Feel free as a bird and tour Norfolk on your bike! It is one of the best ways to discover a new area; and with its gentle hills, fantastic trails and beautiful landscape this county is perfect for cycling.
Did you know that Norfolk has routes that are traffic-free, making it safer for people to navigate their way and for children to cycle in a more protected environment? The Marriott’s Way is a great trail and no cars, motorbikes or alike are allowed! Find out more about this one and other Top 5 cycling trails.
(Top image by Norfolk Country Cottages and The Marriott's Way image by Norfolk Trails)
Leisurely trail - Wells and Holkham Circuit (10 miles)
We’ve picked a medium grade trail to start off with which uses National Route 1 and the Norfolk Coast Cycleway. It starts and finishes at Wells-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk coast and is 10 miles (16km). View the route on the map here.
Overview of the circuit: This is a circular route so you can go either way depending on your preference. If you want to start towards the sea, turn right off the Quay at the harbour and go down Beach Road. Close to the end of the road it bends to the left and turns into the Norfolk Coast Path (this is mainly for walking so please be mindful of pedestrians). After a short ride passing the woods, the path will turn inland towards Holkham. Cross the A149 and carry on to Holkham Estate. After going through the gate, take the Avenue South passing the obelisk.
Hop off time! Here you can enjoy a picnic and a break, and cycle round the Estate. To carry on the circular route leave the Estate at South Lodges gates and turn left. Turn left again and carry on onto the public road. Turn right at the Golden Gate and follow the signposted track. Then turn left to go back to Wells.’
Traffic free - The Marriott's Way (26-mile trail)
This is a real favourite because it is traffic-free and you can pause at various towns on the way for a well-deserved break. This 26 mile off-road trail follows two old railway lines between our fine city of Norwich and the historic market town of Aylsham, via Drayton, Lenwade, Cawston and Reepham.
You can start anywhere on this route, but if you begin in Norwich, the Marriott’s Way entrance is by the roundabout at Barn Road and Barker Street on the inner ring road.
In Aylsham, you enter the track on Norwich Road which is opposite Bure Valley Railway station.
There is a website about The Marriott’s Way where you can download a guidebook with maps. The 40-page detailed guide tells you about the history, points of interests, what wildlife you can see and more information about each section of the route.
Scenic trail - King’s Lynn to The Wash (15 miles)
Enjoy a beautiful part of Norfolk with sections that are traffic-free. This 15-mile route takes you through the historic quarter of King’s Lynn, the village of Castle Rising, Sandringham Country Park to RSPB’s Snettisham Nature Reserve. It can get muddy at Shepherd’s Port (end point) in Snettisham so do wear good footwear in case you need to walk the last bit. View the map and bike hire places here.
See our Top 5 for King’s Lynn if you would like to read more about the historic quarter.
(Image: Pedalling About)
If you are keen to increase your adrenaline then this is for you! Norfolk Coast Partnership highlights four off-road trails and I’ve chosen Cromer to Felbrigg for you. This 12-mile trip is one for more adventurous cyclists because of the hills, rocky landscape and roads.
The website states that: ‘Approximately 20% of this ride is off-road on a mix of surfaces varying from easy tarmac tracks to more challenging byways along farm tracks with compacted rough surfaces.’ Getting excited? Be safe and fun!
Got a week? How about the ‘Norfolk coast cycle-way’, pedalling 92 miles parallel to the coast?
GPS Routes has more than 20 itineraries (including the coastal tour) listed for Norfolk, which all come with comprehensive OS map pages, aerial satellite views of the route, nearby facilities and services.
If you are more serious about mapping and tracking then apparently the ‘Magellan’ GPS sat nav is one of the hottest on the market!
Hope you feel inspired to use your bike (more often!) and discover Norfolk from a different viewpoint.
For more ideas and helpful websites:
- Check out Norfolk Trails for cycle routes
- You can hire bikes from National Trust property Blickling or take your own wheels to do their all weather trail.
- Sustrans – use the search button for more options
- RSPB - to find out information about Snettisham Reserve.
Article by Norfolk Passport Editor, Lesley van Dijk
Sources: Sustrans, Norfolk Country Council, National Trail and Norfolk Coast Partnership.