Cycling UK has announced its intention to launch a new long-distance cycling route in Norfolk, which will be ready for the public to ride from October.
Called the Rebellion Way, it is a 228-mile (364km) route beginning and ending in the city of Norwich. It is designed to be ridden over four to five days in one go but can be split in half at King’s Lynn with onward transport options.
The Rebellion Way takes in a varied mix of country lanes, bridleways, byways, cycle paths and quiet ways chosen for their suitability for anyone with reasonable fitness on the vast majority of bikes. The route also takes in parts of the Peddars Way, an ancient long-distance trail that has been in use for thousands of years, as well as the Bure Valley Path, which has recently been improved by Norfolk County Council.
The route takes its name from two of Norfolk’s most fascinating rebellions: those of Boudicca and Robert Kett.
Sophie Gordon, Cycling UK’s campaigns officer behind the creation of the Rebellion Way, said: “Norfolk has amazing local history, beautiful countryside and vibrant culture, which makes it the perfect place for visiting cyclists. With the history of Boudicca’s revolt and the message of Kett’s fight for access resonating to this day through Cycling UK’s own work, we can’t think of a better place for our latest long-distance route.”
As well as passing through well-known places such as Norwich, King’s Lynn and Sandringham, the route also takes in some local delights including Castle Acre, Little Walsingham and Holkham. Along the way riders will see huge forests, endless coastline and even make a quick visit to the famous Norfolk Broads.
To help create the route, Cycling UK has worked with journalist and route curator Guy Kesteven. Describing the route, Kesteven said: “The route is a wonderful mix of ancient rural roads and even older tracks. Joining the dots of a deep and fascinating history with delightful places to stop and stay every few miles, all laid out under breath-taking big skies full of bird song and less rain than anywhere else in the UK.”
As part of its role in the European Regional Development Fund’s Experience project which is operating in Cornwall, Kent and Norfolk as well as three other regions in France, the charity has spent considerable time creating the Rebellion Way. During its development, the charity has worked with local stakeholders to ensure the route shows off the best of Norfolk.
Cycle tourism spending from cyclists in the UK generates £520 million per year. There are 1.23 million overnight trips each year, benefiting small businesses in particular, and these contribute £433m to the economy. A survey of riders of King Alfred’s Way, a route starting in Winchester that Cycling UK launched in 2020, showed that on average cyclists spent £83.60 per day on food and accommodation.
In preparation for the expected increase in cycling, particularly out of season, the charity is already working with the hospitality and accommodation sectors in Norfolk. Cycling UK is providing businesses with free equipment bundles worth up to £400 and advice as part of its Cycle Friendly Places initiative to help encourage cyclists to visit local businesses.
The new routes sit within Cycling UK’s wider goal to see the creation of a network of long-distance off-road routes across the length and breadth of Great Britain, taking in its amazing places and wild landscapes. The Rebellion Way is the sixth long-distance cycling route Cycling UK has launched since its riders’ route for the North Downs Way was unveiled in 2018.
In 2019, the charity launched the 800-mile Great North Trail, which starts in the Peak District and finishes at either Cape Wrath or John o’ Groats. This was followed by King Alfred’s Way in 2020, a 220-mile loop route from Winchester that travels through the ancient Saxon kingdom of Wessex. Last year saw the launch of the 150-mile West Kernow Way in Cornwall while earlier this year Cycling UK unveiled the Cantii Way, a 145-mile loop around the Kent and East Sussex coastline.