The Peddars Way is a wonderful ever changing, easy graded, 46 mile long distance walk starting from the pretty woodland of Knettishall Heath just outside Thetford, through to open countryside and tracks, past historic pingo ponds, along quiet lanes, heathland and arrow straight old Roman roads and tracks to eventually end at the sand and sea on the North Norfolk Coast at Holme-next-the-Sea.
It’s a complete contrast to the Norfolk Coast Path, but has so much more to offer in the way of history. You can experience both the Norfolk Coast Path and the Peddars Way with our Norfolk walking holidays here.
If you want to find out more about what you'll experience along the Peddars Way National Trail before making a decision, then please do read more below.
To see how our other walker's have enjoyed their walking holiday experience, why not click here to see the testimonials.
This is where you can choose your preferred walking options for your Peddars Way walk and where you can start the booking process.
There are three walking holiday options to walk just the Peddars Way. Many decide to walk both the Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path in one go. If you’d like to do that, please see more options on walking both the Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path here.
The Peddars Way starts just outside Thetford at Knettishall Heath and ends on the beach at Holme-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk Coast
Trail length: 46 miles from Knettishall Heath to Holme
Ease of walk: easy to moderate
Open from: any time of year
This historic and at times dead straight path will take you through pine forests, alongside heathland and MOD property, over board walks, along quiet country lanes and open countryside. It’s an extremely diverse walk with interesting historical roots. You will be following in the footsteps of Romans and Pilgrims.
PW01 - 3 days walking – from £430 per person (based on 2 sharing)
PW02 - 4 days walking – from £515 per person (based on 2 sharing)
Our prices for the Peddars Way walks are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own as a solo traveller, or if you are walking in a group but would like a single room, then the additional single supplement of £40 per person per night applies.
Trail Code: PW02
Trail length: 46 miles
Trail duration:4 days walking, 5 night’s accommodation
Average miles: 11 miles/17.7km per day
Prices from: £515 per person (based on 2 sharing)
At Explore Norfolk UK we go the extra mile. And with our accommodation choices, this is what you’ll get. It’s very important to us that your stay is just what you expect and more.
We know that you want peace of mind that when you turn up to your accommodation you’ll be expected (!), that the owners will be extremely friendly and helpful and that nothing will be too much bother for them. We also know that you expect beautifully clean bathrooms and bedrooms. Quality is key these days so we’ve made sure you’ll be able to relax the minute you walk through the door as we know you’ll have weary feet.
All of the accommodation has been personally chosen by us. We’ve made sure we have visited each and every one of the accommodations that we have picked for you, to ensure that you have the best experience once you arrive after your long day’s walk. For owners that weren’t accommodating to our needs, we crossed them off the list, and there have been a few over the years!!
Most of the accommodation on the route is bed and breakfast. The Peddars Way accommodation is sparse compared to the Norfolk Coast Path, so you won’t find any hotels along this route. There are a couple of pubs if you would rather stay in a pub than a bed and breakfast, please just let us know. There is one particular place I do transfer you as the pub in the village is not good and I would rather you had a good night's sleep and a decent cooked breakfast.
Once you have booked with us, we will send you confirmation so you can see where you’ll be staying.
Bed and breakfast accommodation in personally chosen B&B’s, pubs or hotels where all the owners have been met by us, and the accommodation has been vetted by us personally. We have taken the time to make sure you will be very happy with each and every night’s stay.
Baggage transfer from each night’s accommodation.
A detailed information pack with guide book, OS maps, itinerary with places of interest and places for possible lunches, as well as directions to the accommodation with the name and phone number of the owners where appropriate (1 guidebook and relevant maps for up to 4 people, 2 for 5-7 people and 3 for 8 or more people).
Emergency telephone support for us in the event of a problem.
Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks (unless you have requested packed lunches).
Travel Insurance – please make sure you have travel insurance to cover this holiday.
Transport for any rest days. We will be happy to book you taxis should you require.
Travel to/from Thetford and to/from Holme/Hunstanton.
Rest days -any costs for rest days or extra activities undertaken.
Additional nights used other than on the Peddars Way walk itinerary (e.g. rest days, any additional days at the beginning or end of the walk for your own personal holiday not covered by the itinerary).
Rest days - suggest you add on approximately £60 per person per night.
Solo walker and single walker supplements - please add on approximately £40 per night to cover the cost of single occupancy, maps and guidebooks for one, and baggage transfers for one
Detailed information on how to reach your accommodation at the start of the walk, by car, or on foot from the bus or train station in Thetford, will be included in your holiday pack.
Thetford is reached by road via the A11 or the A134. This vastly improved A11 makes the journey much easier than it used to be.
Holme-next-the-Sea and Hunstanton are situated on the West coast of Norfolk, north of Kings Lynn on the A149 coast road.
If you are driving to the start of your accommodation, please speak to us and we will check with the owners as to whether they have room or not for you to park. If not, we will check for alternative places.
To/from Thetford: Thetford has a railway station served by the Southern network. Trains run to and from Cambridge/Norwich and Ely.
To/from Holme/Hunstanton: The nearest train station to Hunstanton is King’s Lynn and served by the Great Northern network and has direct lines into and out of London Kings Cross
The National Express coaches go from London Victoria to Thetford with one change at Stansted Airport. https://www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx. The local bus service runs from King’s Lynn to Wells serviced by Lynx No 36 (https://www.lynxbus.co.uk/bus-times-fares/) and then from Wells to Cromer on Sanders bus CH4 and CH5 (https://www.sanderscoaches.com/copy-of-5-north-walsham---holt). Norfolk Green bus service No 10. And 11 also run from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton. https://www.norfolkgreen.co.uk/services
The airports closest to Thetford and Holme-next-the-Sea are Norwich International Airport and London Stansted Airport.
There is so much to see in Norfolk that it makes sense to take a rest day or two during your walk on the Peddars Way. Or maybe you may choose to take a few days at the beginning or end of your walking trip.
If you would like suggestions for rest days, please add any comments on your booking form and we’ll be pleased to give you some ideas. As we are local, we know places that would fit in with your chosen itinerary and that you’ll be glad you saw.
We don’t want you to go away from Norfolk thinking that you were only able to see what was either side of the Peddars Way!
Along the 46 miles of the trail, you come across precisely 4 villages, Stonebridge, Little Cressingham, Castle Acre and Ringstead. That’s approximately 1 village every 11.5 miles! So this walk makes for a wonderfully isolated time; time to think, time to switch off, time to just be at one with yourself.
If you want to find out what it's like to walk the Peddars Way in four days, you can read about this trail on my Peddars Way blog.
If you understand a little bit about the history of The Peddars Way, it will give this walk a little bit more meaning, because there are times when all you see is straight paths ahead, and at these times it’s great to have something to reflect on.
It's an incredibly historic trail dating back to AD61 when it was used by the Romans to form paths across East Anglia after the defeat of the Iceni tribe who were a celtic tribe and inhabited much of what is now Mid Norfolk.
Later, in the 15th and 16th Century this route was named the Peddars Way in honour of the pilgrims who walked to the religious village of Walsingham and the Priory there. This was, and still is, an extremely important pilgrimage route. So as you meander along this historic route, bear in mind that you’ll be following in the footsteps of Romans and Pilgrims.
What makes the Peddars Way so magical? It's summed up well by the article in The Globe and Mail written by Ellen Himelfard when she quotes the historian, Andrew McCloy, as saying the Peddars Way has "wildlife-rich hedgerows, ancient field patterns and broadleaf woodlands, timeless village pubs and churches".
I was also approached by Ellen to share some of my high points along the trail, one particular one was "the peace and tranquillity are fantastic; you'll be lucky if you come across anyone".
We can also offer bespoke walking holidays where you can get a chance to visit Oxburgh Hall and Sandringham House with the Norfolk stately homes walk called Ice Age to Royalty walking holiday.
On the early part of the trail you’ll walk through various woodlands, some littered with silver birches and oaks and other wonderful beech trees. And you’ll also come across desolate looking pine forests with cones galore on the ground. Obviously the colour of the landscape will depend on what time of year you walk the Peddars Way. Vivid golds and oranges will abound in autumn, whilst spring will provide you with new bright green leaves and possible blossoms. Winter (which is when I took these photos, gave me wonderful leaves on the ground and woods I could see straight through).
You’ll walk past a few heathlands. One important heathland is Natural England’s Brettenham Heath National Nature Reserve which stretches for as far as the eye can see and is hugely popular for birdwatching. This is the largest heathland in Norfolk and borders the MOD Training grounds.
Fairly near the beginning of the walk you reach Thompson Water which is renowned for its historical Pingo ponds (low hills formed back in the Ice Age) – yet more history on this path. It’s well worth taking a few moments to walk off the Peddars Way track at this stage and walk amongst a few of them. If you do this, you’ll also get to see the purpose built lake of Thompson Water which is beautiful.
Most pingo ponds in the UK have been ploughed up - the only other ones that have been found are in the Arctic Tundra, so again you’re walking amongst historical landscape.
Find out more about how you can walk this fascinating trail with Explore Norfolk UK here.
As you approach Castle Acre, you'll walk over the pretty River Nar and see Castle Acre Priory ruins in the distance. If you use Castle Acre as a rest day, this is a great place to come and visit, as well as the old castle ruins at the other end of the village.
None of your WWII relics here (as on the Norfolk Coast Path). This is a modern day army training ground. You’ll often hear a deep boom of a tank being fired, or in my case when I reached Little Cressingham, mighty machine gun fire. Practice is vital for Her Majesty’s Army, and this is one of the very important training grounds in the UK. When the red flags are up, you know you may hear or see action.
The Peddars Way is what I would term as a real “country walk”. This wonderfully peaceful walk takes you alongside very many large arable fields. Farming is vital in this area, whether it be pig farming or arable farming. As you relish in the peace and quiet of your walk, a thousand miles away from any thoughts about work or home, you’ll notice that life still goes on, with tractors working the land and livestock being fed and watered.
One interesting aspect of this walk is that you’ll come across the Norfolk Songlines created by Hugh Lupton.
The whole point of songlines is to tell the story between the connection of the track and the landscape which originates from this Aboriginal concept . The Peddars Way is an excellent example of track and landscape and a perfect place for these songlines.
Here on the Peddars Way it started as temporary markers such as stones, reed vanes and earth mounds, but more recently 5 stone sculptures were designed and placed at various intervals with thought provoking quotes. Although there are very few places to sit on this trail, once you reach these, you’ll find you stop and take the time to read the inscriptions. They really get the mind thinking a bit!
If you've got your beloved dog in mind, then the Peddars Way is much more suitable for dogs than the Norfolk Coast Path, and some of the accommodation along this route is more dog friendly than on the coast. However, many still don’t accept pets so you do need to let us know if you are thinking of bringing your dog.
Woodland smells, watery puddles, fields to run in! Wonderful! However, there are quite a few stretches of walking along quiet lanes, so if you don’t want to have your arm pulled out of its socket by being tugged on a lead, then it might be best to leave them at home!
Packed lunches are pretty much par for the course on this walk as you won’t come across many villages along the way unless you take a detour. Population is sparse!
Castle Acre is pretty much the first village you’ll come across which has a pub and a tea room, so don’t expect to be able to walk happily into any pub at lunch, as you may be disappointed! All details of places available to stop or buy provisions are in the itinerary that I provide.
If you’re prepared to make a detour, The Dabbling Duck in the pretty village of Great Massingham is also a great place to stop for something to eat. It’s a very pretty little village too. Or you may in fact stop here over night.
Population isn’t the only thing that’s sparse along this trail. Accommodation is also quite sparse but all the owners of the B&Bs are so friendly that you’ll love staying with them. Explore Norfolk UK has found some great bed and breakfasts for you, with extremely friendly hosts and lovely comfortable rooms.
The thrill on reaching the beach at Holme is something you won't forget. Having started in a wood way back on the edge of Norfolk, at times wondering if you were ever going to make it as you walk along the arrow straight roads, to see the sea ahead fills you with such wonderful thoughts of your past 3 or 4 days that you’ll be glad you made this historic walk.
This is a most beautiful walk at any time of year, but perhaps particularly in the spring and autumn, just when the buds are beginning to show, or the pretty autumnal orange and gold leaves are turning.
It’s such a different trail from the Norfolk Coat Path that to walk both trails in one go will leave your mind buzzing with wonderful thoughts of “how can a county be so different in such a small area”.
I’d love to help, discuss and suggest how you could make this walking holiday one to remember.