The Burgh Castle Circular Walk is popular because it’s not too long, offers sweeping views (including some of the best sunsets in Norfolk), and passes by some Roman ruins. Yes, this walk packs a lot in a short distance.
Let me share more about the Burgh Castle Circular Walk so that you can enjoy it too.
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About Burgh Castle
Over the years, Burgh Castle has been the site of a Roman fort, Norman Castle, and possibly an early Christian monastery.
It is the best preserved Roman monument in East Anglia and one of the most impressive Roman buildings in Britain. The ruins cover such a large area it is not easy to capture it all in one picture.
Originally Burgh Castle covered about 6 acres. The 4.5 meter high walls were about 3.5 meters wide at the bottom and tapered to 1.5 meters at the top.
Most of what you can see today are the ruins of the Roman fort that was built in the late 3rd century. Three of its four walls still stand. Long ago, the west wall fell into the marshes giving the fort a panoramic view across Breydon Water.
Burgh Castle is an English Heritage site but it is managed by Norfolk Archaeological Trust. There is no admission charge to see Burgh Castle and it is open all reasonable daylight hours.
The History Of Burgh Castle
The Roman site at Burgh along with the nearby Caister Fort were part of a defensive system to protect the Saxon Shore (the area between the Solent and the Wash) from seaborne raiders. One, or both of the sites, were known by the Romans as Gariannonum.
Burgh and Caister worked together to control the entrance to the Waveney estuary which was mostly marshland. The Saxon raids were effectively managed for more than half a century until AD 367, when a coordinated attack by Saxons, Picts and Scots led to the downfall of forts.
Note: If you are interested about Roman times in Norfolk, you should also visit Venta Icenorum.
According to Bede, Sigeberht, King of the East Angles, gave land inside a Roman fortress to St Fursa to found a monastery around AD 630. The site, which was called Cnobheresburh, may have been Burgh or Caister. As there was evidence of Saxon occupation around both sites.
After the Norman Conquest, Burgh was used as a motte-and-bailey castle. The Roman fort walls surrounded the bailey, while the motte and a ditch were forged in the southwestern corner. You can clearly see where the ditch has breached the south wall, but the mound has been flattened.
Overview of the Burgh Castle Walk
The approximately one-mile circular walk starts in the car park and takes you to see the ruins. Along the way, you can enjoy some scenic views over Halvergate Marshes and Breydon Water. Berney Arms Mill, the tallest drainage mill in the country, can also be seen in the distance.
Note: This walk does include stairs.
If you enjoy this walk, you can also check out our list of the best walks in the Norfolk Broads for more ideas.
Guide to the Short Burgh Castle Circular Walk
We will start this Burgh Castle walk at the information boards close to the car park. You might like to read more about the history of Burgh Castle and take a look at the high level map before taking off.
Keep in mind while you can follow the route posted on the map on the information board, we have made some modifications that we think make it an even better walk.
When you are ready to begin, follow the path toward St. Peter And St. Paul Church.
Before you reach the church, you will see another gazebo with a sign next to it showing the two path options. Take the path to the left to head towards Burgh Castle.
It’s not very far until you reach a gate with a Burgh Castle sign close to it. Go through the gate and follow the path across the field to the left.
At the edge of this field there is a gate and an opening to another field where you will find Burgh Castle.
Follow the diagonal path across the field to an opening in the castle wall.
Enter the castle, and take a few moments to appreciate the historic spot you are standing on. Imagine what it would have looked like during Roman times and take in the panoramic views over the landscape.
When you are ready to move on, make your way to the far corner of the ruins closest to the marshes. Take the steps leading down to the boardwalk.
Once you reach the boardwalk turn right to continue on the circular walk. Alternatively, you can make a small detour to a viewpoint by going straight on the path to a bridge over the water.
After you have your photo, return to the bottom of the steps and go left onto the boardwalk to continue on the walk.
You will follow this boardwalk, that is part of the Angles Way, a long distance walking path that connects Thetford and Great Yarmouth, until it ends. You will notice some stairs going up to the right, but you can avoid steps if you continue straight.
At the point the boardwalk ends there is a sign with the options. You can turn left to continue on the Angles Way or go straight towards the Queens Head Pub & Information.
To carry on with the walk you want to go straight, but feel free to walk a little bit on the Angles Way to enjoy the views and then return to the path.
The path now starts to climb slowly uphill through the wooded area. Follow it until you get to the gate.
Go through the gate and turn right towards the church.
To get back to the car park, you will then need to turn left where there is a break in the hedge. There is also a gate on the right. If you miss this turn, it will take you back to Burgh Castle.
After turning left just follow the path and it will take you back to the car park. If you would like to relax with a pint (or even a bite) afterwards, the Queen’s Head Pub is close by. It’s dog-friendly.
Routes for Longer Burgh Castle Walks
If you want to explore this part of the Norfolk Broads and have the time and energy for a longer walk there are several options.
You can walk along the Angles Way to Great Yarmouth. It is 4 miles one way.
There is also this almost 14 km circular route that includes Breydon Water.
Burgh Castle FAQs
No. It’s not too long and mostly flat except for the stairs that you go down to reach the boardwalk.
Yes. It’s not too long or too challenging. You will need to keep an eye on them on the boardwalk section as there is no railing and you don’t want them going off into the reeds. If you need more family-friendly ideas, check out our list of the things to do in Norfolk with kids.
You can probably do it in about 30 minutes but you don’t want to be rushed. I would allow time to explore the ruins and appreciate the views.
No. There aren’t any toilets or refreshments available.
Yes, it’s a popular walk for dog owners although there are sections were dogs need to be kept on leads.
Yes, but there is a charge for parking.
Burgh Castle is located about 5 km west of Gorleston. You can drive (use what3words ///darkens.toasters.topics to navigate to the car park). Alternatively, you can take the First 5 or 7 bus from Great Yarmouth which gets you pretty close.
What used to be a free car park off Butt Lane is now a pay and display. It’s £1.50 for two hours, £2.00 for four hours, and £4.00 for all day. Note that you cannot park from 19:45 to 08:00 every day.
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