Nar Valley Way is a 33-mile long walking trail meandering through contrasting landscapes between the medieval town of King’s Lynn and the Farm and Workhouse museum in Gressenhall.
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The route follows quiet tracks and lanes, crossing farmland and passing through woods, meadows and commons. The River Nar is never far away, with long stretches of riverside path to enjoy.
Open farmland around Mileham contrasts with the expansive lowland panoramas near King’s Lynn, and the intimate woodland glades found at West Acre and Narborough.
Intriguing local heritage and historic remains are encountered regularly along the way, including Pentney Abbey, West Acre Priory, Castle Acre castle remains and Priory. Look out too for the fine variety of historic churches including the Anglo-Saxon round tower at East Lexham.
The 33-mile Nar Valley Way is a river valley walk with amazing wildlife and many places of interest including churches, mills and ancient priories.
The Nar Valley way starts at the historic port of King’s Lynn.
During the 14th century, King's Lynn ranked as England's most important port with two rare Hanseatic league warehouses still in existence.
On the way into the town, you pass the site of Blubber House Creek where whale blubber and bones were processed and then past a Carmelite friary, known as Whitefriars and finish just before the Customs House – a distinctive Dutch style building considered a gem of Restoration architecture.
Lynn Museum Housed in the Union Baptist Chapel (built 1859) on Market Street in King’s Lynn, the museum tells the fascinating story of West Norfolk. Step back in time as you walk into a life size replica of Seahenge, a prehistoric monument exposed on the beach at nearby Holme-next-the-Sea in 1998. This astonishing Bronze Age timber circle is the museum’s stunning centrepiece.
Much of the museum’s collections are displayed in fine Victorian mahogany display cases, which line the chapel walls.
From Setchey up to Saddlebow, you can experience the flat lands of the fens and walk alongside the river Nar to where it joins the Ouse.
This section provides the opportunity to observe the diverse aquatic life of the River Nar - well-known locally for its brown trout and also includes pike, roach and eel.
The medieval Augustinian priory here was founded in 1135 and dissolved during the Reformation in 1537. The gatehouse ruins, which date to the 14th century, still remain.
Narborough Bone Mill was built in the early 19th Century, and was used to grind bones from local slaughterhouses and whalebones from the Kings Lynn whaling industry – the remains of the wheel can still be seen.
At Narborough the route passes Narborough Hall, two lakes and Narborough Mill - a large three-storey building built in 1780. Although the mill ceased to operate in the early 1950s, most of the machinery remains intact.
The small village of West Acre has more evidence of the religious prominence of the area in the Middle Ages, with an Augustian Priory founded 1140-54 and a church with the gatehouse of the former Abbey.
Castle Acre Common provides a beautiful walk alongside the River Nar and through quiet woodland - designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the most important valley grassland site in West Norfolk. Many different grassland types are present and these reflect underlying variations in soil acidity and wetness.
The marshy conditions also provide suitable nesting sites for several species of wetland birds.
Castle Acre, is another area with much historic interest to explore. Under the management of English Heritage there are the remains of a 12th Century motte, a bailey castle, the 12th Century St James’ church and the Cluniac Priory.
Peddars Way crosses the Nar Valley Way here too.
A visit to Litcham Common, a Local Nature Reserve, makes an enjoyable walk through woodland. This common is home to a variety of wildlife, with grazing horses part of the management scheme
All Saint’s Church, Litcham is particularly fine and contains a large number of examples of medieval graffiti – it has one of the most puzzling, known as the Litcham Cryptogram.
Just off the main road in Mileham are the remains of a castle. This castle was constructed in about 1100 and its remains form an imposing monument.
The route finishes at the Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse museum. This museum used to be a workhouse for the poor, but now depicts the rich history of the workhouse, those who worked there and traditional farm work.