Walkers can now experience 24 new interactive walks on the Marriott’s Way through a free walking app.
Users can swipe through the 26-mile route, which passes through the Reepham district, discovering the lost history of old railway lines along the way, step by step.
The route’s past is illuminated by fascinating “ghost” photos overlaying old scenes on the present day, facts about the local heritage, plants and wildlife, and audio clips from interviews with train drivers and locals.
Cllr Andrew Jamieson, Norfolk County Council’s Walking and Cycling Member Champion, said: “We’re always looking for exciting and innovative ways of bringing Norfolk’s rich culture and history to life, which is why we’re working with Go Jauntly to not only welcome visitors to our lovely county, but inspire local people to explore all it has to offer.”
The archive material has been provided by the Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail Project, which researches, conserves and educates people about the lost railway lines along the historic route.
App users can get a birds-eye view with the map page, tapping on points to see pictures and descriptions. In addition, routes can be downloaded to be viewed offline and even exported to a GPS device.
Sophie Cabot, senior project officer, Marriott's Way Heritage Trail, at Norfolk County Council, said: “These interactive walks will help people learn about the former Hellesdon Station, which was recently uncovered and enhanced by our volunteers, the remains of the coal crane and engine shed at Norwich City Station in Train Wood, and pillboxes and tank traps from the Second World War.
“We hope they will also be better able to spot and identify the birds, plants and animals that inhabit this 26-mile County Wildlife Site.”
The walks have been launched on the Go Jauntly app as part of the Norfolk County Council’s Walking and Cycling Festival, which has been running throughout October.
Go Jauntly, which has more than 100,000 downloads, allows people try out expertly curated walks as well as create their own to share with the walking community.
Head of technology at Go Jauntly, Allan Weir, said: “The Marriott’s Way project is a fantastic opportunity for us to not only explore Norfolk, but also add features to Go Jauntly that East Anglia’s rural landscape requires.
“Connecting different sections of Marriott’s Way and the adjoined circular routes in the app is one of the most exciting improvements, as well as being able to explore when offline, which has been a hugely requested feature and one that parts of Norfolk’s country lanes and bridleways demand.
“On accompanying portions of the trail we also now have additional layers of information, allowing users to dive deeper into the cultural significance of the routes as well as the local wildlife and plants that call it home.”
The story of the railway spans 1880-1985, and traces of its history visible along the route include platforms, stations, level crossings and other railway infrastructure.
Marriott’s Way is a 26-mile footpath, bridleway and cycle route that follows the routes of two disused railway lines, running between Aylsham and Norwich. The route is named after the chief engineer and manager of the Midland and Great Northern Railway system, William Marriott.