Active Outdoors

Active Outdoors in Norfolk

Norfolk is abundant with beautiful open outdoor spaces. From local villages and country trails, to the stunning Norfolk coast, there are plenty of places to remain active outdoors in our county.

On this page, we’ll bring you the benefits of getting outdoors, resources and places to remain active locally, alongside tips on how to remain safe.

family walking in bluebell woods

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Five reasons to get active outdoors in Norfolk

1, It’s fantastic for your physical health

Being physically active is good for your health wherever you do it, but taking your activity outside brings additional benefits.

Studies have suggested that walking or jogging outdoors can bring down your blood pressure and heart rate, as well as reducing the stress hormone known as cortisol.

Fresh air helps promote good sleep, while sunshine gives you essential vitamin D. So building some outdoor activity into your routine can help you feel good and stay healthy.

2, It supports your mental health and wellbeing

Numerous studies have found that spending time in nature has a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing.

Stepping out into green spaces for your walk or run gives an extra lift to your mood and increases your feelings of self-esteem. And woods, fields, and parks are great places to practise mindfulness – taking some time out of your busy schedule to relax and use your senses to reflect on your natural surroundings.

Why not make it a sociable event, and meet up with a friend? Chatting as you walk, run or cycle can make it a lot more enjoyable and can even make the timer pass quicker.

3, It’s easy to stay local and maintain social distancing

Norfolk is blessed with thousands of square miles of open space, from its stunning coastline to the peaceful Broads, the big skies of the Fens, and the Breckland forests. Not to forget the many green spaces and riverside paths of the fine city of Norwich!

Norfolk has about 2,400 miles of public footpaths to explore, with over 1,200 miles of walks, cycle paths and bridleways brought together in the Norfolk Trails network. So you’re never far from a quiet spot where you can safely exercise while sticking to social distancing guidelines.

4, You can try a variety of different ways to remain active

There’s no limit to the ways you can remain active outdoors.

Whether you enjoy walking, running, cycling, hiking or playing outdoor sports, there’s something for everyone.

From tennis to boules, being active outdoors can provide a fantastic way to be social and have fun.

5, It’s free, it’s always open, and it’s for everyone

You don’t need to buy a ticket to get outside and be active, or any special equipment apart from comfy footwear and clothing suitable for the great British weather!

Whether it’s a stroll with the kids to the local playground, a sunny afternoon on the beach, or a jog around the block with a friend, it’s all free for you to enjoy whenever you want to.

Norfolk has many easy access paths and boardwalks which are accessible for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility, as well as families with pushchairs. See the accessible resources section below to find out more.


Find places to get active outdoors in Norfolk

There are hundreds of ways you can be active outdoors in Norfolk. You’re not just limited to a local walk or a run; the possibilities are endless!

We’ve listed some popular routes for walking, running, and cycling as well as some open spaces and wooded areas below, however why not make the trip your own by trying something a little different?

This could be an outdoor sport, such as a game of tennis, football or even catch. Alternatively, you could try a scavenger hunt; this idea is good if you have kids or if you just want a bit more excitement on your route.


Walking in Norfolk

  • Norfolk Trails: Discover 1,425 miles of walks, running routes, and bridle routes along the Norfolk Trails. Explore hundreds of miles of long-distance paths. Alternatively, take a gentle stroll around a circular route, or discover the county’s coastal treasures. Use the interactive map to find a route near you.
  • Walking routes in Norfolk: Visit Norfolk lists walks throughout the county, include long distance walks and shorter walks.
  • AllTrails: AllTrails lists the best running trails in Norfolk by area. There are routes for both long and short distance runners.
  • National Trust: The National Trust looks after some stunning coast and countryside in Norfolk.

Cycling in Norfolk


Parks and open spaces in Norfolk

Whether you’re with the kids or looking to meet up for a socially distanced walk, run or picnic with a friend, there are plenty of open spaces dotted around the county. These are great, safe spaces open to everyone, some of which will enable you to play various sports and even hire out areas.

Parks:

For a full list of parks in Norwich, click here.
For a list of parks outside the city, check this out.

Woodland areas:

  • Forest site: The Forestry Commission looks after sites across Norfolk including the UK’s largest manmade lowland forest, the 18,730-hectare Thetford Forest. Use their map to find a forest site near you.
  • Woodland walks: Indulge in a spot of forest bathing at dozens of Woodland Trust sites across the county – find a woodland near you.

Click here for a full list of woodlands in and around Norwich.
For a list of woodland areas further out of the city, click here.


Staying safe outdoors

Now more than ever it’s important to make sure that we’re all doing our bit to make being outdoors safe for everyone. Whilst Norfolk is relatively safe overall, it never hurts to take extra precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of others.

Here are some useful resources to review before heading out:

Whenever you head out on a walk or a run, remember: CLAPS.


Resources for being active outdoors in Norfolk

Apps and websites for improving and tracking fitness:

Apps and websites for staying safe:


Related pages: