Peddars Way – A UK National Trail In Norfolk
The Peddars Way is in the main the route of an old Roman Road, it runs for 49 miles, mostly in a straight line from Knettishall to Holme next the Sea. During the week commencing 10.05.14, four of us walked the Peddars Way National Trail. We combined the Peddars Way with the Norfolk Coast Path but this post is solely devoted to the Peddars Way.
After a 4 hour train journey from Manchester to Norfolk, we spent the first night in Thetford. Thetford is the place where the TV sitcom Dad’s Army was filmed. Our first port of call was the Bell Inn. This again featured in many of the episodes of Dad’s Army. Many drinks and another couple of venues later and we turned in for the night.
Day 1 Knettishall To Little Cressingham (14¼ miles)
The Peddars Way starts at Knettishall Heath, a few miles from Thetford. A taxi ride got us to the starting point. The first few hundred yards or so of the Peddars Way are actually in Suffolk.
The days walk was mainly through woodland and along vast fields of agriculture. The size of these fields had to be seen to be believed. Norfolk is certainly an agricultural county. We encountered a few showers during the day with some sunny intervals.
At East Wretham or Stonebridge, depending on which side of the road you are standing, we had a lunchtime stop at the Dog and Partridge pub. Here we met 3 young Brazilian girls who were also walking the Peddars Way. The path continued through the edges of Merton, then on to the B1108 road. We were collected by our host for the evening and later taken to the Olde Windmill Inn, a 17th century village pub at Great Cressingham, where we had a good meal.
Day 2 Little Cressingham To Castle Acre (11¾ miles)
After being dropped off at yesterdays collection point, we continued on the path, running along the edge of a huge agricultural field. This eventually led to tarmac, which was actually the main road running to South Pickenham.
The road continued towards North Pickenham, then at last zig-zagged through agricultural fields. To our dismay the local pub at North Pickenham, the Blue Lion, had closed.
We continued on the Peddars Way to just outside Sporle, where a decision had to be made. From the crossroads we could carry on to Castle Acre or make a ¾ mile detour to the Peddars Inn at Sporle. Nobody suggested carrying on to Castle Acre, so Sporle it was.
We sat outside in the sun until the rain started. Fed and watered, a couple of hours later we continued to Castle Acre. We had booked a table at the local pub so decided to have a quick drink before going to our accommodation for the night. We all reached the conclusion that we didn’t fancy eating at this establishment, so we would get a lift to Swaffham and dine there.
Our driver informed us we could get a taxi back to Castle Acre, so with that information we decided to eat at the Asian restaurant. The meal was excellent but from here things started to go downhill.
The town was virtually deserted with most of the hotels and pubs closed. We did find a pub however and at closing time asked the barmaid to call a taxi. “There’s no taxis here at this time of night” she replied. After trying to phone a number of taxi companies, without any response, we realised we faced a 5 mile walk home in the dark, first down an A road, then along country lanes. An hour and a half later, tired, muddied and thoroughly pissed off we climbed into bed at Castle Acre. To cap it all, we found out a few days later from fellow walkers, that the food in the Castle Acre pub was excellent.