Norfolk Coast Path Walk - May 5th to 7th

Posted 8/5/2018

DVWG’s Norfolk Coast Path walk has proved to be a resoundingly successful trip over the May Day bank holiday weekend, with fourteen of our group completing the full trail from Holme Next The Sea near Hunstanton to Cromer over three days.

Having travelled to Norfolk during the course of Friday, the majority or our party enjoyed a pre walk dinner in the King William in Sedgeford before the walk got under way on the Saturday.

The first leg on Saturday was a 13.5 miles walk from Holme Next the Sea to Brancaster Staithe.

Commencing the walk we crossed Holme Dunes, passing Gore Point into the neighbouring village of Thornham, where, as the sun was already very hot we decided to take a very early refreshment break at the fabulous Orange Tree pub in the middle of the village.

From here the walk moved inland as there is no right of way through Titchwell’s Marshes, which is an RSPB sanctuary. We climbed out of Thornham, crossing fields and woodland descending into the pretty visit of Brancaster, where we were able to take a lunch break on the village green.

Picking up the path again alongside the coast we negotiated the rather tricky duck boarding walking along Marsh Side to Brancaster Staithe, pausing momentarily to view the remains of Brandovnvm the local Roman fort. Upon reaching Brancaster Staithe it was time for a further refreshment stop for our party, enjoying cold drinks, seafood and ice cream in the afternoon sun.

The next stage of the journey was to walk back out onto the local marshland to reach the village of Burnham Overy Staithe where day one of our walk finished and we were able to enjoy a drink at The Hero public house as a reward for our efforts before going our separate ways back to our respective accommodation.

As day two was always going to be the longest day’s walking with the highest mileage, our party met at Burnham Overy Staithe at 9:30am and after a Sunday morning coffee, we resumed the walk, walking across the marshes to the unspoilt beach near Gun Hill and later onto the beach for around a couple of miles heading for Holkham.  It is fair to say that this stretch of coastline does have some wonderfully unspoilt beaches and our party were quite amazed at their size and cleanliness.

Norfolk is quite a diverse county where many arts, pastimes and interests can be sampled, whilst crossing Holkham beach we were “treated” to one very select band of naturists participating in their own pastime, no big suitcase required on this occasion David Richardson!

Next stop for DVWG was Wells Next The Sea, after crossing the town which was full to the brim with tourists enjoying the early May sunshine we took a lunch break on the outskirts of town before continuing onwards towards Stiffkey and Morston, at this point Mick Woodhall and David Kirk’s morale sunk to a low ebb as they received news of Barnsley FC’s relegation from the Championship after yet another season of under achievement.

A refreshment stop at Morston Quay led us onto the beautiful village of Blakeney, where we took a pub stop, our party managed to get quite friendly with some of inebriated locals who wowed at our achievements so far, however this led on to rivalry about the result of that afternoons Sheffield Wednesday match against Norwich City, now who would have thought that Gary Marshall could possibly become a football hooligan?

After our party left the Kings Head in Blakeney, in somewhat high spirits, we walked back onto the marshland towards Blakeney Eye before walking into the village of Cley and the end of the day’s walking.

At the end of day two, our party were still in reasonably high spirits with only a few mentions of blisters & sore feet but generally very little fatigue. Day three promised to be challenging with temperatures of up to twenty eight Celsius forecast and four miles of shingle to cross.

An early start was in order for our party in order to deposit cars at the end point of our walk in Cromer and to be at the start point in Cley for 10am, this took some real commitment for our group with most of us leaving our accommodation at around 8:15am in order to achieve this.

After arriving in Cley, we walked out of the village passing the windmill and once again onto the local marshes to Cley Eye, here the shingle started.

It quickly became apparent that crossing dry shingle on the beach was going to be a time consuming and exhausting exercise for our party, with very little or no enjoyment or achievement from it. After about a mile of walking on shingle, we decided to alter our plan and diverted from the trail along a footpath into the village of Salthouse, where after some refreshment at The Dun Cow, we walked through the village and along a footpath to re-join the trail at Kelling Hard, having avoided about 90% of the remaining shingle.

From here slowly but surely we worked our way up onto the cliffs of West Norfolk stopping for a cliff top lunch break in the sunshine ay Weybourne, then continuing on to Sheringham where we stopped for a drink overlooking the beach at The Two Lifeboats pub.

After resuming our walk we headed for Beeston Regis, climbing Beeston Bump where there is a trig point and in true DVWG fashion we posed for a picture around the landmark. After descending the hill we got a pleasant surprise.

The Norfolk Coast Path was originally between Holme and Cromer however during the development of the English Coast Path it was slightly extended to Sea Palling in 2014, it would also seem that during this development that additional rights of way were secured through the villages of East and West Runton, keeping the path close to the cliff tops, removing the necessity to ascend into a woodland at West Runton and tackle the steep ascent of Beacon Hill, the highest point in Norfolk.

Finding this information out gave our party new impetus and drive to complete the walk and, following an ice cream break we walked briskly through the Runton villages to reach the outskirts of Cromer.

From here we took a steady descent from the cliff top down to Cromer Pier and the finish of three days of wonderfully exhilarating walking in the sunshine along the North Norfolk Coast, posing for a celebratory finishing photograph outside the entrance to the pier. Our party finished off with fish & chips in the sunshine watching the sea, this brought to an end three days of excellent walking. We went our separate ways with celebration and congratulations ringing in our ears, quite rightly proud of our achievement over the weekend.

All in all fourteen of DVWGs regular walkers and three dogs completed the full three days between Holme Next the Sea and Cromer, amassing a cumulative mileage over the weekend of 629 miles.

There were personal achievements on the walk too, which are noted below.

David Kirk, 2000 miles cumulative

David Richardson 800 miles cumulative

Diana Walker, 200 miles season to date

Stuart Cliffe, Sue Case, Dean Duke, Jane Duke, Mick Woodhall and Emily Kirk all achieved 100 miles season to date. Well done to everyone who completed this superb walk in perfect weather conditions and well done on all your personal milestones.

As most DVWG’s regular walkers will be aware, there are always plenty of humorous stories and talking from our road trips, which are now often caught on camera by our resident paparazzi crew of Steve Pennock & Dean “Jasper” Duke. So despite men in boob tubes, the Naturalists of North Norfolk, the Norfolk tea drought and alleged stories of cooked rabbits we all survived and laughed our way along the trail to our jubilant finish at Cromer Pier.  

Doesn’t the Weavers Way start from Cromer?