Cattle grazing on marshland west of Great Yarmouth

A Good Walk

We haven’t been walking for ages and to my shame, when I pulled out my walking shoes, they were still covered in mud from my last Nordic Walking session the week before Christmas. The wet, cold spring wasn’t a great incentive for long walks and with the demands of work, house moving, family and “dealing with builders” the only walking for the past few months has been around the farm, rather than following long distance trails.

Arable fields on Paston Way, Norfolk

But in May, the lure of exploring new places with bluebell woods and blossom laden hedgerows is hard to resist and if fine weather is forecast, the maps are soon pulled out and routes planned for a good walk.

Last year, we started The Monarchs Way and though we loved the first few days walking through villages and beautiful countryside with good access to public transport, we later skipped a big urban section and took an alternative cross-country route to avoid miles of road walking.  We rejoined the official route but when we reached Stratford-upon-Avon, we tried to work out if transport and accommodation would be easier along the Cotswold Way rather than the Monarch’s Way. I’m not worried about walking every mile of a long distance trail; we often divert to visit something interesting and take different routes or miss small sections to fit in with travelling and accommodation. However, when we started to consider blue blazing a 100 mile alternative, we wondered if we were walking the wrong trail.

After much poring over maps, train timetables and accommodation listings, we have abandoned the Monarch’s Way, at least for the time being. It seems a bit defeatist and there are plenty of people who would grit their teeth and continue, but we walk for pleasure and if there isn’t any pleasure there seems little point in carrying on. Far better to find a walk that we enjoy. One of the reasons we started the Monarch’s Way was because we’d crossed it so many times on previous walks, so as an alternative we decided to try to link up all the walks that we’ve done. We particularly enjoyed the series of linked trails that took us from Lyme Regis in Dorset across the country to Cromer on the Norfolk coast, so plumped for extending that walk.

Beach looking northwards to Cromer on Norfolk Coast Path

After a search for our rucksacks (I haven’t necessarily put everything in a logical place in our new home) and with freshly scrubbed walking shoes, we set off for Cromer.

Wild flowers and grassy banks on footpath Paston Way, Norfolk

We wended our way along the very circuitous Paston Way between Cromer and North Walsham that took us along the beach, down paths overgrown with cow parsley and tiny country roads with grass growing down the middle.

Horsey Broad, Norfolk

When we reached the Norfolk Broads, it seemed silly to walk when we could jump on a boat to go nature watching across wide broads and drift through reed fringed channels.

At Great Yarmouth, the Weavers Way starts conveniently close to the railway station, so we jumped off the train, made a quick detour into neighbouring Asda to buy some lunch and set off along the banks of Breydon Water, watching a steady stream of boats navigate the narrow channel.


Berney Arms windmill, Norfolk

We reached Berney Arms Windmill, the tallest marsh mill at 21 metres high and turned north, leaving the river behind us …

Halvergate marshes

… to walk across Halvergate Marsh, where windmills and church towers are just specks in the distance and the sky seems enormous.

Eventually, we reached the edge of the marsh, back to the more familiar landscape of productive farmland and villages and sat on a bench in the sunshine to eat our lunch.

As we ended our walk, leaving the Weavers Way to reach the railway station at Acle, we paused to listen to a cuckoo calling. The first cuckoo I’ve heard this year and a fitting end to a good walk.

After a few glorious days walking, we’re already planning the next stage, so maybe the main reason we didn’t walk earlier in the year was that I just wasn’t enthusiastic enough about the Monarch’s Way.


By the way, is there an easy way to plot lots of routes onto a digital map?

9 thoughts on “A Good Walk

  1. Postcard worthy scenery from your part of the world as usual Anne. I love the scene in your third photo of the little track through the tall green grass and flowers, it looks quite magical. I have no idea about digital maps, at times they just confuse me!

    1. The photo didn’t do the track justice Jane. It was filled with so many wildflowers and smelt wonderful too. Mind you, it was a bit difficult to walk through in places because the cow parsley had grown so high.

  2. We need more walking in our lives! I have just hiked for the first time in months, and enjoyed it so much! Lovely scenes in your walk. We’re so lucky to have such beauty…

  3. All these “Ways” you can walk now! – I’ve never heard of the Paston Way, nor the Weavers Way – nor even the Monarch’s way but your pics look wonderfully inviting. I think you were wise to abandon the Monarch’s way when it no longer felt right for you – perhaps it’ll be a good walk for another day?

    1. I think we’ll pick up bits of the Monarch’s Way rather than try to walk the whole thing. There are so many Ways to walk that it’s difficult to pick one! Some aren’t way marked very well but so long as you have a map that doesn’t matter – though we do often miss turnings as we’re too busy looking at the landscape instead of the map. It all makes a walk more interesting.

  4. We haven’t been walking for ages either. We haven’t done any of the long-distance walks yet and would love to do at least one before we get too old! Your photos are lovely! We saw some of the views in your final pictures today as my husband had an appointment at James Paget Hospital in Gorleston near Great Yarmouth. We would rather have been out walking!

    1. I’d rather be out walking than visiting hospital too. Hope all was well.
      Try a long distance walk! They can be broken into smaller sections and it’s a wonderful feeling of achievement when you look at a map and work out where you’ve been.

      1. A long distance walk sounds like fun; I will have to organise something soon. My husband went for tests which couldn’t be done because they discovered something else which needs dealing with first! Fortunately, the doctor thinks the original problem is not serious and the second can be dealt with fairly easily.

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