The hike

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.

Route from King's Lynn to Great Yarmouth
Route 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 Grand Norfolk hike in all its glory
The Grand Norfolk hike in all its glory

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.

The route

I approached the hike from three directions:

  • coastal route: King’s Lynn to Lowestoft, vaguely following the Norfolk Coastal Path
  • 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.

The stages

  1. King’s Lynn to Heacham
  2. Heacham to Thornham
  3. Ely to Shippea Hill
  4. Thornham to Burnham Overy Staithe
  5. Ely to Littleport
  6. Shippea Hill to Brandon
  7. Littleport to Downham Market
  8. Brandon to Thetford
  9. Thetford to Diss
  10. Downham Market to King’s Lynn
  11. Burnham Overy Staithe to Wells-next-the-Sea
  12. Wells-next-the-Sea to Sheringham
  13. Diss to Bungay (with wild camp!)
  14. Sheringham to Cromer
  15. Cromer to Happisburgh (with another wild camp!)
  16. Bungay to Lowestoft
  17. Lowestoft to Great Yarmouth
  18. Winterton-on-Sea to Great Yamouth
  19. Happisburgh to Winteron-on-Sea


The hike is dedicated to the memory my father, John Black, a great hiker and lover of the outdoors.


7 thoughts on “The
Grand Norfolk Hike

  1. Hello Martin. I have a great love of wild camping and have followed with interest your adventures. I live in Ipswich and have discovered some truly magical places to free camp ( or wild camp, stealth camp etc) in Suffolk.
    In 2007 I walked the East coast of Suffolk from Lowestoft to Bawdsey for the second time and loved every inch. I have planned to complete the North Norfolk stretch once my studies finish later this year. If there is anything I can help you with regarding this stretch (if you ever want to finish off the rest of the East Anglia coast) feel free to PM me.
    ps the sleep thing is common, its the excitement.

    1. Hi Will, thanks for dropping by and glad you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures. I badly want to finish my Norfolk Coast hike and venture on south into Suffolk, I’ll drop you an email when I get down there. Do you have a blog?

  2. Unfortunatly I dont have a blog or website-never really needed one and wasn’t sure anyone would be that interested in a bloke wondering about in the countyside.

    I have an idea! How about we swop journeys? Id very much like to be able to say i’ve walked the East Anglian coast, so I have decided to start work on my retrospective Blog of the lowestoft to bawdsey stretch desgined to be followed and to inform on areas to avoid. One mistake we made was the Aldebrough inland stretch-we nearly ended up on Orford ness which is when I started to learn about maps. I will try and post a video on Youtube on our photos, camp sites, interesting things that happened, kit, pubs etc. How does that sound?

    1. I’m always interested in reading the accounts of other people wild camping, it really is one of my fav. topics : )

      Swapping journeys sounds good, let me know when you have the blog/YouTube channel set up. Cheers.

  3. Hi Martin,

    Really inspiring blog. Am yet to wild camp but plan my first night on Wednesday this week, hammock and tarp, and completely new to it all. This is a precursor to cycling the entire Norfolk & Suffolk coast the week after, during which I intend to wild camp every night. Cambridge – Hunstanton – Cromer – Great Yarmouth – Woodbridge – Chelmsford – London (crash in a buddy’s flat) – Cambridge.

    Sharing your experiences in this way and in such personable fashion is truly commendable and extremely inspiring.


    1. Hi George, I’m really pleased you like my blog, it makes it all worth while. I love the your idea of cycling the Norfolk/Suffolk coast, especially the wild camping bit. I hope you’re going to blog about it somewhere?!

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