Search

Boots and bicycles to tread where steam engines once roared as part of proposed 'greenways' network

PUBLISHED: 16:16 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:52 15 January 2019

The coastal path beside Weybourne Railway Station, which is part of the North Norfolk Railway. Norfolk County Council hopes to establish more paths for walking and riding along the routes of former railway lines. Image: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

The coastal path beside Weybourne Railway Station, which is part of the North Norfolk Railway. Norfolk County Council hopes to establish more paths for walking and riding along the routes of former railway lines. Image: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Archant

They were once Norfolk's arteries, conveying residents and visitors in their thousands across the county for business as well as pleasure.

A map showing the proposed Greenway routes between King's Lynn and Hunstanton, King's Lynn and Fakenham and Aylsham and Stalham, along with current, heritage and disused railways around Norfolk. Image: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCILA map showing the proposed Greenway routes between King's Lynn and Hunstanton, King's Lynn and Fakenham and Aylsham and Stalham, along with current, heritage and disused railways around Norfolk. Image: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

But many stretches of countryside which once bore steam locomotives have lain deserted for decades as railway routes closed down.

Now a fresh attempt to revive a trio of disused railway routes is underway - but instead of being driven by coal and steel, new visitors are to be powered by boot and bicycle.

Norfolk County Council is looking at turning the former Aylsham to Stalham, King’s Lynn to Fakenham and King’s Lynn to Hunstanton routes into cycling, walking and ‘wildlife-friendly’ paths to be known as ‘greenways’.

Matt Hayward, the Greenways projet lead, said: “We’re trying to identify the benefits in four key areas: economic, social, health and environmental.”

Marriott's Way trail in Norfolk. The county council wants to extend Norfolk's network of 'Greenways' similar to this. Image: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCILMarriott's Way trail in Norfolk. The county council wants to extend Norfolk's network of 'Greenways' similar to this. Image: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

A council spokesman said the trails would similar to Marriott’s Way, which runs for 26 miles from the centre of Norwich to Aylsham, and is used by more than 500,000 walkers, cyclists and horse riders a year.

The spokesman said: “We are conducting a feasibility study looking to develop a greenway network across the county.

“We aim for them to extend across Norfolk and link into the Norfolk Trails network of promoted walking and cycling routes.

“Greenways offer a safe route for people and animals to travel.

The Castle Acre Trail. Image: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCILThe Castle Acre Trail. Image: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

“Our study is focusing on the particular benefits of health, wellbeing, economy, increased biodiversity, alleviation of congestion and air quality improvements.”

The council has launched a survey for landowners, residents and community groups to give their feedback on the plans, which can be found online at www.norfolk.gov.uk/greenways

A series of public exhibitions is also planned, to run from 2pm-7pm at: Stalham Town Hall (January 22), North Walsham Community Centre (January 24), King’s Lynn Preservation Trust (January 30), Dersingham Library (January 31), The Ffolkes, Hillington (February 6), East Rudham Village Hall (February 7), Fakenham Community Centre (February 11), Hunstanton Library (February 13).

The spokesman added: “Ideas are also being sought on how local history, conservation and schools groups may wish to get involved and contribute as the greenways project develops further.

“Officers will also be keen to hear how people may see themselves using the new paths in the future.

Marriott's Way trail in Norfolk. The county council wants to extend Norfolk's network of 'Greenways' similar to this. Image: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCILMarriott's Way trail in Norfolk. The county council wants to extend Norfolk's network of 'Greenways' similar to this. Image: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

“We will use the public feedback to produce a report outlining what will happen next.”

The Fakenham Railway back when it was in use. Picture: FAKENHAM COMMUNITY ARCHIVE.The Fakenham Railway back when it was in use. Picture: FAKENHAM COMMUNITY ARCHIVE.

An archive image of the former Hunstanton Railway Station. Norfolk County Council hopes to turn the disused rail route from Hunstanton to King's Lynn into a Greenway route. Picture: Ian BurtAn archive image of the former Hunstanton Railway Station. Norfolk County Council hopes to turn the disused rail route from Hunstanton to King's Lynn into a Greenway route. Picture: Ian Burt

Trains
 removing the railway line at Fakenham West Station in 1959. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYTrains removing the railway line at Fakenham West Station in 1959. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

people waiting to catch a King's Lynn - hunstanton service in 1968. The route closed the following year. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYpeople waiting to catch a King's Lynn - hunstanton service in 1968. The route closed the following year. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Dereham Times

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists