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Cycling for Fun in Norfolk

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 13 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Norfolk Cycling Flat Rides Bike Broads

Norfolk is extremely cycle friendly because it is, in the main, fairly flat and has some delightful scenery, including the Norfolk coast and the famous Broads. One of the best starting points is the Norfolk Coast Cycleway, a 92-mile route that runs parallel to the coast. As it passes through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the route can guarantee stunning countryside, dramatic views and fabulous wildlife.

The trail meanders along the county’s quite back roads and through timeless villages. It can be tackled as a single ride across the top of the county, or choose from one of the 10 Explorer Loops – circulars of between six and 40 miles that can be done in a day.

Norfolk has a reputation as one of the most cycle-friendly parts of Britain and this is chiefly due to its perfect terrain for cycling. It is not too hilly, so can be managed quite easily by even occasional cyclists, families and older riders, yet there is still plenty to tempt experienced cyclists and that includes savouring the distinctive character of the area; its tranquillity, birdlife, red tiled roofs, flint walls, cosy pubs, medieval churches and grand country estates.

Explorer Loops

If cycling the entire route from King’s Lynn to Great Yarmouth seems too challenging, the Explorer Loops provide shorter rides. These include Ingoldisthorpe (18 miles), Sandringham (22 miles), Ringstead (23 miles), Docking (32 miles), Walsingham and Wells (40 miles), Holt (24 miles), Cromer (24 miles), Quiet Lanes in Mundesley (18 miles), Broads in Martham (23 miles) and Caister Castle(6 miles).

Another option is the Broads by Bike network – nine circular routes ranging from between around six and 23 miles. The trails explore the northern Broads from Wroxham, Ranworth and South Walsham along River Bure to Neatishead, Barton Turf and Dilham on the River Ant. It includes a stretch that reaches the coast at Horsey, with its resident seal population and sand dunes.

As well as the Broads – medieval peat workings flooded by rising sea levels to create freshwater lakes set in 120 miles of lock-free waterways – there are links to nature reserves, wildlife centres, boat trips and riverside walks. There is also a chance to explore scenic villages with ancient churches and traditional wind pumps.

Peaceful Villages

There are short, circular routes around south Norfolk villages or through the expansive Fens or the peaceful landscape of the Brecks. Elsewhere, the Weaver’s Trail is a 13-mile ride from the charming market town of Aylsham to Stalham. It links with the Marriott's Way for a much more challenging 60-mile trip.

For something a little bit different, Thetford Forest offers off-road cycling. It is the biggest lowland pine forest in the United Kingdom and has miles of trails especially for cyclists. As well as organised rides, there is the option to explore the forest at your leisure. There is a black route, which is only for the more experienced and energetic mountain bikers, while family trails are much more sedate and vary in length between two and six miles.

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