9 of the Best Norfolk Broads Walks
The county of Norfolk in Britain is perhaps best known for its Broads; a series of man-made waterways which offer over 125 miles of lock-free water travel for boats and barges. The Norfolk Broads are a national park, and within the area, you’ll find a huge range of beautiful natural landscapes along with quaint towns, villages and historical or heritage sites.
Whilst one of the most popular ways to explore the Norfolk Broads is by boat, there are also plenty of walking trails that follow the rivers and canals or criss-cross the countryside that the waterways cut through. It’s a beautiful part of the UK for walking, and there are plenty of designated routes that range from easy circular strolls to long-distance paths.
Whether you’re looking for an afternoon activity after mooring, are just visiting the area for a day, or are planning a longer walking holiday in the county, here’s our pick of 9 of the best walks in the Norfolk Broads.
The Weavers Way
This walk is named after the weaving industry, which dominated all of the trade in the Norfolk Broads in the Middle Ages. It’s a long-distance walk that covers 61 miles in its entirety, although there are circular trails that loop back from the route if you’re just looking for a daytime walk.
The Weavers Way begins in Cromer on the north Norfolk coast and passes through the Broads at Hickling and Thurne before finishing at Great Yarmouth on the east Norfolk coast. It’s a route that shows off the best bits of Norfolk, as well as passing through the grounds of National Trust properties Blickling Estate and Felbrigg Hall and the RSPB nature reserve Breydon Marshes and Water.
Several other walking trails link up with The Weavers Way, including another popular walk in the Northern Broads called The Wherryman’s Way. Whether you’re hiking the whole path over a could of days or just briefly picking up the trail as you explore Norfolk, you’ll find fields, valleys, woodland and quaint towns and villages as you go.
The Angles Way
The Angles Ways is another long-distance walk around the Norfolk Broads, this time covering 92 miles. As well as the whole route, several shorter sections form excellent walking routes for a day or a half-day stroll, as well as a couple of circular routes as well.
Beginning in Great Yarmouth, The Angles Way passes through the Waveney and Little Ouse Valleys, ending in Thetford. The route leads you around the Breydon Water nature reserve as well as through the Oulton Broads, so it’s a path that provides a brilliant range of different scenery.
The length of this walk means that most people only walk sections of the path, but because of its size there is terrain and landscape suitable for all walkers and interests, whether you’re looking for a route to take your family along for the day or are looking for a quiet walk after mooring somewhere close to the trail.
The Wherryman’s Way
One of the most beautiful and scenic walks in the Norfolk Broads is The Wherryman’s Way, which follows the course of the River Yare. Stretching from Norwich to Great Yarmouth, the route is only 35 miles and can be easily done over two or three days.
The Wherryman’s Way is one of the best Norfolk Broad Walks because the route is accessible by foot and bicycle, and is followed by public transport almost all the way from start to finish. This means that you can walk a length of the path during the day and catch a bus or the train back to your starting point, which is ideal for walkers with less stamina or families with children.
Several brilliant circular walking routes link up with The Wherryman’s Way as well, making it an ideal route for a gentle morning or afternoon walk. Another highlight is that there are sculptures, information panels and audio points at each of the route markers that add interest to every section of the walk and give younger walkers something to look out for.
Bramerton Riverside Walks
Whether you’ve moored in Bramerton or are just visiting the area, there are a plethora of different walking routes around the area that are suitable for walkers of all ages and abilities. Beginning at Bramerton Common, many different route options take you along the River Yare and through picturesque fields and marshland.
The Wherryman’s Way path passes through Bramerton, so it is possible to pick up part of this path as part of your walk around the area and make your route a little longer. The length of the Bramerton Riverside walks vary between about 1 and 3 miles, and the terrain is flat almost the entire way round. There are some stiles and off-road sections however, so it is not totally accessible the entire way around.
Burgh Castle Walk
Burgh Castle is a small village in Great Yarmouth, and is also the name of the English Heritage preserved Roman monument that is the start of this short, circular walk. Located within the Broads National Park, the route is about 1.5 miles and combines historical sightseeing with beautiful countryside walking.
The footpaths of this walk are very flat and smooth, looping around the village of Burgh Castle and providing an ideal opportunity to explore the area. This is another Norfolk Broads walk that joins part of the Angles Way, so the route can be extended if you feel like walking further.
Barton Broads Boardwalk
The Barton Broads Boardwalk is the best walk in the Norfolk Broads for those with mobility issues, wheelchair users or walkers with pushchairs, thanks to its smooth path and short, flat route. The entire is around 1.5 miles and takes you through the woodland around the Barton Broads, crossing the water and offering panoramic views over the entire area.
The footpath for this walk is elevated over the marshlands and includes an accessible viewing platform halfway around the route. Whilst it is a route that is suitable for almost everyone, it should be noted that dogs are not allowed on the boardwalk with their owners.
The Bigod Way
The market town of Bungay in the Waveney Valley is a lovely part of the Norfolk Broads which features a circular walking route known as Bigod’s Way. It begins in the town at Bigod’s Castle, which is where the walk gets its name from.
Bigod’s Way follows the river to the village of Earsham before climbing the hills that overlook the whole area, providing wonderful views when you reach the top. The path then connects with the Angles Way as it drops back down the valley into the village of Ditchingham before looping back to Bungay.
The whole walk is only 5.5 miles overall and doesn’t include any particularly steep climbs, making it one of the best walks in the Norfolk Broads if you’re looking to spend a day walking and want to explore the countryside as well as several towns and villages. It’s a great route if you’ve got children with you, but is also very pleasant on your own.
Beccles Marsh Trail
The Beccles Marsh Trail actually has three different route options of varying lengths, so it’s a walk that is suitable for those who want both a long hike or a shorter stroll. The marsh is on the outskirts of the town of Beccles, which was once an important hub for the wool and weaving trade, making this a great walk for those with an interest in history.
The longest of the Beccles Marsh Trails is around 4 miles long and takes you around the old grazing marshes, many of which have now been drained in order to grow crops. This route takes you out through the marshes and then back along the banks of the River Waverly, offering a lovely range of different Norfolk landscapes.
Hoveton Great Broad Nature Trail
The Hoveton Great Broad is one of the quietest and most tranquil Broads in all of Norfolk because it is not open to water traffic. Connected to the River Bure, there is a local nature trail that was first established in 1968 and is open to the public between April and October.
This is a brilliant Norfolk Broads if you have children or are just looking for an easy, short walk through a beautiful part of the landscape, away from the noise of the river. It can be reached by both boat and ferry and requires a quick walk along the river before you access the well-signposted trail, which takes between 30 minutes to an hour to walk around depending on your pace.
The paths and walkways around the Norfolk Broads are brilliant for walkers of all ages and abilities, with clear signposts, accessible terrain and relatively gentle routes almost everywhere. Norfolk is a very beautiful part of the country that has had much of its natural beauty preserved, and the only thing better than exploring the area by foot is travelling the Broads by boat!
How deep are the Norfolk Broads?
The Norfolk Broads are predominantly man-made waterways, so most of the canals are less than 4 metres deep. Don’t be tempted to test the waters yourself however; it is strongly advised that you do not swim in the Broads unless the activity is part of an organised event.
Can you moor anywhere on the Norfolk Broads?
Unless there is a sign which specifically states ‘No Mooring’, you can moor a boat anywhere on the Norfolk Broads. Some areas do charge a fee for mooring, but in most places mooring is entirely free of charge.