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Short Directions for Holland Hundred v5

5 mile markers:

  1. end of Clenchwarton
  2. start of A17 cycleway
  3. Guy's Head lighthouse
  4. Gedney Dawsmere Ch
  5. Holbeach Hurn turn
  6. in clear sight of Fosdyke
  7. Skeldyke: stripey sign to Kirton
  8. Boston petrol inwards
  9. Kirton Holme Rd
  10. Rushey Drove (50!)
  11. first sign to Surfleet
  12. Woolram Wygate
  13. Fengate Drove
  14. Whaplode St C
  15. Star Bridge bends
  16. L'ton Six Ringers
  17. Wheatley Bk end
  18. end of TSL
  19. start of Saddlebow
  20. Lynnsport!

Overview and Basics

"Very flat, Norfolk" has cursed the county ever since written by a famous author and it might not have mountains, but Norfolk has lots else: wild coast partly on a chalk ridge, seaside resorts, bustling ports, old towns, large areas of forest, rolling heath, riverside rides, rail trails, some of the earliest Quiet Lanes projects and, yes, flat land reclaimed from the water. It is almost southern England in minature.

This circular route around Norfolk (with a few small dips into Suffolk) is a good showcase for the smaller towns and varied countryside, both often picture-perfect. It could be extended easily into a longer tour by heading south into Suffolk from Bungay along RR 42 then NCN 1, then west from Ipswich to Cambridge along NCN 51 and finally north on NCN 11, using either its former route through Welney or the obvious minor roads through Littleport to Ten Mile Bank and rejoin this tour at Downham Market — but then you would miss Thetford Forest.

Basics

How many days?

The 231 miles could be done on a long weekend, but would be better over a week to allow time to visit some of the attractions on route — and there really is a lot to look at.

How hard is it?

Mostly easy rolling country, but there are lumps either side of Cromer and the climbs into Sandringham, Snettisham and Sedgeford can be unpleasant surprises for riders leaving the Fens. Also, the Fens and Broads can be challenging in unfavourable weather, with little shelter from wind, rain or sun, so keep both waterproofs and sunscreen handy, but riding clockwise offers a good chance of favourable winds.

What sort of bike?

The route is nearly all paved and mostly quiet roads, so any sort of road or touring bike should be fine. The longest gravel/sand section, in Thetford Forest, could be bypassed by riding a quarter mile of fairly quiet A road.

What facilities are there?

Plenty, with most larger villages having a pub and shop or two, but there are two sections with few shops: Wells to Cromer and Eye to Thetford each pass one village shop in 25 miles.

King's Lynn-Norwich cue sheet

  1. Follow signs for Hospital, then Bawsey, then B1145.
  2. At Gayton, R onto B1153 follow blue >5> stickers past East Walton.
  3. Continue straight on (SO) to Castle Acre when >5> goes right.
  4. At end, R into Castle Acre, L towards Swaffham, L at end.
  5. At end, L then R after pub, keep L then SO to Dunham.
  6. At end, R then L (Station Rd) to Fransham.
  7. Before church, L (Dereham Ln), then R at end, then L then R to Wendling and Scarning. At school, join cycleway.
  8. At junction with NCN13, turn right and follow to Town Centre.
  9. Before Argos, turn R (Norwich St).
  10. Continue SO to R (Mattishall Ln) signed "Swaffham (A47)".
  11. At end, turn L sign "Norwich".
  12. Continue SO to R sign "Colton". At end, turn R. At X, turn L.
  13. After golf club, turn R sign "Bawburgh".
  14. Before bridge, turn L sign "Bowthorpe". At end, turn R, then 2L (Bendish Way).
  15. At end, join cycleway, then R and follow Green to city centre.
Return
  1. Follow Green to Bowthorpe. At "Mayfly Way" sign, turn L.
  2. At next road, turn L then R onto carriageway, then L at roundabout.
  3. Turn R sign "Bawburgh" then follow signs for "Marlingford" then for "Colton" or "Village Hall", then for "E Tuddenham", "Mattishall", "Dereham", joining cycleway at the "Dereham Windmill" sign.
  4. At end of cycleway, rejoin carriageway and follow "[P] Cowper Road".
  5. Continue SO past car park, then L and R down ramp through Nelson Place.
  6. At end, R and follow NCN13 "Fakenham" until end of Chestnut Rd. Turn L.
  7. At end, turn L then R signed "Beeston". After bridge, turn L.
  8. At end, turn R. At end, turn R, then L and follow signs to "Castle Acre" including L then R across A1065.
  9. At end, turn R, pass shop, then L "West Acre".
  10. At end, follow blue ">5>" stickers to Ashwicken.
  11. Continue SO along B1145 to King's Lynn.

Sustrans network damage

I'm trying to start a discussion about what to do with the ex-Sustrans routes at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Talk:Cycling_in_the_United_Kingdom#2020_Abandonment_of_some_routes_by_Sustrans which I'd welcome more comments on.

Route

Is it signposted?

Yes, although it switches between 1, 30 and 11 on the way round. It's National (red) Cycle Route 1 from Lynn to Wighton near Wells, then Regional (blue) Route 30 to Yarmouth, National 1 or 517 to Lowestoft (except for any Ness Point and Marine Parade detours), Regional 30 to Weeting near Brandon, Regional (30) to Denver near Downham Market, National 11 to Watlington, 30 to Lord's Bridge and then 1 back to Lynn.

Is it complete?

Yes, although some signs on the Cromer to Yarmouth are smaller than usual or stickers on fingerpost arrows and there are occasional missing signs.

What does the route connect to?

National Cycle Route 1 connects from the northwest and midlands at Lord's Bridge between Watlington and Lynn, or from the southeast at Beccles. Route 1 can also be used to make a shorter loop or longer 8 shape by connecting Wells to Beccles via Fakenham and Norwich. More direct access from London and Cambridge is offered by Route 11 which joins the route at Denver near Downham Market (but this has been declassified by Sustrans in July 2020, so its exact route may change). Finally, Route 13 from Colchester crosses the route near Thetford and connects to Route 1 at Fakenham, while the Peddars Way MTB route connects Thetford to Sedgeford near Ringstead.

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