Route details, maps, pubs, features, local history and folklore for a wide variety of walks focusing primarily on Norfolk and Suffolk

Thursday, 4 April 2019

A Hike along the Marriotts Way

Sculpture that marks the start of the Marriotts Way at Norwich

The Marriott's Way links Aylsham and Norwich following the former trackbed of the Midland and Great Northern Railway.

The Marriott's Way is a footpath, bridleway and cycle route, which follows the routes of two disused railway lines, and runs between the historic market town of Aylsham and the medieval city of Norwich. Along with the mileage markers which are created from old rails complete with a metal rubbing plaque, there are numerous concrete sculptures, village markers, interactive sound boxes and benches which all provide added interest and information along the route.

A Hike along the Marriott's Way - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

Start point
Norwich View in OS Map | View in Google Map
End Point
Aylsham View in OS Map | View in Google Map
Total Walk distance
26.0 miles
Walk difficulty


The following maps and services can assist in navigating this route. The links include published hard copy as well as online plots and downloadable GPX route data for importing into navigational software and apps.

Ordnance Survey Explorer Map
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Online Ordnance Survey Route
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Online OpenStreetMap Route
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Online Google Route
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ViewRanger App Route
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GPX data for route (download)


Woodhill Park CampsiteView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Woodhill Park Campsite, Runton


Details of public transport that is required for the walk

Sanders Coaches - bus Service
Service Details
44 - Linking Sheringham, Cromer, Aylsham and Norwich

Walk Data

Date of Walk
Walk Time
08:00 to 18:00
Griffmonster, Kat
Weather Conditions
Blue skies, bright sunshine but a brisk cool easterly wind

Walk Notes

This is an easy walk to navigate, sticking pretty religiously to the former track bed of the M&GNR route from Aylsham to Norwich. One can complete the distance in a day provided one was fit and used to long distance walking. To cut it down a little, one can miss out the Themelthorpe loop by cutting across from Reepham to Whitwell. This option was chosen on this occasion and provides the added advantage of a refreshment stop in Reepham.

The route starts/ends on the Norwich Road out of Aylsham, just beyond the Tesco supermarket. I guess this is officially the end as the first marker along the trail indicates 26 miles. The route is punctuated by various sculptures, information boards and mileage markers providing constant interest throughout. Constant reminders of the former railway include the numerous bridges, former railway buildings and station platforms. There is also the Whitwell railway museum which is a working railway hosting a varity of rolling stock including steam and diesel engines.

The trail is regularly used by both walkers and cyclists, particularly the section that navigates through the suburbs of Norwich, and even through to Lenwade.

Steam engine at Whitwell Station
Steam engine at Whitwell Station


The path is so simple to follow that it is a case of navigating to Aylsham Station and the path continues along the old railway track by the side of the Tesco superstore. You cannot get lost on this!

Reepham to Whitwell missing out the Themelthorpe loop

From Reepham station, walk out of the station yard back to the road, turn right and follow the road through the town. At the crossroads continue straight ahead until you come to a school on the right. Take the lane on the left before the school which leads down by the school playing fields. At the bottom of the playing fields a footpath on the left leads through to the old railway track at Whitwell.

Lenwade excursion

Before the Lenwade station is reached and just after crossing the River Wensum there is a path on the right which follows the river into Lenwade. Once this meets the main road, turn right and walk into Lenwade across the bridge.

A zip mileage markerRiver Wensum
On the left A zip mileage marker; On the right River Wensum


The Bridge Inn, Lenwade View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
Fakenham Road, Lenwade

A family run Free House with a good reputation for their home cooked food. Open all day and serving meals from 12am - 9pm. The pub is set in 30 acres of private grounds with an outdoor seating area by the Lakeside Gardens and private fishing available on 2 specimen lakes of eight and five acres, 2 smaller carp lakes, 2 match/pleasure ponds and a 300 yds stretch of the fabulous river Wensum. Ales on offer include Adnams and Woodfordes.

The Red Lion, Drayton View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub

The Red Lion is a listed building and former coaching inn dating from 1768. A varied menu is on offer together with a carvery offering fresh vegetables and a choice of three roasts. Ales include Greene King and Wolf.


Very nice pint of Wolfs Straw Dog.

Mill at Lenwade
Mill at Lenwade


Midland and Great Northern RailwayView in OS Map | View in Google Map

The Marriott's Way uses the trackbeds of two former railway lines, from Themelthorpe to Norwich and the Themelthorpe to Aylsham. The Themelthorpe to Norwich line was built in 1882 by the Lynn and Fakenham Railway Company which was taken over by the M&GN in 1893, as part of a line that ran to Melton Constable. This line gave a through route to the Midlands. The Themelthorpe to Aylsham line was completed in 1893 by the Great Eastern Railway to provide a link to its other lines at Wroxham and County School railway station close to North Elmham. The lines were never profitable. Freight services were largely based on farm products and the line closed to passenger traffic in 1959. In 1960 the two lines were joined by the Themelthorpe Curve, believed to be the sharpest bend in the British Rail network. Its construction was to keep open the important movement of concrete products from Lenwade railway station. Once concrete production ceased in 1985 the line was closed. Several concrete public works of art can be seen along the way a constant reminder of the lines connection with the concrete industry and of its last days as a freight line carrying concrete products. Also on view are hand crafted benches and places to rest. Many of them memorials to cyclists and other way users.


Whitwell and Reepham RailwayView in OS Map | View in Google Map

The station was opened in 1882 as part of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway's branch from the main line at Melton Constable to Norwich City. The station closed in 1959 and the track was lifted in 1985 once the line finally fell into disuse. The station site was used for a tree surgery business, as offices, and for the parking of coaches and a workshop and garage. At one point there was a proposal to dismantle the station building and re-erect it at Holt station on the North Norfolk Railway. The Whitwell and Reepham Railway society reopened the station on the 28th February 2009 nearly 50 years after it was closed to passengers. The continuing aims of the society are to restore the Station to its former glory circa 1930/40's, relay track and sidings, acquire rolling stock and add more items to the museum relating to the Station and The Midland and Great Northern Railway.

Whitwell Station
Whitwell Station

Links and Bibliography:


Below are a selection of images taken from from the photo album for this walk. Feel free to browse through these or click on an image to view a larger version in the Gallery.

Summary of Document Changes

Last Updated: 2019-04-05

2011-05-16 : Initial publication
2013-04-10 : update broken links
2017-12-19 : general maintenance updates
2019-01-29 : general maintenance updates + rework notes
2019-04-04 : fix bad links


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