Twelve days of brilliant walks to try in Norfolk this Christmas
- Credit: Archant
The beautiful and varied Norfolk Trails network consists of 1,600 miles of linear trails and their associated circular walks, covering coast, woodland, broads and wetlands.
So no matter what you're looking for on a walk this festive season, you'll find it right here in Norfolk.
Even better, you can easily download maps of all these routes on the Norfolk Trails website.
Councillor Andrew Jamieson, Norfolk County Council's Member Champion for Cycling and Walking said: 'I would encourage anyone in Norfolk, whether they are local or visiting, to have a look at our fantastic trails and get out and about this Christmas to see the beautiful countryside we have on offer. 'Here are twelve trails that would make for a lovely day out and which may even help work off a mince pie or two.'
Sheringham Circular Walk, 6 miles
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Starting from the esplanade in Sheringham, this route is nicely varied and makes the most of the heathland, clifftop, woodland and parkland landscapes that surround the town.
Sheringham Park is a potential stop along the way, and the route can also be broken up with several refreshment stops for a really leisurely day out.
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The Little Ouse Path, 9 miles
The route follows the Little Ouse River from Brandon to Thetford and never leaves the forest for long, so it's perfect for woodland lovers and very atmospheric on frosty or foggy winter mornings.
Wildlife sightings are commonplace here. We've seen deer, barn owls, herons and kingfishers, and in the evenings it's a real bat hotspot.
Winterton Dunes Circular Walk, 1.5 miles/Winterton Circular Walk, 4 miles
Both of these are perfect for young families (as long as the children are walking – pushchairs don't do well on the fine sand of the dunes).
The dunes walk is short, but it's a perfect introduction to the Norfolk Coast Path and this beautiful landscape.
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Just a few miles from Great Yarmouth, this route is fully wheelchair accessible thanks to the six hundred metre boardwalk that traverses the reedbed along the mouth of the River Waveney.
Perfect for families with pushchairs, birdwatchers, and those that enjoy a quick walk, the views across the marshes are long and impressive.
Hellesdon Circular Walk, 5.5 miles
Starting from Marlpit Lane on the Western edge of Norwich, the Hellesdon Walk is a great way to explore some hidden gems that you may not know about, right on your doorstep. Foremost among these is the recently reclaimed and restored Hellesdon Station Platform.
Brancaster Staithe Circular Walk, 5 miles
The Brancaster Staithe walk is a contrast of saltmarsh and sailing boats, wind and woodland that has a history going back thousands of years.
Barrow Common, the route's highpoint, is thought to be the site of a Bronze Age barrow, and from here the views over Scolt Head Island and along the coast are breath-taking.
Boudicca Way, 37 miles, Diss-Norwich
If you're looking for a great way to work off that Christmas dinner over a couple of days, why not have a go at Boudicca Way.
We recently remade all the signs along the route and it's also stile-free now, so it's never been more accessible.
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The Aylsham Workhouse Walk is an easy route that follows green lanes and pavements, and passes the old workhouse, which remained in use until 1930. As the route leaves Aylsham via Marriott's Way, there are long views over the surrounding countryside.
Marriott's Way, 26 miles, Norwich - Aylsham
Marriott's way is a popular route for walking, cycling and horse-riding.
Starting close to the centre of Norwich, it's the perfect way to make a quick escape from the city for the day, or even just a couple of hours, depending on how far you venture.
The route, which used to be a railway line, visits Reepham and a number of other villages before finishing in Aylsham.
Weavers' Way Walk 10, 4.5 Miles, Acle
While this route is not currently signed, it is easy to follow by downloading the map, and on a clear winter day it's a real Broadland treat. Following the river bure and crossing low grazing marshes, you're likely to see marsh harriers hunting, and yachts that look as though they're sailing through the fields.
There are a number of pubs to warm yourself in along the way, and several more in Acle itself.
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If your Christmas has twelve days, then you have more than enough time to enjoy the whole Norfolk Coast Path.
From Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea, whichever way you choose to walk, the route is well served by various accommodation and eating options.
Peddars Cycle, 47 miles/Thetford Cycle Loop, 37 miles
For an off-road adventure on two wheels, the Peddars Way is an epic day out.
The route is well-signed from Thetford station, but there's no station at the other end, so unfortunately getting picked up is a must.
If public transport is essential, then another option for a great gravel ride is the Thetford Cycle Loop.