Head east to experience a range of art inspired walks, outdoor wonder walks, accessible nature trails and activities and art-led curated walks.
Take time to explore some of the wonderful sounds and sights on these colder, shorter days and longer, darker nights. Walk or ride your way through some breath-taking and unique walks and trails – witness awe inspiring sunsets and sunrises and let nature be your guide. Each is an immersive tonic for the soul and supports wellbeing, as you slow down and breathe deeply in stimulating land and seascapes.
Pathmakers is a charity dedicated to improving access to the Norfolk Countryside and Urban environments for people of all abilities and backgrounds. It holds an annual Walk Norfolk Festival and organizes regular escorted walks and tours around the county.
Pathmakers is planning Walk Norfolk 2023 now, if you want to get involved get in touch.
Three new walks in the form of Experience Packs, have been created by artists to frame a winter walk in towns on the Norfolk coast. Visual artists Rebecca French and Andrew Mottershead have created an experience in Kings Lynn; in Cromer local author and artist Sarah Lowndes’ walk explores the history and experience of past visitors to the town; and composer Ela Orleans has created a sound-score for Great Yarmouth.
Each pack will be more than a booklet or a map, it will be an artistic interpretation of place, providing materials and instructions for an audience to undertake a self-directed walk. Each walk will start at Cromer Museum, Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth, and Lynn Museum, Kings Lynn. Part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
(King’s Lynn / Cromer and Great Yarmouth: Ongoing)
Head East for accessible sailing and canoeing on the Norfolk Broads
Explore the unique habitat of the Norfolk Broads onboard one of the Nancy Oldfield Trust’s fully accessible Canadian canoes, sailing boats or explore in style onboard a motorboat.
Discover the signs and sounds of nature in real time and close up and marvel at the changing seasons as you navigate the quieter dykes and channels – only accessible by water.
For budding canoeists, the double-rafted Canadian canoes and hoists ensure a stable canoeing experience for anyone with special mobility requirements. The canoes and other types of accessible boats are moored close to Barton Broad, which offers calm placid water and is home to the Common Tern, otters and herons amongst myriad local plants and species of wildlife.
The Nancy Oldfield Trust is a registered charity, offering experiences that are more
accessible. It provides lifejackets, buoyancy aids (and binoculars if required). If you want to enjoy a longer break on the Norfolk Broads, the Trust also offers accommodation in a spacious, fully wheelchair accessible bungalow.
To find out more click Nancy Oldfield Trust Canoeing – Be Norfolk
(Barton Broad, Norfolk Broads: Runs all year)
EXPERIENCE AND EXPLORE NEW NORFOLK COAST NATURE TRAILS
EXPERIENCE an Autumn Walk on the Cliff-Top Paths of Sheringham and Cromer: Search for the Sea Buckthorn berries
On a clear winter’s day, take a walk along the cliff tops to experience the impressive 360⁰ view over both land and sea. Keep an eye out for kestrels on the wing and listen for cormorants as you follow the rolling coast path, meandering over close-cropped grass and scrubby thickets.
Until the end of November and into December these areas offer a prime location for foraging Sea Buckthorn. Wearing stout boots is sensible, as these bristly bushes have inch long spines and golden-amber, tightly clustered berries, which offer up a bounty to those who are willing to commit a bit of time and effort. Take along a sturdy tub and a pair of gloves and your cliff top walk will provide an abundance of culinary potential.
Sea Buckthorn is plentiful on the east coast; their roots send out suckers that help stabilise coastal cliffs and dunes, making them a valuable plant on Norfolk’s coastline. Sea Buckthorn are dioecious, meaning the plants are either male or female. The males produce flowers and pollen, while females produce the fruit. The bright orange berries which have a citric tang, ripen in late summer, and can remain on the plant throughout the winter. The berries of sea buckthorn Hippophae tibetana are rich in vitamin C and can be eaten raw or used to make preserves, desserts, or alcoholic tipples.
Stay a while, enjoy the huge landscapes, harvest your crop, then return to your kitchen armed with these restorative berries.
(Sheringham and Cromer cliff top paths, Norfolk / Best time to see Sea Buckthorn is November)
Sunrise to Moonrise at North Denes dunes. EXPERIENCE the liminal half-light zones between dark and dawn or day and night. Bookend your day in Great Yarmouth with a Sunrise and Moonrise encounter on the wide-open sands of North Denes.
If you wrap up warm and embrace the fresh North Sea breeze, the rolling sands of North Denes offers up its own barren beauty to brighten the shorter days of winter. This quiet spot, washed in salty mists and dotted with tussocks of marram grass, is a favourite with dog walkers and adventurers who want to get the most out of their day.
Be the first to greet the morning by heading down to the beach before sunlight. If you want to take breakfast with you, a flask of coffee and Pastéis de Nata from one of Great Yarmouth’s Portuguese stores makes a fine treat. Nestle down in the shelter of the dunes and watch the sun as it rises up and over the sea, full of promise for the new day.
As the world wakes, you can head into town and explore the delights of this historic seaside town and enjoy a varied selection of food and heritage experiences.
When the afternoon light starts to fade, take a gentle stroll along the shoreline. The winter sunset lights the rooftops and sends murmurations of starlings into whirling flight across the sky as the town settles down for the night ahead. If your trip coincides with a new moon, you may be rewarded with a crash of tides and brightly lit waves on a black sea. In September the Harvest Moon rises light and buttery, while the colder Wolf Moon of January shimmers over the wide horizon.
Getting there: Bus, car, walk and cycle. There is a ramp and step access down to the beach at various locations. Beach travel is difficult for wheelchairs, but a paved path runs along the length of the shoreline adjacent to the beach.
(North Denes Dunes, Great Yarmouth / Best time to visit between October and March)
Head East to Hickling Broad a medieval creation by locals digging out peat for winter fuel which today, is a unique landscape of Norfolk reed and woodland carr.
Throughout the winter, as sunset approaches, Hickling Broad is a secret place to watch nature’s clock unfold. Follow the path to Stubbs Mill where a Norfolk Wildlife Trust viewing platform will help to keep your feet dry while offering views over fields of waving reed, glistening water and lost long Broad’s buildings.
Over the years barn owls have found a safe place to roost and breed in the broken timbers of Brograve drainage mill, while short eared owls, with their piercing yellow eyes may be seen quartering the banks.
As shadows lengthen, marsh harriers start to arrive. It’s not surprising that these large, impressive birds, once nearly extinct, have a stronghold in Norfolk as their favourite hunting ground is over reed beds and marshes. Up to seventy birds have been seen circling around this roost site, a spectacle not to be forgotten.
As the sky darkens the best is still to come. The common crane, rare elsewhere, but common in the Broads, returns home in the dying light. These huge birds with outstretched necks and trailing legs proclaim their arrival with a triumphant call. This beautiful, evocative sound fills the air above Hickling and haunts both the landscape and your memory. As darkness falls it’s time to turn on torches and seek out warming refreshment at one of the nearby pubs and restaurants.
To find out more click The Phantom Drummer Boy of Hickling Broad – Be Norfolk
(Hickling Broad walks and wildlife / Best time to visit between October and March)
The BeNorfolk platform is a destination website for new Norfolk experiences. You can create a personalised adventures or choose a Norfolk activity or themed itinerary created by locals. Click here to explore.
BeNorfolk has been created by EXPERIENCE, a 23.3 million Euros project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (16 million Euros) through the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme. It is designed to develop the experiential off-season economy in a sustainable way. The project runs from September 2019 to June 2023 and involves 14 partners in France and England. It is managed by Norfolk County Council, which is piloting sustainable approaches to tourism. EXPERIENCE aims to capitalise on the emerging global trend for local tourism and engagement with the great outdoors, heritage and culture.
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Rural culture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EsBQdCn6xI
Coastal culture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toNIUUPekzE