Distance 15 miles (24 km) Type Easy Time 4 hourshttp://www.countryfile.com
In 1989 construction started on the Bure Valley Railway, the first narrow gauge passenger railway to be built in Britain for 50 years. The 9 miles of track run through the beautiful River Bure Valley, allowing a traffic-free cycle back. Alternatively, follow our winding trail as it detours to explore Roman villages, Flemish architecture and the River Bure.
Take the Bure Valley train from Aylsham to Wroxham. After a tunnel Norfolk’s rural landscape opens up and you can catch glimpses of the River Bure, mingled with grazed flood meadows. Cultivated fields adjoin lush marshy areas where the willow trees stand as testimony to the seasonal dampness of the valley. After Buxton station the train continues its rural course to Coltishall, then the line curves south to the Wroxham terminal.
Disembark at Wroxham station and follow the cyclepath as it runs alongside the west side of the railway line. At the first level crossing turn right over the tracks and continue straight on down the single-track road. Carefully cross the unmanned level crossing and turn right at the crossroads, then left to visit Wroxham Barns Craft Centre.
Retrace the route to the crossroads, turn right to Ashmanhaugh, go straight over the crossroads and take the first left down a no through road, which leads to St Swithin’s Church. Norfolk contains the majority of round tower churches in the country and St Swithin’s, thought to be of Saxon origin, is believed to be the smallest of these.
Retrace the route to the second crossroads, turn right into Tunstead and then take the first left. Cross the unmanned level crossing and continue to the railway bridge, before taking steps down to rejoin the cycle track. Cycling alongside the railway line is easy and gentle, and if you’re lucky you may catch glimpses of roe deer.
Just before the second bridge, over the railway beyond Coltishall station, take the footpath steps up, join the road to the right and take the first left to Lammas. Turn left in the village, cycling back towards the railway line.
Delightful pastoral views open up over the river and flood meadows.
After going under the bridge, take the second right and, after ½ mile, take a right fork to Brampton. In Roman times Bramptuna was a bustling industrial locality, then just 2 miles from the sea. The village sign is replicated from a Roman artefact now held in Norwich Castle Museum; earlier finds date back to the Neolithic period.
Cycle away from the village sign, over the river to the crossroads, turn left past a mill and continue through Burgh next Aylsham. After crossing the river, with more delightful river scenery, take the first left and rejoin the railway cycle path. Take care crossing the Aylsham bypass and pick up the path on the opposite side to follow it back to the station.
Words and pictures: Nigel Housden
Traffic-free cyclepath alongside train line, with detours on minor roads. Care should be taken when crossing the two unmanned main line railway crossings.
HOW TO GET THERE
BY CAR: From Norwich follow the A140 towards Aylsham. At the roundabout with the B1145, follow the signs for the town centre and turn right into Station Road.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT:
Sanders Bus Service 44 and 4 from Norwich to Aylsham and Cromer (Mon-Sat).
First Service X5 runs from Norwich to Aylsham Marketplace and Cromer.
Aylsham Station is approx 10-15 minutes easy walking distance from Aylsham town centre market place.
Aylsham Station, Norwich Road, Aylsham NR11 6BW
Ordnance Survey Landranger Map 133.
Grid ref: TG 195 265
Bure Valley Railway
Norwich Road, Aylsham
Single tickets: adults
£7, OAP £6.50, children £4.50, family £29, cycles £3 (call to confirm availability).
http://www.wroxham-barns.co.uk % 01603 783911