Friday 26th September to Monday 29th September:
Why is walking in wild and solitary places so satisfying? Partly it is the sheer
physical pleasure: sometimes pitting one’s strength against the elements, sometimes relaxing on the springy turf or sand. The beauty and wonder of the natural world restore our sense of proportion, freeing us from the stresses and strains of everyday life.
In contrast to the Peddars Way, the Norfolk Coast Path is a deliberately constructed route, made up from a series of existing footpaths and sections of trail created to link them. The two routes were connected to form a Long Distance Path, a title officially bestowed on them in 1986, when the route was opened by The Prince of Wales in a ceremony on Holme beach. Five years later the Long Distance Paths became National Trails, and the pair were duly accorded this status.
Nothing prepares you for the scale and beauty of the North Norfolk coast. From here on the Coast Path bears east and you enjoy brisk head-up walking over beach, bunker and boardwalk, through fragile dunes and past salt-marshes, crumbling Cliffs, and creeks of fast-filling, fast-emptying tidal water. Along this stretch there is a constant blurring of sea, salt, sand and sky, but rather than making the area too similar the coastline has an ever-changing beauty. The western half of the coast path enjoys vast expanses of beach and dunes with plenty of sand and space between amenities, whilst the eastern end is a little tamer and tidier with the sand succumbing to shingle and traditional fishing communities giving way to the charms of faded Victorian seaside towns such as Wells, Sheringham and finally Cromer. Nonetheless there are still some unmissable villages such as Stilfkey, Morston, Blakeney and Cley containing little more than a glorious church and a cluster of cottages centred on a pub serving outstanding food and local real ale, as well as some of the best nature reserves and wildlife or bird-spotting sites in the country. This is a walk to saunter along and savour in every respect; the many gastro pubs and restaurants boast some of the finest, freshest ingredients that Britain has to offer. Ecclesiastical remains all along the route are indicative of the wealth and stains the region once enjoyed; the churches built on the profits of a thriving medieval wool trade are almost always worth a visit as are the grand houses.
Excerpt from: Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path by Alexander Stewart
Friday: Hunstanton to Burnham Overy Staithe
Saturday: Burham Overy Staithe to Stiffkey
Sunday: Stiffkey to Weybourne
Monday: Weybourne to Cromer