Rebellion Way: new long-distance cycling route for Norfolk launched
- Loop route launched on 13 October as part of Cycling UK's EXPERIENCE project
- Cycling visitors will provide economic boost to some of Norfolk’s lesser-known spots
- Charity plans to make it the first accessible adventure route for people using adapted bikes like handcycles or tricycles
Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, will launch a new long-distance cycling route in Norfolk on Thursday 13 October, that will be ready in time for the public to ride in half-term.
Called the Rebellion Way, it is a 232-mile (373km) route beginning and ending in the city of Norwich. It is designed to be ridden over four to six days in one go but can be comfortably split in half at King’s Lynn with easy onward transport options.
Two groups of cyclists will head out from the Maid’s Head Hotel in Norwich at 10:30 on Thursday aiming to be the first people to cycle the route.
The Rebellion Way, which was funded through the European Regional Development Fund’s EXPERIENCE project, passes through Diss, Thetford (where tv-series Dad’s Army was famously filmed), Castle Acre, King’s Lynn, Hunstanton and Sheringham as it weaves its way around the county.
Using a varied mix of country lanes, bridleways, byways, cycle paths and forest tracks, the route should be suitable for anyone with reasonable fitness on the vast majority of bikes.
The charity has designed the route as an entry point for people interested in multi-day bikepacking trips, but believes experienced bikepackers will also be pleasantly surprised by the variety and challenges the route presents.
Claire Frecknall, ambassador for Mason Cycles who rode the Rebellion Way in early September, said:
“The Rebellion Way is a great ‘all ability’ route. Quiet lanes, beautiful forests and big skies, a proper adventure but without masses of elevation. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking to take their first steps into multi-day trips.”
Cycling UK is working with the not-for-profit Community Interest Company Experience Community to improve the accessibility of the Rebellion Way. They are currently devising a rideable route for people using adaptive cycles, such as handcycles or tricycles, which they aim to improve over the coming years.
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 Rebellion Way, Cycling UK has created another incentive for visitors and residents alike to discover an unseen side of the county.
“Our work in Norfolk doesn’t just stop with the Rebellion Way – as part of the EXPERIENCE project, we’re also keen to work with hospitality businesses around the county, providing them with the advice and resources to welcome cycling customers with our Cycle Friendly Places initiative.”
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 £520m 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.
One Norfolk business which has taken advantage of the Cycle Friendly Places initiative is Duration Brewing in West Acre.
Miranda Hudson, co-founder of Duration Beer is looking forward to welcoming more pedalling passers-by, and said:
“Lots of cyclists already ride out to our farmhouse brewery taproom which is why we signed up for the Cycle Friendly Accreditation from Cycling UK – it makes economic sense to make our business a welcome stop for all our customers.
“Being tucked away in a historic stone barn, along a chalk river, by old priory ruins, Duration is a hidden gem to discover on the road less travelled. The Rebellion Way is great at encouraging sustainable tourism without spoiling the rural idyll, and makes us think we need to brew a radler - the original shandy was, after all, a beer designed for cyclists!”
The route takes its name from two of Norfolk’s most fascinating rebellions: those of Boudicca and Robert Kett.
Boudicca has been a famous cultural symbol since she led a revolt against Roman rule nearly 2000 years ago. Heading out of Norwich, the Rebellion Way passes by Venta Icenorum, the capital of Boudicca’s Iceni tribe, where you can see remains of the settlement to this day. The route also takes in sections of the Boudicca Way, where it is accessible by cycle. While on the return leg, the route passes Kett’s Heights, a key location in Kett’s Rebellion.
The Kett’s Rebellion was a revolt in Norfolk in response to land enclosure. Beginning in Wymondham in July 1549, rebels began to destroy fences placed by wealthy landowners. The group targeted Robert Kett who, instead of fighting the rebels, joined their cause and offered to lead them. The rebellion grew to number 10,000 who marched on Norwich, later storming and taking the city.
A route guide written by cycling journalist and route curator Guy Kesteven is available to order.
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.
Notes to editors
- Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often. www.cyclinguk.org
- Photos available at: https://www.skyfish.com/p/cyclinguk/2082629
- EXPERIENCE is a €23.3 million project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF, €16 million) through the Interreg VA France (Channel) England Programme 2014-2020, boosting visitor numbers in six pilot regions across England and France. For further information see: https://www.cyclinguk.org/experience
- Cycle Friendly Places is a new accreditation programme developed by Cycling UK, equipping hospitality and accommodation businesses in Cornwall, Kent and Norfolk with new skills, resources and knowledge to broaden their appeal to cycle tourists. https://www.cyclinguk.org/cyclefriendlyplaces
- For further information on the economic benefits of cycle tourism see: https://www.cyclinguk.org/sites/default/files/document/2020/07/benefits_of_cycle_tourism_factsheet_final10738.pdf
- For further information on Cycling UK’s long-distance trails see:
- 2018: North Downs Way Riders’ Route https://www.cyclinguk.org/northdownsway
- 2019: Great North Trail https://www.cyclinguk.org/great-north-trail
- 2020: King Alfred’s Way https://www.cyclinguk.org/kingalfredsway
- 2021: West Kernow Way https://www.cyclinguk.org/west-kernow-way
- 2022: Cantii Way https://www.cyclinguk.org/cantii-way
Press contact information
For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office. Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, currently the main press office number (01483 238 315) is not being monitored. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900 - 1700) please 07967 193 051 or email email@example.com. Out of hours, call 07786 320 713