Sheringham, on the North Norfolk coast, grew with the fishing industry. The arrival of the railway meant the fish could easily be transported to the London markets. It’s now a traditional seaside town with only a handful of small fishing boats. Sheringham Park a couple of miles from the town was designed in 1812. It has a wonderful landscaped garden with park land and is famous for its rhododendrons and azaleas – you could spend all day there.
Pick a sunny day in early May to visit the garden and you won’t be disappointed. Do not go at the end of April ( as we have just done) if you’ve not been before. Not that it isn’t a beautiful place to go anyway – it’s just that if you haven’t seen the garden in full bloom then you’d miss out. My guess for this year is the third week in May!
Saturday 30th April 2016
There’s lots of parking at Sheringham Park itself but this time we parked the car just up the road in a smaller car park at Pretty Corner. Pretty Corner – sits next to a lovely wood with several trails and a tea shop (as yet unsampled by us).
We set off towards Upper Sheringham which is small village where all the properties seem to be styled with flint. Swallows were flying low over the fields. We’ve walked this way before and usually it’s so quiet you wonder whether anyone actually lives here at all. The silence was broken this time by a group guys on mountain bikes who passed us.
Into the park we went through some iron gates and turned left. The coffee at the cafe was calling us. The courtyard cafe is a great little spot to linger. There’s a small gift shop and visitors centre – it’s hard to resist a browse and it’s even harder to resist buying cake with your coffee! My writing about cafes and food seems to be growing trend in my posts.
Having made the most of the facilities we set off along the main path. In about two weeks time this place will be packed with people taking photos – for now it was fairly quiet. We did find one or two shrubs in flower so we weren’t too disappointed.
There are a couple of small wooden towers (get a map at the centre to help find them) which give views over the top of the plants. It’s worth having a look for them. The main path leads out, away from the trees and shrubs, and you get a glimpse of the sea and Weybourne Mill in the distance.
We made for the sea, leaving the park by crossing the busy coast road and following the footpath that takes you over a railway bridge. This is where the North Norfolk steam trains run (the Poppy Line). It’s like being taken way, way back in time if you coincide your bridge crossing with a train. The golden age of steam….
Just a short stroll away are the sandy cliffs. Here the skylarks were singing high in the sky. Ahhh, the sound of summer. We turned right and headed towards the tiny coast watch building on the top of the highest cliff. It was a race to bag our favourite bench for our lunch stop. There were several people milling about at the top but we beat any challengers to ‘our spot’. Sea, the woods, steam trains, blue sky and even a bit of golf to watch – perfect.
The cliff top path takes you on to the seaside town of Sheringham. Suddenly there are lots of people eating lots fish & chips and ice cream. I prefer the artwork that has been added to the sea walls – showing the old fishing days. Does that sound bad?
Through and out of the town we marched alongside the main road – the A148. I am always amazed by the amount of people travelling along in cars in the middle of the day when it’s sunny. Maybe this time it had something to do with the Thomas the Tank Engine railway day at Sheringham station. I thought how my nephews and nieces would enjoy that.
Turning off the main road we passed Beeston Hall boarding school, heading inland. We reached Beeston Regis Heath and climbed up through the trees to the high point at Stone Hill. Not a great height but not bad for Norfolk.
From here it’s down, across a road and into the woods – Sheringham Woods. There are numerous paths – be prepared to get lost! My tip would be to follow dog walkers – almost guaranteed to take you safely out and back to the car park at Pretty Corner.
These open and hilly areas in Norfolk around Beeston Regis Heath, the Roman Camp (highest point in Norfolk) and Sheringham Park and Wood are all owned by the National Trust and for that we should be thankful.
Sheringham town motto – Twixt pine and sea (between pine trees and the sea).