Forget the A1067... here's the best route from Wells to Norwich

Founder of the Coastal Exploration Company, Henry Chamberlain, right, and chief skipper, Nick Stokes

Founder of the Coastal Exploration Company, Henry Chamberlain, right, and chief skipper, Nick Stokes, ready to deliver local produce to Jarrolds in Norwich by sailing round the coast from Wells. - Credit: Denise Bradley

It is a journey of 35 miles which should take little over an hour by road.

But for Henry Chamberlain and his team, the trek from Wells to Norwich will be an odyssey of more than 100 miles and take a day and a half.

For the group are avoiding the A1067 and heading out to sea instead, making the journey to the city in a traditional wooden fishing boat, via Great Yarmouth.

The crew - sailing a 30ft whelk boat called Salford - are taking with them a selection of Norfolk produce which they plan to deliver to Jarrold department store.

The voyage has been organised by the Coastal Exploration Company, which offers boat trips off the north Norfolk coast.

Henry Chamberlain, from the firm, said he hoped that by delivering products to a shop by boat the team could highlight the advantages of low carbon transport.

Founder of the Coastal Exploration Company, Henry Chamberlain, left, and chief skipper, Nick Stokes,

Founder of the Coastal Exploration Company, Henry Chamberlain, left, and chief skipper, Nick Stokes, centre, ready to deliver local produce to Jarrolds in Norwich by sailing round the coast from Wells. With them is Leigh Goodsell, of Leigh's Bees, whose Ivy Flower honey will be one of the goods to be delivered. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The idea came about after Mr Chamberlain and his team networked with other companies, specifically New Dawn Traders, a firm from Cornwall they met in Yarmouth two years ago. 

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The 51-year-old said: "We hope this journey will get people thinking about the way we work.

“It is time to consider these changes you only have to look at the last few months and the issue with petrol and diesel, those supply chains are so fragile.

Founder of the Coastal Exploration Company, Henry Chamberlain, left, and chief skipper, Nick Stokes,

Founder of the Coastal Exploration Company, Henry Chamberlain, left, and chief skipper, Nick Stokes, ready to deliver local produce to Jarrolds in Norwich by sailing round the coast from Wells. With them is Laura Robinson, owner of Burn Valley Vineyard, whose wine will be one of the goods to be delivered. - Credit: Denise Bradley

“You can envisage a time where fuel is unobtainable - so we are experimenting and seeing how quickly we can get there and see where this leads.

“Norfolk has a strong maritime history, and I feel not tapping into that is crazy.”

The group set off from Wells' Tug Boat Yard at 3.30am on Thursday and are expecting to arrive in Norwich on Friday afternoon.

They are sailing along the coast to Great Yarmouth, before journeying up the Yare - where they plan to spend the night - and then the Wensum and into to the city, mooring at Pulls Ferry.

Local produce to be delivered to Jarrolds in Norwich by the Coastal Exploration Company by sailing r

Local produce to be delivered to Jarrolds in Norwich by the Coastal Exploration Company by sailing round the coast from Wells. - Credit: Denise Bradley

From there, they will unload their half-ton of cargo - including Sandringham apple juice, Leigh Bees honey, and Malt Coast Beer Burn Valley Wine - and head towards Jarrold.

Leigh's Bees Ivy Flower honey, one of the local items to be delivered to Jarrolds by the Coastal Exp

Leigh's Bees Ivy Flower honey, one of the local items to be delivered to Jarrolds by the Coastal Exploration Company's boat, sailing round the coast from Wells to Norwich. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mr Chamberlain added: “We believe there is more of a demand for an alternative way of travelling.
 
“I think Norfolk could lead the way with this cargo transportation using the natural energy of the wind.

“We could offer people the chance to travel on these fantastic boats and I cannot think of any other county which has this access to this sort of network of water to travel on.”  

Founder of the Coastal Exploration Company, Henry Chamberlain, right, and chief skipper, Nick Stokes

Founder of the Coastal Exploration Company, Henry Chamberlain, right, and chief skipper, Nick Stokes, with the local produce they are delivering to Jarrolds in Norwich by sailing round the coast from Wells. - Credit: Denise Bradley