Walk it off:

There’s al­ways a point in the fes­tive hol­i­days when it is time to put the Qual­ity Street to one side, get the dog’s lead and head out for a breath of fresh air...

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE -

Some ideas on where to go on Box­ing Day

WIN­TER­TON

Win­ter­ton is a won­der­ful place to visit in the colder months and makes a crack­ing Box­ing Day des­ti­na­tion.

Park be­hind the dunes in the des­ig­nated car park and then make your way down onto the wide white sandy beach. Per­fect for dogs, chil­dren and walk­ers, the beach is spa­cious and never busy in win­ter.

Seals have been spot­ted close to the shore and have even been known to swim along­side walk­ers on the beach!

HOLME AND HUN­STAN­TON

Holme-next-the-sea is where the Nor­folk Coast Path and Ped­dar’s Way be­gin. Holme’s claim to fame is that this is where the 4,000 year old tim­bers of Sea Henge were found, although they have now been re­lo­cated.

The beach is rel­a­tively quiet and is backed by sand dunes and there is a pleas­ant walk from Holme via a path to Hun­stan­ton golf course. Hun­stan­ton is famed for spec­tac­u­lar sun­sets, so climb the cliffs in the evening and ad­mire the dis­play from on high. The beach runs along the coast­line for a cou­ple of miles mak­ing for long peace­ful walks be­side the fa­mous striped cliffs where fos­sils may of­ten be found.

GREAT YAR­MOUTH

Fam­ily fun re­sorts in win­ter take on a to­tally dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter, with a de­serted sea front and all the amuse­ment ar­cades and en­ter­tain­ment palaces shut­tered un­til spring.

There is some­thing charm­ing about a quiet stroll along the empty pave­ments and empty beach – and the un­spoilt sand dunes of North Denes are def­i­nitely worth a visit, a spot where you can wan­der to your heart’s con­tent.

THET­FORD FOR­EST

If you like the idea of a walk in the woods, Thet­ford For­est makes a com­pelling case, not least be­cause it has four well-marked paths to choose from of vary­ing lengths, de­pend­ing on how much Christ­mas pud you took on board. One of the de­lights of the for­est is

that it can ab­sorb large num­bers of peo­ple eas­ily, so you can find your­self alone quite quickly although you may also have one of the res­i­dent squir­rels or deer join­ing you for com­pany.

If you need to pause for a mo­ment handy no­tice boards point out var­i­ous at­tractions and ex­plain the work of the Forestry Com­mis­sion, so you can feign in­ter­est while you get your breath back.

BLICKLING AND FELBRIGG

There are plenty of fine walks around the 4,500 acre Na­tional Trust prop­erty at Blickling Hall, which take in its park and lake. The Na­tional Trust has de­signed marked trails with sep­a­rate op­tions, de­pend­ing on how far you want to walk and what sights you want to take in.

Sights to see in­clude the Great Wood, the mau­soleum – Eng­land’s only pyra­mid (a great ques­tion for trivia fans) – and, of course, the house and lake. It’s ac­tu­ally quite dif­fi­cult to get lost and if you do wan­der on to an­other path by mis­take, don’t panic – they fin­ish at the same place.

Felbrigg is also a bit of a gem for walk­ers, with 500 acres of wood­land to ex­plore. There are way-marked trails through the Great Wood (do they all have Great Woods?) and a lake which may or may not be at­trib­ut­able to Humphry Rep­ton...

BRAN­CASTER

Some­thing of a poster beach for Nor­folk’s ‘big skies’, a walk on Bran­caster’s miles of sandy beaches, among dunes and salt marshes is an in­spir­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Get your tim­ing right and you might catch a glimpse of the re­mains of the ship­wrecked ‘Vina’, which lies on a sand­bank. Don’t be tempted to wan­der over too close, though, as the tides can be ex­tremely dan­ger­ous.

HOLKHAM

A vast and beau­ti­ful ex­panse of sand lead­ing for miles to the sea, with a back­drop of dunes and forests, this is an­other part of Nor­folk that can ab­sorb count­less vis­i­tors. Park on St Anne’s Drive – you’ll need some change for the ticket ma­chine – and make your way through the pine for­est to­wards the sea.

This wide-open beach is per­fect for chil­dren and dogs and you can make your walk as long or short as you can like. If you’re re­ally up for it you can walk along the beach to Wells, then re­turn to Holkham through the more shel­tered wood­land paths. The new Look­out brings some wel­come fa­cil­i­ties, too.

THE BROADS

With half the county only a 30-minute drive away from the Broads, it is a pop­u­lar choice for a fes­tive wan­der. If you’re feel­ing re­ally en­er­getic why not try the How Hill to St Benet’s Abbey walk? It’s a few yards over seven miles long but it’s pretty flat and is a su­per walk. The Broads Author­ity web­site has a good lit­tle map to down­load as well.

If you’re look­ing for some­thing less stren­u­ous, go to Reed­ham and take the lit­tle walk (1.5 miles) through the vil­lage, along­side the River Yare and back through the com­mon. It even claims to have a small hill to climb!

SOME USE­FUL WEB­SITES FOR WALKS

nor­folk.gov.uk/out-and-aboutin-nor­folk/nor­folk-trails na­tion­al­trail.co.uk na­tion­al­trust.org.uk/blick­linges­tate na­tion­al­trust.org.uk/fel­brig­ghall-gar­dens-and-es­tate holkham.co.uk

BE­LOW: Felbrigg Hall

St Benet’s Abbey

ABOVE: The win­ter sun sets over Bran­caster

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