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It's now easier to enjoy Norfolk's National Trails

It's now easier to enjoy Norfolk's National Trails

Published by Grace Marner
12:51pm 14th August 2019.

Norfolk's beautiful landscapes are now more accessible.

The Norfolk County Council Trail Team has been removing obstructions like stiles in the paths.

For the first time in its 33 year history, the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trails are now completely stile-free, making them more accessible than ever for everyone.

The stile before work began
The stile before work began

Norfolk County Council's Trails Team has been hard at work planning the improvements, then carrying them out through the summer months, making sure there are no obstructions along the entirety of both routes.

Stiles can restrict access to the countryside for many, because they can be difficult to climb over.

National Trails are long distance walking, cycling and horse riding routes that take people through the best landscapes in England and Wales. 

One alternative is to leave a gap in a boundary, although this can involve a legal process, especially where land is used for grazing livestock. 

A workman replacing the stile
The final stile was removed last week

Another option is a gate, making access along the path much easier for the hundreds of walkers that visit each month, but also keeping the boundary intact.

Councillor Andy Grant, Norfolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "This is a real accomplishment by our Trails team. 

It builds on the amazing strides they've been making over the last few years, including creating a variety of Access Tested walks, ensuring as many people as possible are able to get out and enjoy our stunning countryside."

The new gate being fitted

There are 'Access Tested' walks across several major trails in Norfolk, which have extensive information about ground conditions, the width of paths, nearby facilities, and other useful information.

The final stile was removed just last week, from the section of the Norfolk Coast Path that crosses Brancaster Marshes, an area of common land between Brancaster and Brancaster Staithe.

The Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path become only the 4th National Trail walking route to become stile-free, following access improvements on the Yorkshire Wolds Way, The Thames Path and the Ridgeway National Trails.

The work was made possible by working in partnership with the National Trust, who own the land, and the common rightsholders that occupy the site, the Scolt Head and District Common Rightholders Association (SHDCRA).

National Trust Countryside Manager, Chris Bielby said: 

"It is so important that as many people as possible can have the opportunity to visit this wonderful place.

"Removing this stile means those with restricted mobility can now enjoy uninterrupted access along this special stretch."

For more information on National Trails including the Norfolk Coast Path and Peddars Way visit National Trails website.

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