Let's face it, Norfolk isn’t exactly a mecca for tough walking routes.

While its flat-as-a-pancake reputation is largely undeserved, Nelson’s County is lacking even a single mountain summit to scale.

But that’s not to say Norfolk lacks its share of challenging treks, at least according to that indispensable bible for walkers, the Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping app. 

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Eastern Daily Press: The Ordnance Survey app lists five walks in Norfolk as 'difficult'The Ordnance Survey app lists five walks in Norfolk as 'difficult' (Image: OS)

While the OS lists no ‘severe’ walking trails in its ‘recommended routes’ section for Norfolk, there are five routes in the county listed as ‘difficult’. 

So if you’re after a country stroll with a twist and don’t want to stray too far from home...here’s a look at the OS app's most difficult walks in Norfolk. 

1. Upton: 18.01km, estimated time: 4h 32min

Eastern Daily Press: The Upton walk routeThe Upton walk route (Image: OS)

This circular walk starts and finishes at Upton Yacht Station, at the end of an offshoot of the River Bure, north of Acle. It passes disused windmills and continues along the river, from where the ruins of St Benet’s Abbey can be seen.

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The route then turns south along Fleet Dyke, passes by South Walsham Broad and then loops back towards Upton Broad and Marshes Nature Reserve. 

Eastern Daily Press: St Benet's Abbey ruins seen from across the River Bure, near UptonSt Benet's Abbey ruins seen from across the River Bure, near Upton (Image: Norman Tottle)

Walkers then take the road into Upton Green, before following a path south to Acle, and then going back up - mostly along the Bure - to the yacht station. 

2. Sheringham, Kelling and Weybourne: 18.81km, estimated time: 5h 14min

Coastline, heritage, woodland and rolling hills - as far as Norfolk walks go, this one pretty much has it all. 

The route was mapped out by Sheringham’s Youth Hostels Association (YHA) hotel, which is where it starts and ends.

After strolling down the town’s High Street to the seafront, you walk west along the coast, taking on Skelding Hill.

Eastern Daily Press: The Sheringham, Kelling and Weybourne walking routeThe Sheringham, Kelling and Weybourne walking route (Image: OS)

If you’re lucky, you may see one of the locomotives from the North Norfolk Railway steaming past. 

The route continues all the way to Kelling Hard before turning inland up to Muckleburgh Hill. It carries on south through Kelling Heath, and back along the course of the railway, before passing through Weybourne Wood and Sheringham Park.

Continue on through Upper Shernigham before turning north into the town proper. 

3. Scolt Head Island circular: 15.27km, estimated time: 3h 55min

This walk explores one of Norfolk’s true natural gems - Scolt Head Island National Nature Reserve.

Eastern Daily Press: The Scolt Head Island walking routeThe Scolt Head Island walking route (Image: OS)

It was mapped out by Lisa and Charlie Drewe, who say in its description: “This route travels through a small paradise of sand dunes, salt marsh, mud flats, and shingle. 

“It is internationally important for its birdlife - terns in particular which breed here. 

Eastern Daily Press: A seal on Scolt Head Island A seal on Scolt Head Island (Image: Newsquest)

“This is an adventurous walk that requires tidal crossings and good navigation skills. You need to cross two tidal creeks to get to the island, then cross two more to get back to the mainland.”

The walk starts and ends at the car park by the staithe. 

4. Thornham to Wells: 25.86km, estimated time: 6h 37min

A little further west along the coast, this point-to-point walk takes in beaches, field paths, sea walls and dunes. It’s also said to be a foodie’s delight, passing as it does several great chippies and seafood restaurants. 

Eastern Daily Press: The Thornham to Wells point-to-point walkThe Thornham to Wells point-to-point walk (Image: OS)

From Thornham, it heads inland to bypass the busy coast road before looping back into Brancaster, and then following the coastal path alongside the marshes. 

It carries on like this until you get to the dunes at Holkham, from where it's a sandy stroll to Wells-next-the-Sea. 

5. Brandon and Hockwold: 20.27kms, estimated time: 5hr 09min

Straddling the Norfolk-Suffolk border, this walk takes in “reedy fens and waterways, woods and meadows, flint-walled villages and miles of wild heath grazed by Dartmoor ponies”.

Eastern Daily Press: The Brandon and Hockwold walking routeThe Brandon and Hockwold walking route (Image: OS)

Starting from Brandon Railway Station, the walk heads west to Lakenheath station before wending north-west through Hockwold cum Wilton and on into the Brecks.

The walk passes through Weeting Heath National Nature Reserve before returning to Brandon.