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    Angles Way

    November 2010-September 2011

    We had already walked the 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.
    The Angles Way was originally conceived as the ‘Waveney Valley Way’, designed in the 1980s by the Ramblers’ Association and supported by the  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
    . There are marshes, fens and attractive flood meadows. You pass through woodland and climb up onto higher land from time to time, passing through fields of cereal crops, grazing cattle and close to several pig farms.
     
    You also pass through the market towns such as Beccles, Harleston and Diss.
     (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.'

     

    We started walking the Angles Way on a cold and windy day in November 2010 and continued through spring and summer 2011 (so we experience a good variety of weather as well as the varied scenery). For many legs we used a bus or train to get from our parking place, usually at the end of the leg, to our starting point for the day. The number 580 bus was particularly useful in this regard, but it doesn't run on Sundays or bank holidays and so we ended up walking from Diss to the end of the path (where public transport doesn't help on any day of the week) before the stretch from Earsham (near Bungay) to Diss. Then, when I was using up some leave in September 2011 we tried a new experiment - a two-day leg (after leaving our car in Diss and catching the 580 bus to Earsham) carrying our own stuff, and staying overnight at a B&B in Harleston. This worked extremely well, and has opened up a new possibility for other paths.
     
    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.
     
    Having completed the circuit comprising the Peddars Way, Norfolk Coast Path, Weavers' Way and Angles Way we went on to follow the 'Angles Way link' to Thetford (most of this route is shared with the 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 go to https://picasaweb.google.com/JordanWalks/AnglesWay201011