Trans-Norfolk bikepacking, F2C. Part 3: alternate routes and extensions

In Cycling, Nature, Norfolk, UK
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This blog post is the last in a three-part series presenting the ‘Forest to Sea’ (F2C) trans-Norfolk long distance ‘bikepacking’ or cycle touring route. The route, which I pieced together by linking off-road trails with quiet country lanes (some of which form part of the Regional and National Cycle Networks) is a 137-mile journey from Thetford, on the southwest Norfolk-Suffolk border, to Great Yarmouth, on Britain’s most easterly coast. In Part 3, I present a photographic record of the Cley to/from Norwich and Aylsham to Wroxham via the Bure Valley Railway path routes. The whole route has a separate, dedicated page, with interactive mapping, video and a comprehensive, highly detailed guide available for download at a small fee.

Cley to/from Norwich

This alternate follows the Aylsham and Great Yarmouth route from Cley via Glandford and Melton Constable and takes the Norwich branch of the Themelthorpe loop to continue for 17 off-road miles along the Marriott’s Way to the city (or reversed if travelling from Norwich). Images of the Cley to Themelthorpe section appear in Part 2 of this series (Cley to/from Great Yarmouth).

The Cley to/from Norwich alternate can be combined with the main route by continuing to Thetford from Cley, or continuing along the Marriott’s Way at Themelthorpe to Aylsham and onward to Great Yarmouth (see map on F2C homepage).

Near Themelthorpe, the track switches between single- and doubletrack, with a surface often excavated by the inhabitants of Norfolk’s largest badger sett. The 19th century substrate used for laying rail tracks makes for stable mustelid engineering.
The tree canopy has met in the absence of locomotives, steam and hot cinders.
Bridge over an unnamed lane on the Themelthorpe loop near Kerdiston.
The Themelthorpe loop, southern branch, near Whitwell and Whitwell station.
A wider, sandy track leads away from Whitwell through open scrub woodland.
As the old trackbed slowly drops to meet the River Wensum at Lenwade, the trail becomes cooler and damper. Frosts can form in the saturated, still air even in early autumn.
Near Felthorpe, the trail climbs through mature plantations.
The road bridge carrying the lane from the Reepham Road to Attlebridge is one of the largest of the Marriott’s Way. The section between here and Drayton receives only dappled sunlight and rotting leaf mulch makes for muddy conditions following rain.
The River Wensum from the 1882 iron railway bridge carrying the tarmac-surfaced section of the Marriott’s Way from Hellesdon to Norwich…
…and in central Norwich from the St. George’s Street pedestrian bridge.
Elm Hill, Norwich (bottom end; the F2C passes the top of the street).

Aylsham to Wroxham, Bure valley cycle path

Below is a selection of images taken from the Bure Valley cycle path, which begins opposite the end of the Marriott’s Way in Aylsham and runs parallel to the light railway to Wroxham and Hoveton rail station (where National Rail services run to Norwich and Sheringham). The path is narrow and is shared with walkers, so it’s best to choose quieter times if you’d like to cycle this smooth, easy lowland singletrack.

Mixed surface loops on The Slow Lens (F2C locations in bold)

Melton Constable, Binham, Warham, Wells, Walsinghams, Hindringham 12% gravel loop.

Melton Constable, Aylsham 29% gravel loop.

Marriott’s Way and Bure Valley Railway via Coltishall, Horsford Woods and Felthorpe Common 82% gravel loop.

See dedicated blog page.

Other alternates (F2C locations in bold)

Mautby, Runham, Stokesby, Filby extension loop.

West Somerton, Martham, Thurne, Rollesby extension loop.

Horsey, Sea Palling, Hickling, Potter Heigham, Martham extension loop.

Hickling and Sutton extension loop.

Stalham, Ingham, Honing, Worstead, Dilham extension loop.

‘Broads Explorer’ extension loop from West Somerton.

Ingoldisthorpe and Sandringham extension loops (from Great Massingham and Great Bircham, Peddars Way).

Ringstead, Sedgeford, Fring, Heacham, Hunstanton extension loop.

Burnham Market, Stanhoe, Great Bircham, Fring, Docking extension loop.

Walsingham(s), North Creake, Thursford, Wells, Stiffkey extension loop (from Langham, Wighton, Binham, Burnham Thorpe or nearby Melton Constable).

Holt, Bodham, Kelling, Weybourne, Baconsthorpe, Edgefield, Hunworth extension loop (from Wiveton, Glandford, Letheringsett, and nearby Melton Constable).

Go to F2C home

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