The Weavers’ Way takes its name from the fact that it passes through that area of Norfolk that for many centuries was renowned as a centre of the weaving trade. Its 62 miles (100km), connecting two of the county’s larger towns, present extremely easy walking through a variety of different types of country, and take the walker past or near to many places of exceptional interest. This section hugs the river – first the Thurne and then the Bure – for almost its entire length with just a brief foray into fields just beyond the hamlet of Thurne. The route passes the former Roman port of Acle to conclude in the Broadland village of Halvergate.
The Weavers’ Way crosses the ancient bridge at Potter Heigham and sets off on the south bank of the Thurne River in the direction of Thurne itself. As the walker leaves Potter Heigham behind, the chalets die out and the path becomes increasingly lonely, and the landscape increasingly beautiful. To the left, cattle graze contentedly in the low-lying meadows and the twin windmills of Thurne are visible around the bend in the river.
Eventually you approach the village. A few boats are moored up alongside the banks of the river,
and the pub is probably doing good business, but Thurne is a wonderfully unspoilt place, cut off as it is and only approachable by car on small roads. To the west, across the river, are the remains of St Benet’s Abbey. This was an early foundation and was endowed with three manors by King Canute in 1020. It withstood attack by John Litester’s rebel peasants in 1381 and prospered until the Dissolution when it fell into ruins. An 18th-century windmill was built inside the gatehouse, and now little remains. The Bishop of Norwich, who also retains the title of Abbot of St Benet’s, arrives by boat at the Abbey once a year to conduct an open-air service among the ruins. Now make your way through a farm, across a couple of fields, past the 14th-century church and so across country and back to the river.
The river has now become the Bure; the Bure having met the Thurne just south of the village. The path along the east bank is delightful, and once again one feels that there can be no better way of getting to know the countryside than by walking it.
At Acle Bridge, cross the A1064 and then take the path along the other side of the river for a while, before turning right by a boatyard towards Acle. Acle is a busy little town, standing as it does at the junction of two main roads and including a railway station. The church of St Edmund is well worth visiting. It contains graffiti thought to date from the time of the Black Death, referring to the ‘brute beast plague that rages hour by hour’.
The Weavers’ Way does not go into Acle, however, but turns south, crosses the A47 and then the railway line to Yarmouth, before setting off on a thoroughly enjoyable stretch by woods and pastureland to the
hamlet of Tunstall, where you should turn left onto the road immediately after the semi-ruined church then right at the phone box. This footpath leads briskly into Halvergate.
Riverside, two sections along field paths
River, marshes, tiny villages
This route is almost entirely off road and thus a joy for dog walkers
OS Explorer OL 40
Car park opposite Latham’s of Potter Heigham (purchase permit from shop)
Behind Bridge Convenience Stores at start, in Thurne and at Acle Bridge
Walking in safety
Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.
Also in the area
About the area
Places to Stay
The Kings Arms is ideally situated in the village of Fleggburgh just a few miles from Great Yarmouth and well placed for touring the Norfolk Broads. The 19th-century, red-brick country pub has undergone a refurbishment to include individually styled...