Concern About Proposed Properties to be Built on the Peddars Way


We at Norfolk Ramblers have been approached by Rosemary Martin, who lives near Merton, adjacent to the Peddars Way. This way is 46 miles long and follows the route of an ancient trackway that was in part used by the Romans.

She writes as follows.

“Breckland District Council recently granted permission for 3 large houses to be built directly on the Peddars Way, in a rural area, much used by walkers and horse riders. The site is adjacent to an SSSI and SPA, and directly opposite a stone curlew nesting area.

“The parish council has been contesting this decision with BDC on behalf of parishioners. It is believed that the decision was taken without all the statutory consultations and other legal obligations being made, and based on flawed/incorrect environmental and other data. I understand that the Ramblers and Peddars Way associations were not informed of this application. The complaint has now reached the Local Government Ombudsman.

“The Ombudsman spoke to me last Friday and informed me that they cannot deal with Parish Councils. I was asked to resubmit the complaint, but include names of individuals who felt they would suffer a grievance from this development. A grievance would be recognized as, eg, a loss or reduction in amenity value or reduced safety due to traffic. (The part of the Peddars Way where this development would take place is strictly a footpath and bridleway and the development includes nine garages and parking spaces.) I am compiling a list of people who would like their names added to the complaint. This includes parishioners, and all those who use the footpath.

“If anyone from your association felt they had a grievance and wished to add their names to the complaint, I would ask them to supply their name and address to me via or by phone 01953 880476 or 07563 505020 (after 21 August). (It might also be useful to know what use they make of the footpath eg walking, dog walking, walking with children, horse riding, running.)

“This is not a petition, so no signatures are required. It is possible that the Ombudsman might at some stage contact some of the people on the list to check that their names had not been added without their permission.”

The Ramblers weren’t informed about this planning application in advance. For those who want to check the application, it is 3PL/2015/0657/F and can be found at:

Sunny Day At Wayland Show!


Five members of Norfolk Area Ramblers were at the Wayland show yesterday to promote the work that we do. Thanks to all of those who dropped by to buy the books we publish and to our members who came to say hello.


Our area chairman enjoyed the day greatly! Thanks to Richard and all the others who were volunteering at the show, especially Peter who enthusiastically arrived early to put the new marquees up himself.

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Very fetching…..

We were also pleased to discuss the path clearance work we do with many visitors to the show. There was lots of interest in this and thanks to those who gave donations to help us continue our efforts to clear paths in the county.


We also had time to go and look at the snakes in the reptiles tent…..

And finally, thanks to the nice people at the Frames and Conservatories Direct stand opposite for the free ice lollies which were a great boost during the hot weather!


Come and see us at our next show, which is Aylsham Show being held on 29 August 2016.

Update on July 2016 Area Council Meeting

Richard May, Norfolk Area Chairman

Area Council is the forum which Norfolk Area Ramblers has to discuss and debate issues which relate to footpaths, and wider policy, around the county. We will now be offering an update onthis blog after each area council meeting giving some information about the decisions which were reached.

Here is a selection of the decisions from the July 2016 meeting:

· We have earmarked some £5000 of possible expenditure on a number of schemes to make improvements or repair, including particularly £3000 for repairs to a boardwalk at Blickling, plus extending it through a boggy area.

· We reviewed the work being done in collaboration with the British Horse Society and Open Spaces Society to make claims for public rights of way before the fast approaching 1 January 2026 deadline, after which historical records will no longer be able to be used as at present to support claims. The plan is to set up a systematic process of searching for possible claims, to avoid duplicating time consuming and expensive research work. All three organisations have committed funding for this, with initial money being spent on getting records at The National Archives photographed and shared. We are looking at arranging a number of local ‘hands on’ workshops for anyone interested in getting involved. If you are interested, please contact Ian Mitchell at

· We noted that permissive routes continue to be lost as Countryside Stewardship schemes end and farmers and landowners can no longer offer access under the former terms. Thanks to work by our members Allan Jones and Vic Cocker among others, the Norfolk Local Access Forum has taken this on and is working to promote agreements between landowners and Norfolk County Council to establish permissive routes under new contracts.

The Area Council is always pleased to welcome volunteers to help protect, improve and extend our walking network: we currently have a range of vacant posts on the Council, as well as seeking more help with many of our activities. Current needs are for people to help with press and publicity, help with our newsletter, people to monitor planning applications that might affect public rights of way, people to survey and check proposed walks, to attend shows and events, and to manage our website and social media. If you are a member of The Ramblers with time to spare, please get in touch with Ken Hawkins via

Worstead Show – and see us at Wayland


In addition to the Sandringham Show, mentioned in a separate blog post, we also had a stand at the Worstead Festival this week. There was a great attendance and atmosphere at the festival, and we were delighted to welcome hundreds of people to our stand.

We were giving away balloons, pens and badges as usual! But, perhaps more importantly, we wanted to hear questions about the paths network and our work, and we’re delighted that so many people wanted to engage about that. We perform our own path clearance now, and we’re always keen to hear about footpath problems in Norfolk that we can try to fix.

We also had an offer of buy two books for £5 to help support our path clearance work. We’ll be at the Wayland show on 7  August 2016 – and we hope to see lots of people there!

Thanks also to our volunteers who manned the stand over the weekend   🙂

Work to clear overgrown pathways in Dereham

Dereham 01a-30

Members from Norfolk Ramblers have again been battling overgrown footpaths in the county, this time our equipment has been used in Dereham.

The rapid growth of nettles and brambles had once again rendered Dereham Restricted Byway 31 virtually impassable for ordinary walkers. In addition to ordinary walkers denied access to this path, it was scheduled for a Ramblers’ walk next weekend.

Dereham 31-26

So Peter James, supported by Catherine and Ken Hawkins, spent the morning of 16 June clearing it to his usual high standard. Not content with this, he went on to clear a nearby footpath (1a), where the farmer had cleared the crop, but weeds had grown up making walking difficult (and unpleasant in wet weather).

Dereham 28-94

Thanks to those involved with this clearance – which is much appreciated not just by members of the Ramblers, but also by the local community. Please get in touch with us if you have problems with overgrown footpaths in any other parts of the county.

Peter James will soon become the new Anneka Rice in Challenge Anneka type projects to clear footpaths across Norfolk! There is video footage of his path clearance on our Facebook page at:

Norfolk Walkers Brave 26.2 Mile Marathon Walk!


There was an excellent turnout for the marathon length walk which was organised by Jim from the Norwich group. Members from various groups across the county took part in the walk which went through beautiful scenery and coast.


Villages and towns visited on the walk included Paston, Edingthorpe, Bacton, Happisburgh, Eccles-on-Sea, Lessingham and Ridlington.


Despite being a Bank Holiday, the weather was fortunately favourable to the twenty walkers taking part in the walk.


More longer walks are being planned over the next few months to the already extensive walking programme offered by the Ramblers. There are short walks of two miles through to these longer 18+ mile walks, offering great variety to members.

Congratulations to those who completed the walk – including some who hadn’t tried a walking challenge of this length before. Also special mention to Andy Coghlan who was walking as part of a charity challenge – more information at:


King’s Lynn Ramblers – Photos from Past Walks


For those who haven’t yet seen it, King’s Lynn Ramblers have an excellent web-site with photos and updates from past walks. Above is a photo from their web-site which was taken by John Hocknell at the group’s Bluebell and Garlic Walk at Reffley Wood.

The site can be found at:

Their web-site also has a list of the group’s walks and lots of background information. New members are always welcome!

More Path Clearance Work from Norfolk Ramblers

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A photo from an earlier path clearance project in Dereham

After our investment in new path clearance equipment we’ve been able to clear several footpaths in the area already. We will put photos on this site on an ongoing basis to show the work that has been achieved.

Below are two further examples of footpaths which are now passable and many thanks to the volunteers who have been involved with this project.

The photos below show paths at Little Ellingham (FP7) and Great Ellingham (FP12) before and after our work.

2016-04-19 23.04.18 before (1)

2016-04-19 23.19.12 after (1)

2016-04-20 00.34.56 before (1)

2016-04-20 01.06.20 (1)

Good News as Dereham is Awarded “Walkers are Welcome” Status


A member of Norfolk Ramblers has been instrumental in helping Dereham become the fourth Norfolk town to gain the coveted “Walkers are Welcome” status. This is an award from the national body which is given to locations which are attractive destinations for walkers with high quality information about the local walks.

The planning for the application started when Ken Hawkins, the area secretary for Norfolk Ramblers and the footpath warden for Dereham Town Council, was able to lead an application to secure funding from Breckland District Council to produce 3,000 copies of a Dereham Walks pack. There were two guided walks for members of the public arranged to show local residents what was available just a short distance away.

It wasn’t just Ken’s hard work which has been important in seeing this endorsement as others including Tim Birt, Neil Cliff, Kate Millbank, Dorothy Sneesby, Martin Sneesby, Sue Rothwell and Jean Stratford all played their parts in driving the process forward. They helped to ensure that sufficient public support was demonstrated as 5% of the town needed to get behind the project, which was 900 Dereham residents. Over 950 signatures were achieved thanks to the committee members and other local institutions.

Richard May, the area chairman of Norfolk Ramblers, said:

“This is great news for walkers living in Dereham and another good reason for visitors to come to the town: we’re all proud of the work that Ken and others have put in to not only getting this proposal off the ground, but also by engaging with local residents.”

Two walkers from Hike Norfolk attempt coast to coast walk

Liam at the finishing point – the North Sea at Scarborough.

Two walkers from Hike Norfolk, Julian White and Liam D’Souza undertook a walking challenge from Morecambe on the west coast to Scarborough on the east coast of the country. The challenge lasted for six days from 4 to 9 April 2016.

Despite Julian’s impressive bravery he had to withdraw mid-way through day five of six, but Liam completed the challenge. It was over 130 miles in total and full of challenges such as sleet, rain, scary sheep, bogs and closed pubs.

They blogged their walk, with many photos, at:

Richard May, the new area chairman of Norfolk Ramblers said:

“Congratulations to Liam and Julian on their inspiring achievements on their coast to coast walk”.

We are all hoping that Richard too will be in training for a coast to coast walk in the future. Hike Norfolk is one of the ten groups within Norfolk Area Ramblers and there is more information about them at: