Our latest offering, the Shepherds Trail, links three of our partner campsites with a beautiful, off the beaten track cycle trail leading all the way from North Norfolk to Whitlingham Broad, with each leg of the journey ending with a relaxing sleep in a luxury Shepherds Hut.
Along the way, of course, are plenty of sights to see and places to eat, drink and rest, such as the Checkers Inn in Binham, the Hunworth Hunny Bell and The Pigs in Edgefield. The first trail leads from Deepdale Backpackers and Camping in North Norfolk to Top Farm Camping, near Aylsham and the second trail spans Marriotts Way from Aylsham right up to Whitlingham Broad Campsite.
The first thing to do was map the trail and also test it out on somebody who is not in peak physical condition. Enter Chief Combobulator Wong, who’s favourite activities include scotch eggs, sitting down and sitting down with one leg slightly crossed over the other, in order to rest that particular leg more than the other one. He would be accompanied by equally sedentary girlfriend Rachel, who had not ridden a bike in over 8 years.
This 35 mile trek passed through a number of attractive locations, from market towns to quaint villages (Including Lord Horatio Nelson’s own local pub), from big Norfolk skies to winding country lanes dappled with sunlight from the huge leafy canopies above. For an ex-smoker with the physical constitution of a diabetic fairy, it was actually a very doable ride- Some challenging uphill bits but mostly easy downhill stretches where you can shout “wheeeeee” and stick your bum up in the air to go faster.
With about two hours or so of dawdling in between, including a visit to the Priory Ruins at Binham, followed by a pint at the Checkers Inn, lunch and a beer at the Hunworth Hunny Bell and a general chill out under a big oak tree near Stody, the journey took us about six and a half hours. I may have had to sit on one of those doughnut shaped cushions for pregnant ladies the next day, but could have quite easily done the second part of the trail without even whinging! (Note- Cycling shorts with a build in cushion and a gel seat cover are a fantastic investment)
However to keep things fair, trialling the second leg of the journey was the founder and director Craig (A plump middle age man with liquid stilton coursing through his arteries) with his two young children (who have short legs, because they are children) aged 8 and ten. This beautiful off road trail, Marriott’s Way follows the path of an abandoned railway and tells the story along the way with a number of trail markers, monuments and quirky artworks forged from the remainders of the track.
This 26 mile trail runs between Aylsham and Norwich, looping through some fantastic traffic-free stretches. Although off-road, the ground is mostly flat and hard making it easy going for most.
Attracting a number of hikers, ramblers and cyclers of all ages throughout, this is a more sociable trail and passes straight through the Norwich- a perfect opportunity to lock the bikes and explore the fine city! However, after pushing on, they made the journey in 6 hours, arriving at a cosy shepherds hut in Whitlingham Broad.
The Shepherds Trail is now available for bookings and starts at £60 a night per person. We also include a trail map, deal with all the bookings, transfer your kit to your destination and provide an SOS service- Just for peace of mind. To book, call us on 01603 397777.
Today we’re ecstatic to be at the Royal Norfolk Show (Avenue 6 Plot 173, just so you know!). As a keen advocate of grand gestures, we’ve picked up a slice of Whitlingham Broad and dropped it onto our pitch on the Royal Norfolk Showground!
Well, not quite but we’re sharing our pitch with Whitlingham Broad Campsite, featuring Lola the Shepherds hut, a delightful bell tent provided by our friends at Soulpad and most importantly, Linda who runs the campsite! Here we’ve created a delightful “Chill-out” zone where visitors can enjoy glamping in convenient ten minute bursts and make a booking for a great holiday in one of our Shepherds huts.
But that’s not the only one of our Shepherds huts you can see at the show. Why not swing by the horse rings and see our very own Little Nancy in pride of place as the Events Office, housing Sonia Bell the Event Organiser and team. Feel free to swing by and have a look!
We’re also please to meet our neighbours Phil from Mode Living makers of rattan furniture and nearby Tom from Firepits UK.
It’s rare we meet someone who so completely shares our ethos for creating a calm and inspiring space. Enter SoulPad, a Norfolk based provider of luxury Bell Tents and campfire accessories. With their motto “stylish cotton tipis and bell tents that are kind to your soul”, these are some seriously cool people to work with!
We got in touch with them just days before the Royal Norfolk Show as our plan to co-exhibit with Linda from Whitlingham Broad Campsite were almost scarpered by the fact that the stylish bell tents at Whitlingham Broad, provided by SoulPad , which was going to be paired with our Shepherds hut on our display, were simply too big for the size of our pitch.
Luckily, SoulPad stock a handy 3 metre bell tent in both a traditional canvas and anultra-lite polycotton version which they kindly lent us and thus saved the day! How many times has your bell tent provider saved the day?!
They also found the time to leap to the rescue despite being in the middle of providing over 50 bell tents for VIP accommodation at The Glastonbury Festival. Enough said!
We’re going to be exhibiting from their bell tent again at the Holkham Hall Country Fair on the 17th-18th July (Our show-hut Little Nancy has now found a home at The Hollies Kessingland- Booking info soon!). Swing by and feel the quality for yourself.
Finally, SoulPad are sponsoring the Home Festival in Mundford on Saturday 17th August, which is raising money for St Martins Housing Trust! Incidentally, our own Chief Combobulator will be making a musical appearance on the same day…
I’d like to take a moment to mention a great little restaurant that we had the pleasure of working with at our Campfire Supper. They set the evening off to a flying start by greeting our guests with delicious canapés. I even caught a group of guests in our kitchen area, licking the leftover hazelnut puree from one of their whisks and mixing bowls! Bearing in mind these guests were in their forties, it speaks volumes about good food when it can turn respectable adults back into naughty children!
So when the dreaded day came where my girlfriend and I had to introduce our parents, what better way to break the ice than round a table at The Madder Market Kitchen? Based in the middle of Norwich, opposite St Andrews Car Park, round the corner from Pottergate and The Rumsey Wells pub, this quiet and quirky venue is both central, yet reserved. Stepping into its quaintly decorated reception with its slightly slanty wooden floors and cosy, yet bright interior, this restaurant clearly has a unique charm but in no way feels pretentious or overbearing.
With a warm and friendly greeting from our waitress, we were led into the dining area which was intimate and offered plenty of privacy. The food was excellent, freshly prepared, well cooked and expertly presented. More surprising still was the value; three courses cost just less than £25, when many restaurants could have charged that much for the main course alone! The pan fried hake is a definite winner as well.
Despite having been established for mere months, this place is already set to become one of the best places to eat in Norwich with people queuing down the street. Book your table now by calling 01603 460558!!!
Chief Combobulator Wong. While the rest of the team gallivant and build Shepherds Huts, I sit here and combobulate.