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The Rebellion Way: Norfolk’s latest long-distance cycle route


Two adults and two children cycle along the edge of a field with a stack of yellow  straw bales in the distance
The Rebellion Way offers cyclists journeys off-road and along quiet lanes (Credit: Saskia Martin)

Exploring the beauty and hidden gems of Norfolk just got easier. A new 230-mile circular cycle route, the Rebellion Way, has opened the county’s beauty and history for cyclists with a sense of adventure.


Cycling UK’s newest Norfolk route is named after two of Norfolk’s rebellious leaders – the warrior Queen Boudicca, leader of the Iceni tribe who fought the Romans 2,000 years ago, and Robert Kett who led a rebellion of up to 16,000 peasants protesting against land enclosures in 1549.


The Rebellion Way is the sixth long-distance trail that Cycling UK has launched and circumnavigates most of Norfolk. It explores some of the county’s riches including grand houses, Georgian towns, churches, and unspoilt coastline and countryside.


The picture shows a map of the Rebellion Way Running from Norwich to Diss, Kings Lynn and along the coast to Cromer
A large chunk of the 230-mile Rebellion Way takes cyclists through North Norfolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

But its name reflects that Norfolk’s pastoral charm, peace and beauty was not always so. Norfolk has a fascinating and turbulent history from the Iron Age onwards where its rural character and remoteness played to the strengths of Norfolk’s independent and rebellious nature.

A large chunk of the route takes riders through North Norfolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It follows a path from King’s Lynn through towns including Burnham Market, Wells, Sheringham, Holt and Aylsham and the villages of Oxborough, Castle Acre and Little Walsingham. The Royal residence at Sandringham and the Palladian mansion of Holkham Hall are along a route which is easy to ride and designed for those of all ages from eight to 80.


Two cyclists cycle through the ford at Castle Acre. Three people cycle over the footbridge alongside
The ford at Castle Acre offers a cooling dip on a hot summer's day (Credit: Saskia Martin)

The route provides an unforgettable experience revealing some of the hidden gems among Norfolk’s diverse landscape which is thriving with wildlife too in its woodland, coast and countryside. It includes England’s largest national nature reserve stretching from Burnham Overy Staithe to Blakeney which is managed by Natural England and the Holkham estate.

This long-distance ride forms part of the European Regional Development Fund Experience project which was a 24.5 million Euros scheme co-financed by the European Development Fund with the aim of developing sustainable off-season tourism. It was devised and funded in the days prior to Brexit.

It can be tackled as a six or seven-day cycling holiday or broken into bite-sized day-trip adventures exploring some of the county’s history, stunning countryside and coastline.


Two cyclists pedal down a quiet lane with a sign saying Quiet Lane
The Rebellion Way guide helps with route planning

A comprehensive guide to the Rebellion Way, has been written by professional cyclist for 25 years, cycling writer and former archaeologist Guy Kesteven. It includes practical advice and suggested itineraries for route-planning, and detailed maps with optional detours to make the most of the ride and the scenic and historic highlights.

The guidebook, which costs £14, is available on the Cycling UK website. It provides some real colour and detail to the rich illustrated history and stories of the landscapes.

Guy has also produced two YouTube videos showing him riding the new route

The Rebellion Way meanders along mostly flat back roads, byways, cycle paths and bridleways under Norfolk’s huge panoramic skies.

It follows the trail of Boudicca and passes the birthplace of Britain’s most-famous hero Admiral Horatio Nelson and the picturesque harbour where he learned to sail. It also takes in the historic pilgrimage site of Little Walsingham known as England’s Nazareth which has attracted pilgrims since the 11th century.


A group of cyclists sit around a table drinking tea during their break from the Rebellion Way
Cyclists take a tea break at Little Walsingham

Cycling UK, the UK’s leading cycling charity and trading name of the Cyclists' Touring Club, has about 70,000 members and exists to support cyclists and promote cycle use.

Its vision is to get more people cycling and improve public access for cyclists. Currently only 22 per cent of public access ways are open to cyclists – many footpaths actually ban cyclists.

Wells Bike Hire offers a seven-day bike repairs and hire service to riders throughout the year. It includes a rescue service for breakdowns (mobile: 07920016405). Hiring a bike for a full day costs £20 and a three-hour hire is £18. Wells Bike Hire provides maps and ideas for a day out or download Kamoot and log into their page for ideas of North Norfolk routes to download yourself.

Cycling UK’s tips to make the Rebellion Way a great ride:

  • Make sure your bike is in good working order with tyres capable of going off road

  • Wear the right gear for cycling - a helmet is a must and high-viz clothing so you can be seen

  • Do some muscle stretches before and after your ride

  • Drink plenty of water during the day

  • Eat regular high energy snacks

  • Keep your eyes on the road and off your phone

Read our other blogs which feature some of the hotspots on the route:

Admiral Nelson

Walsingham

Holkham Hall

Queen Boudicca’s camp at Warham

Beaches

Blakeney

Glandford

Georgian Holt

Norfolk’s deep history coast

Blickling Hall

Felbrigg



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