Four-legged Fun in Norfolk
Published: Saturday 14th Jun 2014
Written by: Rebecca Pead
The charms of Norfolk should be immediately obvious to any dog owner. A long stretch of beautiful coastline that reaches from the Wash to Great Yarmouth, hundreds of acres of countryside inland, plus the Broads National Park; it’s a wonderful county to explore on foot, whether you’ve got two or four.
Norfolk is blessed with a coastline that is over ninety miles long, and along that length is a widely varied landscape. You have the rough pebbly beaches of Weybourne, the grassy dunes of Hunstanton, the diverse and dramatic nature reserve at Holkham Bay, and the soft sandy expanses of Great Yarmouth and Caister-on-Sea. Most Norfolk beaches allow dogs, and they are ideal places to go for a good long walk, splash about in the sea, and find the odd bit of driftwood to carry. Sea Palling is an empty beach that is exceptionally good for dog walkers, and Cley Marshes is another favourite spot for the canine crowd.
One of Norfolk’s other outstanding features is the Broads. This man-made National Park in the east of the county is 100 square miles of serene waterways, perfect for a day trip on a cruiser. It may seem a bit of an odd suggestion for somewhere to take a dog, but you needn’t worry about leaving the hound behind as many boat-hire places supply life jackets with your furry friend in mind; a special handle is fitted to the back making it easy to retrieve an overboard canine from the water. With that in mind, the entire waterway is your oyster: why not hire a boat from Hickling, Horning or Wroxham and explore wherever the fancy takes you? There are lots of picturesque walks and trails that are accessible via the waterways such as the Blofield and Brundall Circular or the Weavers Way.
Away from the water Norfolk is a very rural county, dotted with villages and small towns that make great bases for walking trips to explore the countryside. Thetford Forest is a firm favourite with visitors and locals alike, the mix of pines, heathland and broadleaves covers over seventy square miles and is full of interesting sights, sounds and smells, ideal for a relaxing dog walk.
Taking in one of the many dog friendly County Parks that Norfolk can offer you is also a popular option. The majestic Blickling Hall, close to Aylsham, is a great place to go – the Blickling estate has 500 acres of woodland, 450 acres of parkland and 3,500 acres of farmland, large parts of which are available for you to explore with your dog. A bit further north is Sheringham Hall, a Grade II listed building surrounded by the beautiful grounds of Sheringham Park. The Hall itself isn’t open to visitors, but the park is owned by the National Trust and was designed by Humphrey Repton. Walking along the northern edge of the park gives you great views out to sea, and you might also see the steam train puffing by as it travels the North Norfolk Railway.