By bus and rail to enjoy winter ale

Real ale drinkers in Norfolk and Suffolk can now enjoy a few warming pints without having to worry about how to get home, thanks to a rail and bus initiative launched yesterday.

Real ale drinkers in Norfolk and Suffolk can now enjoy a few warming pints without having to worry about how to get home, thanks to a rail and bus initiative launched yesterday.

Train operator 'one' has teamed up with the Bittern and Wherry community rail lines, the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) and Norfolk County Council's BroadsHopper cycle bus to run the Winter Ale Trail.

The initiative promises "access to pubs by rail and bus with a lot less fuss" with the idea that people use trains and buses in order to visit 25 pubs (over a period of weeks or months) along the allocated route.

Free samples of Bittern Bitter and Swingbridge Ale were on offer at Norwich station yesterday to help launch it – on the second day of the Norwich Beer Festival.

Stephen Maiden, chairman of Wherry Lines partnership, said: "This is an opportunity to leave the car behind and enjoy a day or evening out without the hassle of having to find somewhere to park."

Those who use the initiative to visit 20 of the pubs between November 1 and March 31 will earn themselves a one-day Bittern or Wherry line Rover ticket, while those who visit all 25 will win an Ale Trail T-shirt.

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Another scheme, Ale Track, gives travellers 10pc off two-course meals at selected pubs along the Bittern and Wherry lines between November 1 and May 25.

It is also hoped to raise awareness of the BroadsHopper bus, which has a trailer for cycles and runs between Blickling Hall and Acle via Aylsham and Wroxham.

A leaflet entitled Winter Ale Trail – the Bittern and Wherry Lines, is available from tourist information centres.

For information on train times and fares, call 08457 484950.

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