National Route 13 of the National Cycle Network will connect Tower Bridge in London with Fakenham in Norwich. Passing through East London close to the Thames, Route 13 then heads north from Tilbury to Chelmsford in Essex. After a stretch on National Route 1 (also part of EuroVelo 2) National Route 13 resumes at Colchester and continues north to rejoin National Route 1 just south of Fakenham in Norfolk. The route is described here from Tower Bridge to Fakenham but is signed in both directions. Where no printed map is available for a particular section please use the Sustrans online mapping.
The route is under development but there are many sections already open: between Rainham Marshes and Purfleet; alongside the Thames at Grays and Tilbury; through Basildon; from the outskirts of Billericay to Bures near Colchester; and from Sudbury to Coney Weston. The longest continuously open stretch is from Thetford to Fakenham.
The route is currently 125 miles long.
1. Tower Bridge to Grays /Tilbury
Sticking relatively close to the north bank of the Thames heading eastwards, Route 13 passes through Albert Dock and Rainham Marshes on its way to Grays and Tilbury. The short open sections are almost entirely traffc-free.
Maps: London Cycle Guides Map 8 – order for FREE from Transport for London; Essex & Thames Estuary Cycle Map covers Royal Albert Dock to north of Colchester; Thurrock and Kent Thameside shows Purfleet to Tilbury.
2. Tilbury to Colchester
The route now heads north from Coalhouse Fort on the Thames to Colchester, with open sections consisting of a mainly traffic-free stretch through Basildon and an on-road route from the northern edge of Billericay into Chelmsford.
Maps: Suffolk Cycle Map covers south of Sudbury to north of Thetford.
3. Colchester to Thetford
This section is almost entirely on-road, except for the traffic-free Valley Walk alongside Sudbury and the route through Bury St Edmunds. The route is incomplete between Bures and Sudbury but the local Bures Loop A2 links the two settlements.
4. Thetford to Fakenham
The route is fully open and almost entirely on-road through Watton and East Dereham to Gateley where Route 13 ends. Here it meets National Route 1, which can be followed the short distance to Fakenham.
Maps: Norfolk Cycle Map covers Thetford to Fakenham.
Things to see and do
When complete, this route will connect Tower Bridge in London with Fakenham in Norfolk.