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Thursday, 24 February 2022

The Peddars Way - Castle Acre to Heacham

Castle Acre to Heacham

A trek along the Peddars Way, following an excursion to Heacham for accommodation.

After three days of walking, the Peddars Way finally reaches the Norfolk coast. Heacham is not officially on the Peddars Way or the North Norfolk Coast Path, but it was the only place we could find available accommodation in the Sedgeford and Ringstead area for that particular night. It had been a tough few days walking on hard tracks and lanes which had took its toll on the feet so the prospect of gentler coastal walking gave a focus to complete this National Trail and continue on the North Norfolk Coast Path. This section of the walk with its open landscape and undulating hills allowed us to see just how straight the trail was - it could be seen stretching out into the distance for miles.


This is a walk summary intended to provide the user with just the essential information in order to navigate the walk route. Fully detailed information notes, refreshment stops and walk features are not included in this. A full write up will be included in the near future.

Castle Acre to Heacham - Essential Information

Walk Statistics (calculated from GPX):

  • Start location: Castle Acre 
  • End location: Heacham 
  • Distance:   miles (  km)
  • Total Gain:   ft (  metre)
  • Total Descent:   ft (  metre)
  • Min Height:   ft (  metre)
  • Max Height:   ft (  metre)
  • Walk Time:  
  • Walk Grade: Tough on the feet
  • Terrain: Footpath, Road


The following maps and services can assist in navigating this route. There are links to printed maps and links to downloadable GPX route data for importing into navigational software and apps.


Route Verification Details

  • Date of Walk: 02/06/2008
  • Walk Time: 09:30:00 to 17:30:00
  • Walkers: Griff, Steve M, Steve W, Martin
  • Weather Conditions: Hazy sunshine with some clouds, warm

Walk Notes

Route: The road northwards out of Castle Acre is the Peddars Way. Although the road deviates off to the right the trail carries straight on using farm tracks and lanes in an absolute straight line all the way through to Holme next the Sea. You cannot get lost on this! To get to Heacham take the Sedgeford road at Fring and follow this through to Heacham.

Pub: The West Norfolk, Heacham: Comfortable pub with cask ales and food available.

Walk Feature: Harpley Common: This Neolithic long barrow is visible as an oval mound 1.2m high and 31m long by 23m wide. This is part of a larger mound that has been destroyed by ploughing and the construction of the Harpley to Weasenham St Peter road. The mound is surrounded by a ditch about 4.5m wide. The ditch is now infilled. Local tradition asserts that treasure is buried in this tumulus and moreover it is said that rabbits will not burrow in it, or if they do they soon come out. Strangely enough there are very few rabbit burrows.

Walk Feature: Littleport and Magazine Cottage: The hamlet of Littleport is located on the Sedgeford road at the point where the Peddars Way crosses. The community comprises of a small row of higgledy-piggledy cottages and a local landmark called Magazine Cottage. This was built in the 17th century by the Le Strange family during the civil war as a gunpowder magazine. Legend has it that a secret tunnel ran from the old armoury to the church in the heart of Sedgeford. Today this small part of Peddars Way has derived its name from this historical building with Magazine Wood and Magazine Farm just a few steps away. All these properties were formerly owned by William Newcombe-Baker, a local land owner whose estate formed much of the land surrounding the village. He was also a founder member of NORMAC, the Norfolk machinery body that did much in the 20th century to bring modern mechanisation to arable farming in East Anglia. Magazine Wood was rebuilt in 2000 and from this high vantage point on Peddars Way you can witness the sun setting over the sea - one of the very few places this is possible on the east coast of Britain.

Notes: During the planning of this trail we had agreed that as we would be carrying full back packs, complete with camping gear, that we should limit ourselves to 15 or 16 miles per day. The plans went well until this section when it soon became apparent that there was no accommodation available in the Sedgeford/Ringstead area - the little that was on offer, the campsite at Courtyard Farm Bunkhouse Barn and the rooms at the GinTrap Inn at Ringstead were all full for the night we needed to stay over. Despite a concerted effort, the nearest accommodation we could find was at Heacham and this would mean a days walk of over 18 miles so we knew this would be a tough day and would take us away from the official route.

Note that the section between Sedgeford and Holme will be covered in a later blog when I revisited this section. Without a doubt this was the most arduous stage of the Peddars Way. The trail is pretty level throughout but the hard tracks and metalled lanes make very sore feet. I don't usually suffer too much but this section had the soles of my feet feeling like they were separating from my very feet and Steve W was seriously contemplating about calling it a day when we got to Heacham such was the state of his blistered feet. We hobbled around to the West Norfolk pub for some dinner and soothing drinks and did not even contemplate searching out the Fox and Hounds home brew pub such was our weary condition.

I have since spoken with other walkers who have hiked this section of the Peddars Way and it is telling that they have all reported how hard it is on ones feet. I would go so far as to say this is the toughest one days walk I have ever undertaken, and that includes some challenge walks and lengthy hill walking. I can only put the arduousness down to the hard surface that this route covers.

That evening we watched a thunderstorm in the west over the Wash and heard the weather forecast predicting some heavy rain for the next day. This did not help flagging spirits! In retrospect, we maybe should have broke this days walk up and gone off route into Great Massingham to explore and find some lunchtime refreshment and take a good rest. As it was, we did the entire stage with numerous short breaks and the only refreshment was the food we had purchased on the way out of Castle Acre. Despite the rigours of the day, one redeeming aspect of the walk was the country lane from the Peddars Way into Sedgford which was most uncharacteristic of Norfolk with the steep rolling hills on either side. At the time I remarked the fact as we past a farmhouse nestled in a hillside that we could have been in Yorkshire.

Accommodation: St Annes Guesthouse, Heacham comfortable guesthouse fairly close to the seafront

Transport: None

Summary of Document Changes

Last Updated: 2022-02-24

2011-02-09 : Initial publication
2022-02-24 : Convert to summary format


  1 comment:

  1. Should you need accommodation another time The Rose & Crown in Snettisham is a wonderful place, great beers, food and v comfy bedrooms, and much closer to the Peddar's Way than Heacham. And they can arrange a taxi or person to pick you up. Call 01485 541382 or email


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