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Five of the best hidden walks in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 15:04 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:46 18 September 2019

Join a variety of events during the Norfolk Walking and Cycling Festival, many centred on the Norfolk Coast Path  

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Join a variety of events during the Norfolk Walking and Cycling Festival, many centred on the Norfolk Coast Path Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2016

From the historic Burnham Overy Staithe Windmill to a second World War radar station, there are plenty of hidden treasures to be found when walking across Norfolk.

Pedders Way. Picture: Alex Buxton.Pedders Way. Picture: Alex Buxton.

And there has never been a better time to get walking with the Norfolk Walking and Cycling Festival due to take place next month.

This year the festival is being hosted by the Coastal Treasures project, which aims to promote sustainable tourism and open up new ways to explore the rich heritage of west Norfolk.

Andrew Jamieson, Norfolk County Council's member for walking and cycling, said: "There are gentle strolls, nature and history walks, a run to a brewery and family friendly activities.

"Most of the events are free so I'd like to invite people to come and explore, and connect with Norfolk's stunning scenery and fascinating history."

A glorious sunset at Burnham Overy Staithe. Picture: Martin SizelandA glorious sunset at Burnham Overy Staithe. Picture: Martin Sizeland

Here are five of Norfolk's top walking routes to explore:

1. Brancaster Circular - 4.5 miles

Head up to the high ground of Barrow Common and enjoy stunning views before walking alongside the creeks of Brancaster Marsh and finishing back near the small coastal hub at Burnham Deepdale.

Along the route you will also pass the Barrow Common Second World War radar station which was manned between 1940 and 1944 to detect aircraft, especially those flying low, which might have been carrying out an attack on the country.

Views at Ringstead. Picture: Fay NealeViews at Ringstead. Picture: Fay Neale

2. Burnhams Circular - 4.5 miles

A delightful walk taking in historic Burnham Overy Staithe Windmill, Burnham Overy Town and Burnham Norton.

The route crosses the River Burn twice and passes through farmland, past churches, mills and the Grade I listed ruins of a Carmelite friary. This friary was founded in 1241 by Sir William de Caithorpe of Burnham Thorpe and Sir Roger de Hemenshale, Lord of Polstead Manor in Burnham.

The walk is approximately 4.5 miles.

Burnham Overy Staithe Windmill. Picture: UK Power NetworksBurnham Overy Staithe Windmill. Picture: UK Power Networks

3. Ringstead Circular - 8 miles

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An opportunity to discover the lesser known parts of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The walk takes in the Ringstead Downs nature reserve, the largest area of unimproved chalk grassland in Norfolk. This is followed by an opportunity to walk through the private grounds of Old Hunstanton Hall.

Permission to access the grounds is only given on Thursdays and dates back to medieval times when locals were allowed access on this day to gather firewood.

Walkers will see the source of the River Hun and pick up the river again in Old Hunstanton, returning to Ringstead via the Peddars Way with an optional stop off at the Gin Trap at Ringstead.

During the walking festival you can join amateur historian Mike Wade, who will tell tales of smugglers and murder on the eight mile circular walk starting at Ringstead Common. Dogs are welcome on this walk.

Book your place online.

4. The Peddars Way - 46 miles

The Peddars Way follows the 46-mile route of a Roman road, cutting through landscapes from Knettishall Heath in Suffolk through to the north Norfolk coast at Holme-next-the-Sea.

Much of the Peddars Way is suitable for cycling with some of it being on quiet lanes and country roads and other sections being on unsurfaced country roads or bridleways.

And this summer saw Norfolk's 84 mile-long National Trail, the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path, become completely stile-free, making the long distance routes more accessible than ever.

5. Seahenge Walk at Thornham - 4 miles

This four-mile walk will introduce participants to Seahenge and two mysterious Bronze Age timber circles once found on Holme Beach.

The route requires a moderate level of fitness and some of the walk will be on footpaths that can be muddy, are uneven and have long grass.

During the festival there will be a guided walk led by archaeologists who have been studying the circles for more than 20 years. The walk will visit the beach and a replica of Seahenge built by Channel 4's Time Team.

Book your place online.

A range of walking, cycling and horse-riding routes, including the new Coastal Treasures routes, are available at www.norfolk.gov.uk/trails

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