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Marriott's Way

Marriott's Way is a peaceful and secluded trail for walkers, cyclists and horseriders. It stretches for 21 miles from Aylsham to the outskirts of Norwich at Marlpit Lane in Lower Hellesdon. At the Aylsham end the Way joins the Bure Valley Walk which runs for a further 9 miles alongside the narrow-gauge Bure Valley Railway to Hoveton, whilst at the Norwich end the Way joins the Norwich Riverside Walk which continues a further 5 miles along the banks of the Wensum through the heart of the city.

The Way follows the the route of 2 disused railway lines. From Aylsham to Themelthorpe it follows the old Great Eastern Railway line that was built in 1883 to provide a link from its other lines at Wroxham and County School near North Elmham. From Themelthorpe to Norwich it follows a line originally built by the Lynn and Fakenham Railway Company in 1882 which was taken over by Midland & Great Northern Railway in 1893 and provided a through route to the Midlands.

Marriott's Way (and the village of Thorpe Marriott itself) is named after William Marriott who was chief engineer and manager of the Midland & Great Northern Railway for 41 years and lived locally at Melton Constable which was then a sizeable town and the main depot of the M&GN.

As local population density was then low and there were limited freight opportunites the lines never proved very profitable. The line from Aylsham to Themelthorpe was closed in 1959 following the rationalisation of the local rail network, whilst the section from Themelthorpe to Norwich was closed in 1985 after concrete production at Lenwade ceased.

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