When it comes to beautiful, foodie fantastic villages to have as a halfway stop it would be hard to beat Burnham Market. Our route there and back mixes a couple of visits to the quietest parts of the north Norfolk coast with winding roads through woodland and along the spines of the downs with incredible views and skyscapes all around.
Apart from a few meters of slow moving but potentially busy main road near Hunstanton and Burnham Deepdale this route is entirely on quiet country roads. Although it’s potentially the hilliest of the Hunstanton routes you’ve got to remember that this is Norfolk so none of the slopes are long or steep. Plus, if you don’t drop down to the seaside you’ll stay on the ridge and save yourself some energy. Alternatively, if you want to go long then you can extend east on Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 1 and join the Wells next the Sea route from the neighbouring Cycling UK Experience Hub at Fakenham.
Windmills and lighthouses
Whatever your eventual plans the route starts by rolling north from Hunstanton green, with fantastic views out over the Wash to Boston in Lincolnshire. When you get to the old lighthouse turn left to follow the track into the sandy car park and roll carefully down to the bottom, taking in the amazing vistas of the beach ahead. Rejoining the road on the far side of the car park you skirt the pretty village of Old Hunstanton which has roots reaching back to the Neolithic period some 6000 years ago.
Jinking across the speed limited main road, our route peels south inland towards Ringstead past the base of the old windmill on the brow of the hill. Then it’s east before going through Ringstead village itself, passing signature flint cobble and brick farm buildings before our first optional descent towards the coast at Thornham. We picked this spot out because it’s far quieter than the beaches at Brancaster but just as beautiful, with huge stretches of sand bordered by grassy dunes. It’s a gorgeous little village too, with no less than 3 pubs and a deli to tempt you into an early stop. First seaside loop done you climb gradually inland again, and onto the single track lane along the spine of the downs. Mostly sheltered from any wind and weather by deep hedges and mostly deserted apart from you and some very prosperous looking free range Norfolk pigs.
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