Five new walking and cycling trails have been announced in Norfolk as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Some open up areas which have been opened to the public before, and there are interpretation boards at the beginning and end of each one giving route highlights, background information, and QR codes linking to more details.
James Bagge DL, chair of the organising committee, said: “We are delighted to announce the creation of these new Trails. Originally conceived as a way of celebrating Her Late Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee and her love of nature and Norfolk, they will now stand as a permanent tribute to her life of remarkable loyalty and service.”
The Trails are:
THE ELIZABETH WAY, running from Heacham to King’s Lynn, partly along the route of a disused railway line which will be resurfaced to improve access, this Trail covers some of the richest and most diverse habitats in Norfolk. It passes through part of the Sandringham Estate, and is supported by Ben Colson and colleagues of the former Norfolk Green bus company. The Trail runs for just under 16 miles, and would take about 8 hours walking at a relaxed pace.
THE WENDLING WAY, running from Gressenhall Museum to Dereham, features a mix of fascinating history and landscape, including the most exciting rewilding project in the country – The Wendling Beck Project – with improved access. It is supported by Norse. The Trail runs for just over 3 miles, and would take up to an hour walking at a relaxed pace.
THE WEST ACRE WAY, running from Gayton to Castle Acre, opens up part of the Westacre Estate to public access for the first time, where a rewilding project in part of the Nar Valley has introduced White Park cattle, Exmoor ponies and Iron Age pigs. Passing through the villages of West Acre and Castle Acre, the route is incredibly rich in history. It is supported by Greenyard, and runs for just over 9 miles, taking about 4.5 hours walking at a relaxed pace.
THE CHET RIVER CIRCULAR takes walkers on a circuit around Loddon and Chedgrave and is ideal for families. There are many spots along the River Chet, where access has been improved, to stop for picnics, and the route is notable for its abundance of diverse bird and insect life. It is supported by Adnams and South Norfolk District Council, runs for just over 2 miles, and would take just over an hour walking at a relaxed pace.
THE EASTERN MARITIME WAY is ideal for cyclists and is the longest of the new Trails. It runs from Great Yarmouth train station to Lowestoft train station, offers stunning coastal views and many points of historic interest, from military to maritime. It offers links to many other Norfolk Trails. Again supported by Adnams, it runs for 12 miles and would take about 1.5 hours to cycle at a relaxed pace.
Work has begun on some of the trails already and they should all open in Spring 2023.
Lana Hempsall, member champion for sustainable transport at Norfolk County Council, said: “I’m thrilled to see the development of these five routes which will encourage more walking, wheeling and cycling across Norfolk. Trails like this come with so many benefits including less congestion and pollution where people can use these routes for travel – but also of course getting out on all of our wonderful Trails is great exercise and brilliant for both physical and mental wellbeing. The Norfolk County Council Trails team has worked hard over the last 12 months to support the creation of the Jubilee Trails which are a wonderful legacy to a Queen who meant so much to our County.”