and out onto open fields and farm tracks. You may take a little detour to see an Ice Age Pingo Pond or the man-made mere of Thompson Water. It’s a chance to experience rural Mid Norfolk.

    Day 2
    Walk from Lt Cressingham to Castle Acre (11.5 miles/18.5km)

    Today requires a good stretch of road walking on peaceful lanes, but the countryside more than makes up for this. Bypassing the Georgian town off Swaffham, you arrive into the pretty village of Castle Acre where you can explore the medieval ruins of both the stunning Priory and the castle. You’ll then be transferred to your accommodation for the night.

    Day 3
    Walk from Castle Acre to Sedgeford (13.5 miles/21.5km plus 1 mile to accommodation)

    Today you have a tiny little bit more road walking until you pass the highest point of the Peddars Way! From here the walk is pretty much on tracks, with a couple of villages in between. Passing an ancient burial ground, the walk undulates on these arrow straight tracks, sometimes enclosed by hedges, other times with a wide expanse of open countryside, and probably pigs, on either side! Sedgeford is your stop today. This is a pretty flint stone village which was home to a huge archaeological dig a few years ago.

    Day 4
    Walk from Sedgeford to Holme/Hunstanton (6.5 miles/10.5 km or approx 8 miles/12.8 km)

    A much shorter walk today heading towards the coast. One village to walk through with an attractive church and houses built from the local carrstone. Finally you arrive, 46 miles later, in the middle of the dunes at the end of the Peddars Way.

    Book Your 4 Day Walk Here

  • As with all the Norfolk Walking Holiday walks, I really want you to have the best walking experience you can have, and for me that means it’s important to find decent accommodation.

    Everyone is different and everyone’s needs are different. I like to listen and to make sure that you are happy with what I am offering. In the process of booking, I may send you links of the accommodation. I respect the fact that you are on holiday and that you want the best for you.

    I have visited all of the places where you would be staying and met with the owners or managers so I know exactly what they are like. They are all extremely friendly and hospitable! Nothing is too much trouble and most of them go out of their way to give you a great stay.

    You may need to take a detour to your accommodation on this particular walk as it is a remote walk!

    It’s very helpful, when booking, to let me know if you prefer pubs to B&B’s. Most of the time it is a mixture of the two, however sometimes there isn't a choice.

  • Included:
    Bed and breakfast accommodation in either a B&B or a pub, dependent on availability and your personal preferences.
    Luggage transfer from place to place
    Taxi transfer to the start of the trail and transfer to accommodation where necessary
    Your holiday pack which includes a very detailed itinerary which includes places of interest, lunch stops and details of the accommodation providers, how to reach them etc, an excellent guidebook, and the A to Z OS booklet which maps out the path .
    Emergency contact details for me in the event of a problem.


    Excluded:
    Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks.
    Travel Insurance – please make sure you have travel insurance to cover this holiday.
    Transport for any rest days. We will be happy to book you taxis should you require.
    Travel to/from Hunstanton and to/from Cromer.
    Rest days -any costs for rest days or extra activities undertaken.

    Extras:
    Additional nights used other than on the Peddars Way walk itinerary (e.g. rest days, any additional days at the beginning or end of the walk for your own personal holiday not covered by the itinerary).
    Rest days - suggest you add on approximately £60 per person per night.
    Solo walker and single walker supplements - please add on approximately £55 per night to cover the cost of single occupancy, maps and guidebooks for one, and baggage transfers for one

  • All details about how to arrive at your B&B or pub will be in the information pack that is sent out to you prior to your walk, whether you are arriving by car or train.

    Arrival:

    By Road:
    Thetford is reached via the A11 or the A134.
    Holme-next-the-Sea and Hunstanton are situated on the West coast of Norfolk, north of Kings Lynn on the A149 coast road.

    Car parking:
    If you are driving to the start of your accommodation, please speak to us and we will check with the owners as to whether they have room or not for you to park. This isn't usually a problem in Thetford.

    By Rail:
    To/from Thetford: Thetford has a railway station served by the Southern network. Trains run to and from Cambridge/Norwich and Ely.
    To/from Holme/Hunstanton: The nearest train station to Hunstanton is King’s Lynn and served by the Great Northern network and has direct lines into and out of London Kings Cross

    By Bus:
    The National Express coaches go from London Victoria to Thetford with one change at Stansted Airport. https://www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx. The local bus service runs from King’s Lynn to Wells serviced by Lynx No 36 (https://www.lynxbus.co.uk/bus-times-fares/) and then from Wells to Cromer on Sanders bus CH4 and CH5 (https://www.sanderscoaches.com/copy-of-5-north-walsham---holt). Norfolk Green bus service No 10. And 11 also run from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton. https://www.norfolkgreen.co.uk/services

    By Air:
    The airports closest to Thetford and Holme-next-the-Sea are Norwich International Airport and London Stansted Airport.

  • If you would like to take an extra day or two as a rest day, please just let me know when you book.

    We can chat about ideas. As I live in Norfolk, I have a good idea of what there is to see and whether it’s worth visiting! It’s also a great way to see a little extra other than the walking trail! Some choose to take a rest day in the middle of the walk, others at the end or beginning.


Why walk the Peddars Way?

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.  

Wooden bridge

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.

Article on the history of the Peddars Way

The article also mentions Oxburgh Hall, an impressive Tudor stately home.  The Peddars Way doesn't pass by here, but if you were interested in seeing some stately homes on a walking holiday another time, you can come on the "Ice Age to Royalty" walking holiday.

Highlights of the Peddars Way

I made a short video which you can watch.  I thought it would be nice to point out some of the highlights of the Peddars Way, so I hope you enjoy it!

When can I walk the Peddars Way?

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.  

Blossom

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!

The Peddars Way Map

Peddars Way Map

This is a map of the Peddars Way, and you can see just how straight the path is! 

Don't forget that the Peddars Way is an official waymarked National Trail with signs popping up very reguarly.  With the "A to Z" OS booklet, an excellent guidebook and a detailed itinerary that you’ll receive in your pack, you’re ready to go!

The History of the Peddars Way

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.

Undulating straight tracks

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.

Tumuli

What you’ll see on the Peddars Way

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!  

Quiet villages and open countryside

open countryside

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. 

Castle Acre

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.

Historic monuments 

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:

  • Bronze Age tumuli, or burial mounds
  • the ruins of Castle Acre Priory which was founded in 1089 by Cluniac monks
  • the Bailey gate at Castle Acre that would have been the entrance to the village
  • Ice Age Pingo ponds if you make a slight detour
  • Sedgeford, where a huge archaeological dig took place to uncover the remains of Roman villas, gold torc and pottery which shows how important this area was

Heathland and Pingo Ponds

castleacreprioryruins

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.   

Brettenham Heath

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 are a nice little detour off the main path.

Ice Age pingo pond

MOD Training Ground

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!

Norfolk Songlines

A Norfolk songline

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 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, or you can complete the booking form.  Nothing is set in stone until we have agreed the walk together.

OR

CONTACT DETAILS:

Suzy Watson
+44 (0)7765 668188
enquiries@norfolkwalkingholidays.com

Other Long Distance Walks