November 2010-September 2011
Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path (which together take you from Knettishall Heath near Thetford to Cromer) and the Weavers’ Way (which takes you from Cromer to Great Yarmouth). The Angles Way closes the loop, in meandering its way from Great Yarmouth to Knettishall Heath, always close to the Norfolk/Suffolk border. The Angles Way is 78 miles long; the entire circuit is 227 miles – quite a distance, even if it does omit West Norfolk (which, given that we live there, we regard as the best bit!) from its ‘circumnavigation’ of the county. Upper Waveney Valley Project, which was looking to encourage visitors to the area. The path was extended to its current route (it starts by following Breydon Water, the combined ‘estuary’ of the rivers Waveney and Yare and, after passing the source of the River Waveney, it follows the Little Ouse River to Knettishall Heath) and named the Angles Way after the people who lived in the area.
For a path that essentially follows a river, the scenery is remarkably varied. The river itself goes (in the order in which we walked the path!) from a wide estuary to, well, nothing, with an attractive meandering river in between
(Bungay isn't actually on the path, which seems a pity, but we visited in any case.) There are also lots of pretty villages, with attractive churches. As Ian Carstairs, whose 'Portrait of the Waveney Valley' we bought as a highly appropriate way to mark the end of our walk, 'While the river provides the thread to this photographic journey [and the same is true for the journey that is the Angles Way], it is the churches, or to be more precise their towers, which clearly mark each of the parishes through which the Waveney flows.'
The route is waymarked with pretty blue signs bearing the words: ‘Angles Way: Broads to Breaks’ as well as the rather plain blue 'Angles Way' markers - and some of the older markers (yellow with an otter) are still in evidence. The signposting is generally better in Norfolk than Suffolk (where green metal signs are also used) - it's generally quite good, but has an irritating habit of disappearing just when you need it. The Ramblers’ Association guide ‘The Angles Way : Norfolk Broads to Suffolk Brecks’ was also useful, though the edition we bought in the Tourist Information Centre in Great Yarmouth in October 2010 was slightly out of date (8th edition: 2005) which caused occasional problems, especially when it said things like 'after two stiles' do such and such, with no indication of distance - stiles etc. are somewhat ephemeral. As always, we made extensive use of the Ordnance Survey 1: 25000 maps (four sheets: OL40, 231, 230 and 229. cover the whole path), though on one occasion (around Brockdish), the map showed an incorrect route. In summary, we found our way without much difficulty, but this required use of signposting on the ground, guidebook and OS maps.
Icknield Way Path) and (on a route of our own making, though I suspect it is pretty much identical with the Ramblers Association's Iceni Way) on to join up with the Fen Rivers Way at Brandon Creek. This enabled us to complete our journey along the Little Ouse River, to say that we have 'walked home' from the meeting place of long distance paths at Knettishall Heath, and it will also, eventually lead to complete a more complete circumnavigation of Norfolk.
For more photographs of the Angles Way, click here.