Just a stroll along the beach!

Walking the Norfolk Coastal Path ~ Hunstanton to Brancaster Staithe

Well our Alice would have been very pleased with how todays walk started!!  Leaving Hunstanton in lovely sunshine heading towards Brancaster it was only a few minutes before the Coastal Path offered the beach walk option for some five miles, passing through some picture postcard seaside villages notably Holme Next The Sea and Thornham.  

The North Sea with the wind blowing, it’s rainy and the tide is out can be very grey and dismal, fast forward to when its sunny and the tide is in what a beautiful sight and wonderful to see so many people on the beach. There was sun bathers, dog walkers and even a few fellow coastal walkers for the first time in three days walking this part of the coast!

There’s a lot of work going on along this coast with sea defences, there being some threat from that global warming thingy we hear so much about and you do realise how very flat the land is up here, a high tide could and does cause serious damage. 

Having said that a lot of the coast is already marshland which after the first few miles caused quite a diversion to avoid that ‘sinking in the mud’ feeling. 

Tried crossing one small stream, getting feet drenched in the process although this part saved probably a couple of miles only to find a little later that it was impossible (and bonkers) to try and cut across the several miles of salt marsh which forms the coast just after Thornham.  So those clever people that organise these paths have made a diversion inland which I’m all in favour of other than it’s a huge three / four mile inland loop meaning for the best part of an hour there’s no sight of the sea!  Anyways walking across fields is good and there are some wonderful wild flower displays, probably better than my garden!

Today’s walk though finished very brightly with the last part towards Brancaster Staithe (wharf or quay, I checked wikipedia) being on a raised wooden walkway through the marshland, spectacular wildlife and flowers before entering aforementioned Staithe where a well earned sandwich and cuppa awaited following a near 13 miles walk in almost four hours with not a break in sight!  Oh happy days…..

PS Just in case you missed it, when we first mentioned to Alice a couple of years back that we were walking the Coastal Path there was a thought it may have been ‘just a stroll along the beach’ ha ha….

Hey…where’s the bus stop?

Walking the Norfolk Coastal Path ~ Shepherd’s Port to Hunstanton

These days of walking present various planning challenges, with today’s challenge being how the heck did we co-ordinate our car being at either the start or the end of the run?  Not essential I know but if your picnic lunch is in the car then planning is definitely required….

The walk today in theory was just five miles and the normal plan is we drive the car to the end of the walk and then catch a bus back to the start and then walk to the car.  Only problem being that the Shepherd’s Port bus stop is nearly three miles away!


This is before we walk the five miles..do you get the idea?

With my foot being nearly better and Deirdre’s knee seeming okay for a short (in theory) walk we hatched a plan.  I would drop Deirdre at Shepherd’s Port and then take the car and park somewhere near the bus stop and then I’d walk back down to our startpoint.

This plan went reasonably well and we had a lovely walk through the sand dunes (I’d already walked the three miles!) and it turned out to be a wonderful sunny afternoon.  A mixed terrain of walking included the sand of course but also the pure delight of a couple of miles walking along the promenade as we arrive into Hunstanton. 

Whilst walking we’ve posted loads of beach and sea pictures but today some of the best pictures were the wonderful display of wild flowers that occupy all the hedgerows and open spaces in North Norfolk!

Beware of the Bull…


Not the sign you’d expect to see just a couple of miles away from King’s Lynn on the walk to Shepherd’s Port as the coastal path walk resumes after a break since last year.

Whilst researching the Norfolk Coastal Path it became clear that the path did not include an official route over this part, leaving a couple of options.  An inland route including a lot of walking on main roads some way from the coast, or the more adventurous option of using the Ordnance Survey app to plot a route through the marsh land along the sea defence embankment, mainly through private land.  So it was the second option that seems more appropriate as it also meant being nearer to the North Sea.


Leaving King’s Lynn along the banks of the River Great Ouse it’s very quiet once you’ve passed the various factories and industrial units, in fact it was to be some two hours before I saw another human being!  This land is very flat and the tidal defence system is very important for miles of farms and arable land, sadly very little of this is immediately open to the public.  The sea defence embankment runs for some 15 miles but within the first few minutes you come across a ‘No Entry’ sign with a padlocked gate and access only to members of Norfolk Shooting Club.  Not to be put off as there’s not a human in sight a quick leg over the gate and I’m on my way albeit this is short lived.  Within another mile the embankment splits into two with the options being:-

  • Private – No access, no public right of way.
  • Beware of the Bull

This is open countryside and I see no reason why people cannot walk the paths as long as the normal rules of the countryside apply, being to close the gate, keep dogs on leads, no litter etc.

So with this in mind I chose option B and and another leg over the gate, keeping a close watch for the Bull which may have been in attendance?  It took some two or three miles before I spotted cows in the far distance, however I’d gone too far to turn back and getting closer realised that it was all mums and their young which always means a situation to approach with caution.  Having been bought up on a farm as a youngster the sight of cows causes me little concern.  I spent many hours collecting them from fields for milking.  So on the approach a few hand claps and arm waves managed to clear the path with ease although as I passed I was certainly of interest, no doubt as there was probably some assumption it was feeding time and I might be the farmer!

This part of the coast is very flat and the tide comes in miles, the equilibrium generally controlled by the earth / grass embankment which is some five metres high and three metres wide, meaning there is marshland on the sea side which regularly has the sea covering, whilst on the other side there are crops growing and cattle grazing just like a normal farm.  

The exception to this situation is any number of lodges, customised boats or just shacks that seem to have been situated on the marsh side of the embankment, accessed purely by boards placed over the soggy marshland! It’s really a sight to behold and I can only guess that these are maybe owned by bird watchers or the like as there is very limited vehicle access and its some miles away if you needed to pop to the shops!

Still a lovely walk, although as mentioned this in theory is all land denied to the general public for access, such a shame.

The plan had been for this to be a six or seven mile walk with the end being in the village of Wolferton, however with no paths or roads leading from the embankment, the decision was made to continue onto Shepherd’s Port. This making it an eleven mile walk with the last few miles being a lot closer to the beach, or sea if the tide had been.  The sea goes out miles here but watch out it also comes in miles and very quickly!

Overall though a lovely day walking, hopefully an ‘official path’ is recognised through this dramatic landscape at some time soon.  It was great to be able to witness sights that very few Englanders will get to see at first hand.

Waiting to walk …. and welcoming visitors 😊

Tuesday 28th May – Sunday 16th June 2019

Three weeks have drifted by without a blog – the reason being that’s there’s been next to no rambling going on. As we waited out Steve’s recovery, I managed to develop a knee issue – the doctor has diagnosed cartilage or ligament damage and boy it’s painful. I was told to carry on walking as much as I can, as opposed to rest, so I do try a little each day … long coastal stretches would be a stretch too far at the moment however.

So this a short blog to fill the ‘time gap’ until our Norfolk Coast walking adventures get started. We are still loving this beautifully peaceful part of the world, from sitting in the garden enjoying the wildlife to visiting some stunning places … it’s just that we’re getting a bit stir crazy not being able to be as active as usual.

Our cottage is next door to a farm so we have some friendly neighbours who come to say hello. And we are still quite the twitchers – loving the variety of feathery folk who come to feed.

Despite the horrendous weather recently we have managed to get out and about a little. Stately homes, farm tracks and glorious beaches a’plenty. On Father’s Day we took a late stroll on Brancaster Beach and had a surprise encounter with a pod of seals – they looked like they were beached in the shallow water, waiting for the tide to return, so sweet.


Holkham Hall


Holkham Beach


A surprise find on Brancaster Beach

But, the most exciting thing of all is that we’ve had some visitors! Now, just lately, Steve and I have spent a huge amount of time just the two of us alone – not getting out as much, no contact with neighbours, not even meeting people when we do go out. There’s only so much two of you can talk about … and then there’s the cricket!!! So to have two lots of visitors was absolute Heaven – I hope we didn’t wear them out with our chat. 🤣

Our first visitor was Koen, a lovely young Dutch student who recently stayed with us in MK – he’s been on a month’s road trip around the UK in his Mk1 Toyota MR2. He was now on his way back south and called in to see us. Lovely to hear all about his amazing trip and I think we have made ourselves a new friend.

And then, a very special visit from our lovely friend Hannah – we hadn’t seen each other for 6 years so it was an amazing catch up. We left Steve immersed in World Cup Cricket and enjoyed a short walk and then lunch and a ‘long chat’ in the garden. A fantastic day and hopefully Hannah will be able to return soon as she is often in the area.

So limited rambling as yet … but watch this space – Steve is about to start off solo. And I hope to be able to join him very very soon. 😘