Friday, May 08, 2009

The Marriott's Way

Today I rode the Marriott's Way. Sounding unfortunately like a motorway sliproad to a Travelodge, it is in fact named after William Marriott, the former chief engineer and manager of the Midland and Great Northern Railway system, and is a disused railway route in Norfolk now converted into a cycle path.

View Cycle: Aldborough Norwich via Marriott's Way in a larger map

Narrow path initially

From Aldborough I cut across country through Itteringham before reaching Cawston where I picked up the route (the cycle path starts in Aylsham across the road from the Bure Valley station). Initially narrow and stony, the path suddenly dropped down on to the railway line proper, a far better and wider path.

Soon dropping down on to the main line

At Reepham one has a choice - follow the line to Themelthorpe where it loops back on itself, or come off and shortcut through Reepham and rejoin the path a short way south. This latter option was of course my choice!

Complete with old stations

The stretch that carries on is of excellent quality - wide, reasonable surface and so gives a fast ride for the remainder of the route into Norwich.

Excellent path south of Reepham

The route is lined with art installations making reference to the concrete that was one of the original major uses of the railway, and also the railway itself - benches are made from pieces of rail, sometimes twisted into shapes like corkscrews. Blocks of cement have "inspiring" words on them.

Strange benches

Desolate fields

Threatening clouds

But then..

Marvellous rainbow

The route is slightly confusing once you hit Norwich centre, and I would advise once you come off cycle route on to the main ring-road roundabout adjacent to St Crispin's Road that you just follow the main roads through town to the station rather than use the cycle route convoluted path round the houses! Still, overall this is a marvellous artery and I shall certainly be using it again in and out of Norwich.

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