Walk Distance: 1.8km
Walk Duration: 1hr (allow an extra 30 mins at toddler pace or with view/play breaks)
Ordnance Survey: OS Landranger 133 North East Norfolk; OS Explorer 252 Norfolk Coast East
Suitable for: babies in carriers, little walkers, older children, all the family. Off-road and sturdy regular pushchairs can be used on a shorter version of this walk (see walk description below).
Walk Features: Highest point in Norfolk (County Top), lovely views to the coast, woodland – great tree climbing potential, wildlife (lovely National Trust managed land), easy reach of West Runton village with its shop, pub and refreshment facilities (& beach).
“West Runton is a family friendly village hub on Norfolk’s north coast. As well as its beach it also offers some lovely walking including this exploration of West Runton Heath.
As well as plenty of woodland play the West Runton Heath & Woodland Walk also offers lovely views and visits an old Roman camp. There is the option to extend or shorten the walk as you wish and off-road pushchairs can be used on some of the best sections. Other than the one uphill section it’s easy walking for little ones.
We visited in winter when the leafy woodland carpet provided constant entertainment for Roo and Beth. If like us you are staying at Brackenhurst then you can take this walk right from the front-door. The short hike up to Beacon Hill – Norfolk’s highest point – has to be our easiest county top yet!”
The West Runton Heath & Woodland Walk has the option to start from three different places. You can:
- walk up from the centre or station of West Runton village via Calves Well Lane (take the very first footpath on your left, not the one at the end of the lane) which will join up with the most north-westerly point of the route on the map below;
- park at the small car park by West Runton Heath Roman Camp – also known as Beacon Hill;
- join the walk via the footpath at the end of Shawcross Road – the ideal option if, like us, you are staying at Brackenhurst cottage.
If you are planning on walking with a pushchair then it is best to start off from Roman Camp (Beacon Hill) and follow along the first part of this route as described below before retracing your steps. Cross country buggies would manage the woodland path to the east of the route (though it is a bit steep in places) but the other sections are too narrow in places to be feasible.
The route description starts from Beacon Hill where there is a small car park. From the information board you can take some time to admire the views (from the dizzy heights of Norfolk’s highest point, at 103m no less) before turning west to start your walk – the car park/viewpoint on your right and the caravan site to your left.
The walk continues through the woodland of West Runton Heath on a quiet, narrow lane. There are frequent breaks in the trees offering glimpses down to the Norfolk coast as well as over the rooftops of West Runton and towards Sheringham.
You will pass one grassy opening with a lovely viewpoint to the right hand side of the lane. It’s a nice spot for a picnic if you’ve not already made the most of Beacon Hill itself!
n.b. if you are tight on time then you can cut down on the path below the viewpoint here, taking the first main path to the right as you descend the hill. This will link you in with the return path described at (1) below.
Continue along the lane west once more until you reach the second main grassy clearing reached by a small path through the trees to the right. It is easily identified by the National Trust sign advising of ground nesting birds and adders between March to September (keep to paths and keep dogs under control)! This is another nice spot for a stop and the turning round point for buggy walkers.
*n.b. there is a cross-roads of paths on the lane at this point. If you are looking for a longer walk then consider extending the West Runton Heath & Woodland Walk loop, returning on Calves Well Lane instead which you can reach by continuing straight on in the direction of the lane. Alternatively there is the tempting option to turn left off the lane and then right onto the bridle-way to Beeston Regis Heath, descending via footpaths then lanes into Beeston Regis from where you can take the coastal path back to Sheringham and hop on the train back to West Runton or, for an all day adventure, return to West Runton via the coastal path. All paths are clearly marked on OS maps.
From the second clearing point take the path that leads straight ahead downhill – ignore the paths to the left and to the far-right.
The path downhill is fairly narrow and highly banked on either side, making it the trickiest part of the route for little walkers. Ours managed it just fine though.
At the bottom of the hill the path joins a wider path. Turn right and follow this path back through the edge of the woodland as it snakes its way along past the back gardens of West Runton’s outlying houses to your left.
n.b. if you took the shorter loop (1) above then you will rejoin the walk a short way along this path – turn right to join it.
The path is easy to follow – just keep going until it emerges onto the end of Shawcross Road – right next to Brackenhurst holiday cottage!
From here turn right, heading back into the woods via the rather muddy lane. This lane soon turns into a woodland path, offering some great leaf-scuffing opportunities in autumn and winter. Follow the wider grassy path as it begins to head gently up-hill.
Keep to the right as the path splits, heading uphill more steeply through the woods. After a short uphill pull the path emerges back by the Roman Camp / Beacon Hill once more to complete the West Runton Heath & Woodlands Walk loop.
Map of Route:
The West Runton Heath and Woodland Walk can be accessed by public transport from the centre of West Runton Village, where there is a train station and frequent bus services to Sheringham and Cromer.
Alternatively you can park in the small car park on Camp Lane at Roman Camp, Beacons Hill, reached via Sandy Lane from West Runton.
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