I began the Grand Norfolk Hike in December 2011 and completed the final, 19th, stage in November 2016.
The original idea was to walk the Norfolk coast from King’s Lynn to Great Yarmouth.
I soon realised this wouldn’t be enough and I would need to complete the sort-of rectangular box that would take me back to where I live in Ely.
However, to really complete the gestalt and tie-up loose ends etc I’d need to also walk from Ely up to King’s Lynn. This would give me a grand total of just around 200 miles, although I expect the final number of miles walked is somewhat more than that.
The inclusion of my home in Ely meant the title of the walk should really read: ‘Grand Norfolk, Suffolk and East Cambridgeshire‘ hike. However that’s a bit of a mouthful so I’m leaving it alone.
I approached the hike from three directions:
- A coastal route: King’s Lynn to Lowestoft, vaguely following the Norfolk Coastal Path
- A border route: Ely to Lowestoft following the Norfolk – Suffolk border
- The River Great Ouse route: Ely to King’s Lynn, on the Ouse Valley Way
I walked different sections of the route at different times and in different directions, depending on how I felt.
I also managed two wild camps along the way; one on the coast and one inland.
- King’s Lynn to Heacham
- Heacham to Thornham
- Ely to Shippea Hill
- Thornham to Burnham Overy Staithe
- Ely to Littleport
- Shippea Hill to Brandon
- Littleport to Downham Market
- Brandon to Thetford
- Thetford to Diss
- Downham Market to King’s Lynn
- Burnham Overy Staithe to Wells-next-the-Sea
- Wells-next-the-Sea to Sheringham
- Diss to Bungay (with wild camp!)
- Sheringham to Cromer
- Cromer to Happisburgh (with another wild camp!)
- Bungay to Lowestoft
- Lowestoft to Great Yarmouth
- Winterton-on-Sea to Great Yamouth
- Happisburgh to Winteron-on-Sea
The hike is dedicated to the memory my father, John Black, a great hiker and lover of the outdoors.