These Trailblazer guides … are a godsend for independent travelers.
 — Travel & Leisure

Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path

Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path

About the Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path

Contents | Introduction | About the Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path | Practical information for the walker | Itineraries | Using this guide | Sample route guide: Knettishall Heath to Little Cressingham



The route of the Peddars Way is a combination of the historic and
the more modern, the old and the purposely created. First used by
migrating animals and then the hunters who pursued them, the rem-
nants of ancient travellers are visible as shards of worked flint and
Bronze Age tumuli. The path as we now know it was developed
around AD61, when the Romans established routes across East
Anglia in the wake of the defeat of the Iceni (a Celtic tribe who
inhabited areas covered by modern-day Norfolk between the 1st
century BC and the 1st century AD) and Queen Boudica (also written
as Boudicca and Boadicea). The military route that was to become
the Peddars Way, established between the Roman garrison at
Colchester and the heart of Iceni land, was meant to offer access to
all areas of the region and allow troops to police the rebellious terri-
tory. As with most Roman roads it was built in a straight line and
constructed from locally sourced material.

It wasn’t until the 15th or 16th centuries though that it was
dubbed the Peddars Way in respect to the pilgrims who would walk
the route to the coast and the religious centre at Walsingham. In fact
it is just the best known of several ‘Peddars Ways’ which developed
at this time, which may simply be a generic term or reference to a
frequently walked path. Although the Romans had long since left, the
Way remained as a landmark and defining feature of the landscape,
used to mark boundaries, connect communities and transport goods.

In contrast, the Norfolk Coast Path is a deliberately constructed
route, made up from a series of existing footpaths and sections of trail
created to link them. The two routes were connected to form a Long
Distance Path, a title officially bestowed on them in 1986, when the
route was opened by The Prince of Wales in a ceremony on Holme
beach. Five years later the Long Distance Paths became National
Trails (see box p75), and the pair were duly accorded this status.

Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path