My purchase of a sturdy off road bike in the Spring spurred me on to do an off-road ride. Seeing “Unsurfaced Swaffham” promoted in April/May edition of Cycle UK, I mentioned it to Christine and we decided to give it a go. Downloaded the GPX file, booked overnight accommodation in Swaffham and sorted out the train to King’s Lynn.
We did have quite a few navigational errors so certainly found Christine’s GPX Viewer a great help. Leaving King’s Lynne on Route 1 for Sandringham we went through Castle Rising past the dramatic Norman and Victorian church and wide-open grounds for Sandringham. Very busy here, and we thought time for lunch and an ice cream. Afterwards we found ourselves on the Peddars Way, eight miles of off road down prehistoric trackway to Castle Acre. On our approach we met the Latin Mass Pilgrimage walking from Ely to Walsingham. It was late afternoon so the popular teashop in Castle Acre was closed. We cycled along to look at the ruins of the priory. Dating back to 1090 it was the home of the first Cluniac order of monks.
We were pleased arrive in Swaffham and quickly checked in to The George Hotel for welcome cup of tea. This busy market town retains a lot of Georgian charm and buildings.
In the evening we enjoyed a good meal at Rasputin, the first and only Russian Restaurant in East Anglia serving authentic Russian food and drink, including a couple of shots from the vodka menu.
Awoke to a lovely sunny morning for our journey back to King’s Lynn. This was a largely traffic free ride along bridleways (very overgrown!) flint, very sandy tracks, some difficult to ride and concrete tracks through farms. Around midday, feeling hot we stopped for a welcome drink at The Carpenters Arms, West Winch before continuing our journey to King’s Lynn passing nearby Bawsey Lakes. Typically, the signage to the station was very good, all going well, then no signs at couple of roundabouts. Eventually arriving at station to see we had missed our train so went into the town for a coffee. The train journey home as a little slow, arriving late at Kings Cross which meant I had to quickly cycle to Euston for my train back to Tring with minutes to spare, I just made it!
Looking back at our first off road adventure we felt it was moderately successful, owing mainly, to navigation errors. The off-road grade was intermediate, although flat, the cycling was a little challenging. The weather was on our side and we had a great time going through some very picturesque historic villages.
Note: the route begins and ends in Swaffham as there is no train station we opted to start and finish in Kings Lynn.
52 miles Explorer Map 236
GPX file: cyclinguk.org/route/weekender-Swaffham
Angela and Christine August 2022.