The Wherryman’s Way Walking Holiday

The Wherryman’s Way is a 39 mile walking trail that gives you the opportunity to discover what the Norfolk Broads is really like on foot.   

It’s one of our long distance trails that follows the River Yare from the middle of Norwich as it meanders its way peacefully through the Norfolk Broads to finish at the estuary in Gt Yarmouth.  

Wherrymans Way walking holiday trail

You’ll spend your time walking through reedbeds, alongside water meadows, marshland and a few nature reserves.  You’ll hike along the banks of the river, stop off at picturesque riverside pubs whilst taking some time to watch the boats chugging slowly along.  

Wherrymans Way pubs

You’ll see some fantastic churches and an abundance of drainage mills and windmills, amble along pretty staithes and experience the flat landscape of the Norfolk Broads and understand why it’s known for its huge skies and flat landscape! 

Thatched church at Heckingham

Here you can read a little bit more about what you can expect to see along this Norfolk walking trail.

I think you’ll find it really is a very different walk to others you may have taken. 

The history of the walk dates back to when Wherry boats were the main form of transport carrying cargo from Norwich to Gt Yarmouth and vice versa.  You can read more about the history of the path here.

Beautiful vista over the reedbeds to a derelict drainage mill

Norfolk Walking Holidays is the only walking holiday company that offers this unique walk, so this is a chance for you to take a walk that very few will have taken.

A little bit like the Peddars Way and the Weaver's Way, accommodation can be quite sparse along the trail, which also means that there are fewer people who walk this path, another great advantage!  It’s yet another peaceful Norfolk walking trail.

The Wherryman’s Way Map

As you’ll see from the map below, the trail meanders its way across Norfolk from Norwich to Gt Yarmouth taking your through the southern part of the Norfolk Broads.  The Broads is the largest protected wetland in the UK and there is one point along this trail where you have to cross the River Yare via a chain link ferry, as the alternative is a 30 mile round route skirting the wetlands! 

Wherrymans Way map

The Wherryman’s Way Walking Holiday Options

I have three options for walking the Wherryman’s Way.  

The first two options have a final day of 15 miles which for some is a little too much.  Due to availability of accommodation and the road system either side of the Broads, as well as the fact that from Reedham onwards there are no facilities, I am unable to shorten this mileage unless you are happy to have a very short 3rd day of 5.4 miles, thereby making the 4th day a manageable 9.5 miles for most walkers (you can see this option in the 4 day walk). 

On the “short” day, you could take the time to visit a lovely garden close by (usually open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays) or just take it easy and relax around the staithe in the pretty Georgian town of Loddon, either before or after your days’ walk.  It would be rather like having a rest day.  Or you could spend some time watching the world go by at Reedham Quay whilst enjoying a bite to eat from one of the pubs.

  • The Wherryman’s Way walking trail is a 39 mile path starting from the middle of Norwich and follows the River Yare closely through the Norfolk Broads as it winds its way to the estuary at Gt Yarmouth.

    Trail length: 39 miles/62.7 km
    Ease of walk: easy
    Open from: April to October

    This walk is an excellent way to see what the Norfolk Broads is really like. It gives you the chance to experience the landscape and waterways at ground level and to take in the slower pace of life that exists along this trail, as well as stopping at a few of the riverside pubs!

    Prices:
    WW01 - 2 days walking – from £400 per person (based on 2 sharing)
    WW02 - 3 days walking – from £450 per person (based on 2 sharing)
    WW03 - 4 days walking* – from £545 per person (based on 2 sharing)

    *Day 3 on this 4 day walking holiday is a short walk of 5.4 miles and would require a taxi back to the same accommodation as the night before. As it’s a short walk you could include a visit to a local garden

    Accommodation is very scarce along some of this walk (this is good news as it means the walk isn’t a crowded walk!) but it may mean you need to be a bit flexible with dates.

  • Prices are based on two people sharing a room. If you are a solo walker or would like a single room, please add on an additional £40 per person per night.

    Trail Code: WW01
    Trail length: 39 miles/62.7 km
    Trail duration: 3 night’s accommodation, 2 days walking
    Miles: Day 1 - 24 miles/38 km, Day 2 - 15 miles/24 km
    Prices from: £400 per person based on 2 sharing

    2 Day walk suggested itinerary

    Arrival
    Arrive and stay the night in Norwich

    Day 1
    Walk from Norwich to Loddon (24 miles/38 km)

    Starting out from Norwich, you head away from the city and begin to appreciate the peace and quiet as you walk inland reaching the first Broad at Whitlingham within 2 miles. You then enjoy Norfolk countryside which leads you back and forth to the rivers’ edge. A chance to stop at a few riverside pubs, visit a round tower church or take a detour to the Ted Ellis nature reserve. You’ll walk alongside a few staithes and reed beds today, as well as a little bit of road walking along quiet lanes. Towards the end of the walk you’ll pass a memorial situated in the middle of the reeds which really gives you that feeling of being completely at one with nature, and only accessible by foot. You end the day in the Georgian town of Loddon. There is a lot of variety today.

    Day 2
    Walk from Loddon to Great Yarmouth (15 miles/24 km)

    Today is mostly about solitude and more wonderful Broads walking. The trail leads you past a picturesque thatched church, you partake in crossing the river via a chain link ferry, and once past the pretty quay at Reedham you are then left with your own thoughts as you amble along the quiet banks of the River Yare until you approach Gt Yarmouth.

    Book Your 2 Day Walk Here

  • Prices are based on two people sharing a room. If you are a solo walker or would like a single room, please add on an additional £40 per person per night.

    Trail Code: WW02
    Trail length: 39 miles/62.7 km
    Trail duration: 4 night’s accommodation, 3 days walking*
    Miles: Day 1 - 11 miles/17.7 km, Day 2 - 12.8 miles/20.5 km, Day 3 - 15 miles/24 km
    Prices from: £450 per person (based on 2 sharing)

    *Due to scarcity of accommodation and logistics, the last day is 15 miles.

    3 Day walk suggested itinerary

    Arrival
    Arrive and stay in Norwich

    Day 1
    Walk from Norwich to Rockland St Mary (11 miles/17.7 km)

    Starting out from Norwich, you head away from the city and begin to appreciate the peace and quiet as you walk inland reaching the first Broad at Whitlingham within 2 miles. You then enjoy Norfolk countryside which leads you back and forth to the rivers’ edge. A chance to stop at a few riverside pubs, visit a round tower church or take a detour to the Ted Ellis nature reserve.

    Day 2
    Walk from Rockland St Mary to Loddon (12.8 miles/20.5 km)

    You’ll walk alongside a few staithes and reed beds today, as well aa a little bit of road walking along quiet lanes. Towards the end of the walk you’ll pass a memorial situated in the middle of the reeds which really gives you that feeling of being completely at one with nature, and only accessible by foot. You end the day in the Georgian town of Loddon.

    Day 3
    Walk from Loddon to Great Yarmouth (15 miles/24 km)

    Today is mostly about solitude and more wonderful Broads walking. The trail leads you past a picturesque thatched church, you partake in crossing the river via a chain link ferry, and once past the pretty quay at Reedham you are then left with your own thoughts as you amble along the quiet banks of the River Yare until you approach Gt Yarmouth.

    Book Your 3 Day Walk Here

  • Prices are based on two people sharing a room. If you are a solo walker or would like a single room, please add on an additional £40 per person per night.

    Trail Code: WW03
    Trail length: 39 miles/62.7 km
    Trail duration: 5 night’s accommodation, 4 days walking*
    Miles: Day 1 - 11 miles/17.7 km, Day 2 - 12.8 miles/20.5 km, Day 3 - 5.4 miles/8.6 km, Day 4 – 9.5 miles, 115.2 km
    Prices from: £545 per person (based on 2 sharing)

    *Day 3 on this 4 day walking holiday is a short walk of 5.5 miles and would require a taxi back to the same accommodation as the night before. As it’s a short walk you could include a visit to a local garden, but it gives you a shorter 9.5 mile walk the final day.

    4 Day walk suggested itinerary

    Arrival
    Arrive and stay in Norwich

    Day 1
    Walk from Norwich to Rockland St Mary (11 miles/17.7 km)

    Starting out from Norwich, you head away from the city and begin to appreciate the peace and quiet as you walk inland reaching the first Broad at Whitlingham within 2 miles. You then enjoy Norfolk countryside which leads you back and forth to the rivers’ edge. A chance to stop at a few riverside pubs, visit a round tower church or take a detour to the Ted Ellis nature reserve.

    Day 2
    Walk from Rockland St Mary to Loddon (12.8 miles/20.5 km)

    You’ll walk alongside a few staithes and reed beds today, as well as a little bit of road walking along quiet lanes. Towards the end of the walk you’ll pass a memorial situated in the middle of the reeds which really gives you that feeling of being completely at one with nature, and only accessible by foot. You end the day in the Georgian town of Loddon.

    Day 3
    Walk from Loddon to Reedham (5.4 miles/8.6 km)

    A short walk today, but passing a very attractive thatched church and taking a chain link ferry across the river (the only way) to the pretty harbour of Reedham. Transfer back to your accommodation.

    Day 4
    Walk from Reedham to Great Yarmouth (9.5 miles/15.2 km)

    Total solitude today until you reach Gt Yarmouth. This stretch has no facilities which makes it feel very remote and gives you plenty of time to admire the windmills and drainage mills, the boats on the river and the wildlife and livestock along the path.

    Book Your 4 Day Walk Here

  • Accommodation along the Wherryman’s Way is scarce, but I have a few options, all of which are on the path apart from Day 4 if you choose to stop at Reedham. The 4 day walking holiday requires a taxi transfer (included in the cost) back to the accommodation in Loddon.

    You might have to have flexible dates in order to fit in with the availability of the accommodation, especially during the summer months .

  • Included:
    Bed and breakfast accommodation in personally chosen B&B’s, pubs or hotels where all the owners have been met by us, and the accommodation has been vetted by us personally. We have taken the time to make sure you will be very happy with each and every night’s stay.
    Baggage transfer from each night’s accommodation.
    A detailed information pack with OS maps, walking notes and waterproof notes written up by myself (as there is no official guidebook), itinerary with places of interest and places for possible lunches, as well as directions to the accommodation with the name and phone number of the owners where appropriate.
    Taxi transfer where needed on the 4 day walk
    Emergency telephone support for us 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 Norwich and to/from Great Yarmouth.
    Rest days -any costs for rest days or extra activities undertaken.

    Extras:
    Additional nights used other than on the Wherryman's 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 £40 per night to cover the cost of single occupancy, maps 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 public transport.

    Getting there:

    By Road:
    Norwich is reached via the A11, the A47 and a myriad of other A roads. You can leave your car in Norwich at the start of the walk but there will be a charge for this of approx. £20 per day. If possible, public transport is the preferred option for reaching Norwich.

    By Rail:
    To/from Norwich: Norwich railway station served by the Abellio Greater Anglia network. Trains run to and from London Liverpool Street and also cross country to Cambridge, Ely and Peterborough.

    By Bus:
    The National Express coaches go from London Victoria to Norwich, sometimes with one change at Stansted Airport. https://www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx

    By Air:
    Norwich International Airport is just outside the city of Norwich and London Stansted Airport is just under 2 hours by road.


Chedgrave memorial

Wherryman’s Way Distances

This is a slightly shorter long distance trail than the other walks I offer in Norfolk.  The trail is 39 miles and is an official Norfolk trail so it is well sign posted, and in many places with its distinct Wherryman’s way logo.

There is no official guidebook so I have written up my own walking notes along with waterproof notes which you receive in the pack.

What you’ll see on Your Wherrymans Way Walk

As you start in the historic city of Norwich you will have time to visit the fantastic cathedral and medieval quarter should you wish.  

River Yare in Norwich

It's a rather unusual beginning to the walk compared to the other starting points of our Norfolk walks.  

You’ll see evidence of why the river was a cargo route from the minute you start the walk.  Along the banks of the river in Norwich are the old warehouses, many now converted to flats, but it’s a reminder of how important the city of Norwich was many hundreds of years ago.

For most of the walk you follow the river very closely and the first Broad you arrive at, Whitlingham Broad, is just a short distance from the centre of Norwich. 

Surlingham round tower church
The pretty and unassuming Heckingham Church

Much of this walk takes you where you can only go on foot, making it an extremely tranquil walk.  Other stretches take you slightly away from the river along some quiet lanes and into some pretty villages, passing round tower churches (my favourite!), and a particularly stunning thatched church.

You’ll walk past an abundance of drainage mills and windmills, some of which have been restored, others left as derelict ruins.  All very much part of the Norfolk Broads scenery!  

Lottery funded restored Polkeys Mill
Derelict drainage mill

What you probably won’t see, however, are many people!  Yes, you’ll come across a few in the villages and the pubs and you’ll definitely see them in their boats, but along the actual path you’re unlikely to see a soul.  As mentioned above, it’s a little bit like the Weavers Way and the Peddars Way, both of which are also very peaceful walks. 

All of these trails, official though they are, a frequented by very few, which makes them all the more special.

Sculpture at Reedham Quay

Being on foot, you manage to get a real feeling of remoteness on this walk; just you and your thoughts, the meadows, reedbeds, the river and grazing cattle or sheep. 

Wherryman's way sign and logo

Being so close to the river, various diversions have been put in place over the years (and which are now permanent), unless of course you want to wade through knee high water, but don’t forget, this is an official long distance trail so it is all well waymarked for you!

On the more remote stretch towards the end of the walk, you’ll probably come across grazing livestock.  If they’re on the path, they move away nicely!  

Long horned sheep
long horned cattle

You'll experience a short ride on a chain link ferry which takes you over the river to an awaiting pub (if you like!) and onto another small village.  Without this ferry, a 30 mile detour would be necessary!  You may need to wave your hands and bellow a welcome “hello” if the ferry is on the other side of the river bank!

Chain link ferry at Reedham

Wherryman’s Way Accommodation

Accommodation can be fairly sparce along this Norfolk walking trail, but don’t worry, I know a few places where you’ll be able to stay! 

  • At one, you can sit and enjoy the evening sun go down besides a staithe.  
  • At another you can appreciate a small Georgian market town.  Due to no available pubs or B&Bs around Reedham, and the fact that this is the only place to cross the river within 30 miles, the last stretch of the path is 15 miles (unless you choose the 4 day walking option
  • On your last night, you can overlook the sea at Gt Yarmouth and think back to the beginning of your walk in the historic city of Norwich and how the differing landscape evolved over your 39 miles.

The History of the Wherryman’s Way

Historically, the River Yare was a very important cargo route for wares to make their way to Norwich, which was the second most important city in the UK after London. 

wherry boat

The name of the Wherryman’s Way is taken from the boats that used to sail up and down this river which were called Wherry Boats.  They were large flat bottomed barges with very distinct shaped black sails and they were used for around 200 years.  There are now only about 2 of these Wherry boats left in the UK and both have been restored.

One particular historical character is highlighted on the route at a small village called Bramerton .  His nickname was Billy Bluelight and he would watch the holiday boats coming up the river at Bramerton (which you’ll walk through) and wager that he would reach Carrow Road bridge in Norwich before they would.  More often than not he would be waiting for them, and collected his winnings!

Billy Bluelight on the Wherrymans Way

Walk the Wherryman’s Way

Well I hope you’ve now got a good insight into what it’s like to walk this wonderful long distance Wherryman's Way Broads walk.   All you need to do now is to contact me on the details below, fill out the enquiry form, or use the booking form and I’ll look forward to chatting to you further and to planning a memorable walk for you.

OR

CONTACT DETAILS:

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

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