Tag Archives: Norfolk

Under big skies : Norfolk

Our home country of Norfolk is known for big skies. The land is generally flat so I suppose it gives you more sky to look at.  Nothing or not much to block the clouds or blue view!

This posting includes photographs taken only in Norfolk with, what I hope, are some nice looking skies.

This first one is a misty view of dunes and sky with the village if Winterton on Sea as a distant backdrop.  The church is the only thing visible as a silhouette.  It was taken on one of our regular ‘home’ walks back in January 2017.

Just last weekend we saw the sun setting at the end of a long walk near Waxham.  Once again taken from a dune which I had frantically scrambled up (through brambles!) from a lower footpath.  Not hugely dramatic but i was pleased with it after my efforts.

Sometimes it’s what’s moving through the sky that grabs your attention!  A lunch stop on the beach near Horsey. Had to be quick with the camera.

If we’re just out for a picnic we take our trusty Sportbrella and pitch it wherever we like.  That orange glow looks best under moody skies!  This is Weybourne in North Norfolk.

More often than not its that typical Norfolk scene that we love, it’s how Norfolk is recognised.  This is Horsey Mill recently renovated to its former glory.

Photo Challenge Sky

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Stepping back in time : The 1940s in Sheringham

Time for something a little bit different.

The seaside town of Sheringham has been hosting a 1940s weekend for several years. It seems to have kept the feel of that era in its buildings and railway.

Launched as a ‘wartime on the railways’ day in 2003, the forties weekend started life as a celebration of the role the railways played in the Second World War, from transporting troops, to taking more than three million evacuees to their temporary homes.  It now sees a huge influx of re-enactors, which may see silly but actually it’s keeping history alive.

We have of course included the town on many of our walks including this one :- https://itslovelyout.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/twixt-pine-and-sea/

In the above linked post you can see a photo of the steam train pulling away from Sheringham and making its way to Weybourne.

This time Tim and I decided to drift through yesterday to see get a flavour of this festival.  Camera in hand we stepped into the day of our grandparents and parents. Into every film based in this era, including all those black and white war movies.   This what we saw …..

Shame about the red plastic chairs!

Behave yourselves

There were several evacuees but I felt this little boy walking away was the better photo

One pram had a dog, the other a real life baby!

Can I sell you a watch

F.F.I (French forces of the interior) – known as the resistance

Looking out for enemy aircraft

WordPress Challenge : Silence

Silence

I thought long and hard about this photo challenge.

There’s been so many beautifully quiet places we’ve been to and stopped at on our hikes or travels.   Hill tops or mountains covered in snow with all sounds muffled.

So I could have searched for a snowy shot but instead went for a photo I took only yesterday.  This one taken in our home county of Norfolk which is currently ‘snow free’ and many miles away from any mountain!

The remains of Honing Station, Norfolk

Only the platforms and the tiled footings of a small building on either side remain.  It’s actually closer to the small village of Briggate but this is all that is left of Honing Station.

Imagine the steam trains coming through, the whistles blowing, the travellers arriving or departing. “ALL ABOARD”

Today its a quiet place.

Wikipedia say this :

The Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway ran through the parish, part of a line that linked Great Yarmouth to Sutton Bridge via Stalham, North Walsham, Aylsham, Melton Constable, Fakenham and King’s Lynn. It opened in stages between 1865 and 1933. The line closed in 1959, although some sections survive and are now part of the Weaver’s Way footpath. Other remnants of the line that can still be seen in the parish are a cast iron, steel and brick railway bridge of 1881 on the Dilham road south of the village. At Briggate there are still the disused platforms of Honing Station.

Here is the above mentioned iron railway bridge a little way along from the platforms.

Routine returns – walks, seals, crowds and an old bomb!

After an enjoyable family get together over Christmas we were back home and back to work before the start of 2018. But what did we do with the three days off before really getting back to normal on the 2nd January?

Writing this on the 6th it all seems such a long time ago…..

Saturday 30th December 2017 – Southwold, Suffolk

A winter walk. Wrap up and you can enjoy the outdoors all year round. So, once you’ve got to where you want to be, I recommend starting the day off with a delicious sausage roll and coffee.  Adnams, Southwold (Suffolk) was our destination and this was our second breakfast of the day.  Tried and tested (many times) we love this place.

Second breakfast in the cafe at Adnams, Southwold

Southwold beach huts

What started out as a bit of a casual stroll turned into a brisk march.  It’s easy to cover the miles from Southwold to Dunwich & back in the summer but daylight is short at this time of the year and we had almost bitten off more than we could chew!  We only had 15 minutes to eat our lunch at Dunwich and get back before dusk.

A serene beach scene at Dunwich – looking back towards Southwold

Thankfully, we made it back to the car before dark and didn’t have to use our head torch!

Sunday 31st December 2017 – Norwich, Norfolk

We took the plunge and risked a shopping trip on New Years Eve. Outdoor shops are, unsurprisingly, our favourites and we were there for their 10am opening.   I bought a mint green lightweight rain jacket – couldn’t resist adding another to my collection!  For some women it’s shoes and handbags for me it’s everything outdoorsy.

Evening meal with Tims parents and home before the clocks struck midnight.  We are really soooo old.

Monday 1st January 2018 – Winterton, Norfolk

Last minute decision to take a shortish walk at our local beach – Winterton.  Previous posts have mentioned the seal colony at Horsey which has seen a population explosion and now stretches all the way down to Winterton.  The crowds were certainly out today, taking advantage of the dry sunny(ish) weather.

Winterton Beach from the dunes

Amongst the lower dunes some pups were almost old enough to take to the sea.  First they have to get rid of their baby white fur.  This one was having a good scratch and you can see the sand covered in fur.

Getting rid of the fur

The crowds grew as we circled back to Winterton village at 3pm.  Why do people leave it so late in the day to get out?

These horse riders, who had been in the sea, had confidence in their horses to tackle steep sand banks.

So what about the bomb?  Well later in the week Tim was chatting with one of his clients who had also been walking on Winterton Beach the day after us, on 2nd January.

He had had an unusual find in the sand.  Apparently it was partially covered so he kicked it a few times to clear the sand and take a closer look, as you do. He then left it as it was too heavy to move.  This turned out to be an unexplored bomb from World War 2 and was destroyed by the proper authorities later that very day!  He recognised it from a television report.

Obviously it was unlikely to have gone off, due to the time spent rolling around in the sea, but can you imagine the news headlines if a member of the public or say one of those horses I photographed had detonated it!?

Heres to a Happy Healthy Safe New Year.

The bomb was briefly mentioned on the BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-42579754

A really really lazy day at the beach

This time last week we were in the midst of a heat wave.  With temperatures set to reach 26 degrees in Norfolk we selected Walcott as our destination for the day.

Sunday 18th June 2017

It was definitely going to be a beach day. So, with Beach umbrella, chairs and picnic packed we headed for the sand and, for us, a lazy day.

Walcott, a tiny village on the Norfolk Coast, is not a snazzy seaside place, infact it’s really quiet and not at all exciting. It is, however the only village in Norfolk where the road runs right alongside the beach making it popular for motorbikers and cyclists or anyone just touring through.

It’s suffered a bit in storms. 1953, 2007 and 2013.  Infact we went to take a look at the damage in 2013 and it was incredible – large blocks of concrete moved several feet from the sea defences and homes were badly affected.

This is what the sea wall looks like at Walcott – with a concrete walkway all the way to Bacton.  The photo below was taken at high tide and only a thin strip of beach is visible – looking towards Bacton.

On the way to Walcott was passed the more popular beach destinations of Sea Palling and Happisburgh (pronounced Hazborough).  Here the good people of Norfolk were arriving in huge numbers from surrounding villages, towns and the city of Norwich.

We had chosen wisely.  Parking easily we walked a short distance and pitched our umbrella.  If you’ve never seen these they are wonderful things these – called a Sport Brella and comes in several colours.  So easy to put up and take down it takes away all the stress that you might have with other portable shelters.

There we sat….for a few hours.

A grey seal swam past as I was having a paddle. Tim took a few photos – me & seal, both checking each other out.

Then we pitched our umbrella closer to the sea for a bit more ‘air’ and sat a bit longer…it was glorious.

After a while we could take this no longer and set off for a short walk to Bacton Beach.  The tide was going out and leaving sea water stranded in long shallow pools.  I remember this happening as a child on holiday on the Dutch coast and the pools feeling like warm bath water.

You can see kids playing in the water up ahead of us on our walk in the photo below.

At Bacton we bought a couple of drinks at this tiny place ‘The Tea Shed’ and headed back.

A nice cup of tea to finish off before going home – we joined several people at the cafe/restaurant.  As I mentioned above its a popular stopping place for motorcyclists here and they arrive in big groups at the cafe.  Today it was just us and lots of large families (large in number and size!) eating fish and chips.  I did manage to capture one keen biker….

We don’t often sit about all day but today was certainly the day to do just that.  Phew what a scorcher!

Our heatwave is over now – it was fun while it lasted.

 

Goodbye little pups, Hello big seals

Half way through this walk….

It’s a ‘haul out’ and it’s another seal spectacle!  Wow, look at that.

Two minutes earlier I photographed the image you can see below, written on the chalk board :  ‘Large Adult haul outs at Viewing Platform’ and then ‘Total births to date 1423’.

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Sunday 22nd January 2017 and Sunday 29th January 2017!

Two walks – the same route – two weekends running!  Are we loosing our quest for adventure?  Never.

Here we go – this is a 7 mile route which skirts the edge of Martham Broad at the start, passes Horsey Windpump, takes on a bit of beach in the middle and ends up on quiet tracks.  Wrap up warm, take your binoculars and camera and see what happens along the way….

With sunny skies on both visits I have used a combo of photos taken on both days. They may look like they were taken on the same day but the waterways were completely frozen over on the 22nd but back to normal on the 29th.

We parked on the Horsey Road at West Somerton Staithe – there’s room for three cars on the side of the road here.

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The frozen water  at the end of the Staithe – right next to the road

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Step away from the parked car and the route is clear

More and more information boards seem to be popping up alongside nature reserves these days which is great. Good work whoever sorts that out. It also saves me drawing most of the route for this post!  We are following route 1 (orange line on map) going away from the car and then taking route 2 back (green line on map).  It doesn’t quite show how we linked them which is a little bit irritating!

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These days I’m the one taking all the photographs.  It’s a surprise when, five minutes into the walk, Tim says “I’ll just take one of you here”.  Awwh, just like the old days I turn and try to pose nicely (and not fall off the slippery wooden bridge).  Ok, moving on…..

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The path from here is grassy and broad and the sound of distant geese fills the air.  If you’re lucky you can spot something a little bit more unusual as we did on the colder of the two days.  A pair of Bearded Tit flittered alongside us in the reed.  What to do, use binoculars or try and photograph? Quite honestly the resulting photos didn’t do them justice so I’ve left them out of this post.  It was lovely to just stand and stare for a bit.

All along this section we are on a stop/start/stare slow motion – on both visits the binoculars were put to good use.  I can’t list out all the ‘spotted’ birds – when it comes to twitching we have a long way to go.

After about two miles we are back on the Horsey Road and taking on possibly the worst bit of the walk.  Why so bad you may think. Well, there is no pavement and very little verge.  So we played a game of dare (and chicken) with the passing cars.  Make it to the mill and you’ll live to see another day.

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On the road to the mill

As you can see (from the photos above and below) the National Trust are busy working on the mill at the moment.  The scaffolding has been up for a while but, from the information boards in the car park and at the tea shop, it looks like it will be back to its very old (1912) self sometime later this year.

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Ice creams, teas, coffees, gifts – not open!

Shame about the closed tea shop.  It’s a favourite stopping point when we’re out on our bikes in the spring or summer or when we’ve hired day boats with  friends and family.  We make do with a boiled sweet this time.

The car park is quite big here so might be worth starting the walk from this point if the three spaces back down the road are taken.

I should mention that the Nelson Head pub is a two minute walk from here – and there’s always the option of doing a quick down to the beach and back for a pint and/or spot of lunch.  It’s been a long time since we visited even though we pass it regularly.  I think the last time was when we got soaked having cycled through some of the deepest, widest puddles ever – we staggered in and gently steamed in front of a roaring open fire with a couple of pints.

From the mill cross the road and follow footpath signs across fields.  It can get sticky underfoot here – be warned.  Very soon you’ll be back onto a solid track.  The dunes might seem like a distant line on the horizon but keep going it should only take about 20 minutes.

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The track to the beach

Finally the dune and the beach.  Surely all those pups have fledged or whatever pups do when they are old enough!  There are no signs of any wardens and people are on the beach. The beach is ‘closed’ just here during the pupping season and The Friends of Horsey Seals do a grand job – busy from November through to…well, now I suppose.

My previous post mentions the seals :-

https://itslovelyout.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/its-all-about-the-seals-on-the-norfolk-coast/

We followed the landward side track until we reached the steps to the ‘viewing  platform’ – as mentioned on the board (first photo of this post ).  Up the steps and over the dune until we were met with the unusual sight – lots of adult seals all ‘hauled up’ onto the beach in big groups just along the shoreline and just behind them masses of humans all standing around looking at them.

This is a normal situation for these seals, as I understand it they all come out to moult.   Pupping and breeding time over its a chance to lay about and chill and with all the visitors taking photos they might even feel like celebrities?!

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As close as I dare

I took the photo below to show just how many people were on the beach – with Tim posing in front.  Look behind the rocks!  The rocks are a fairly new addition to the beach and part of a sea defence project which I think, by the way they huddle around them, the seals seem to appreciate.

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Tim, rocks, seals and crowds

These were taken just a little way down where a smaller group of seals were trying to get away from the madding crowd.

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A different angle

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A sign of a healthy seal

We sat and ate our lunch a bit further down.  One thing about being up close and personal with seals is that you find out how smelly they are.  It’s a bit like going to the zoo…minus the cages/enclosures…actually it’s nothing like a zoo.

Completely on now our own now, all except for this small plane which buzzed overhead – the Red Barron I called it.  Apparently it’s a Tiger Moth and I jumped up to photograph it as it came over.  I’m quite pleased with this shot.

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The Red Baron approaches overhead!

The walk back from here now follows the green line on the map above.

It’s time to cross through the dune via one of the ‘gaps’.  We used the Bramble Hill Gap which had some boarding to scramble over but there’s another, within a stones throw, called the Winterton Ness Gap which is an easy stroll.  Either will lead to a junction of paths and here, at another information board, right next to the huge concrete world war tank traps you need to take the path heading inland.  Initially through a gateway then onto a recently resurfaced broad stoney track. It’s a wide footpath, wide enough for vehicle access.  On reaching a small animal enclosure the footpath sign points around a hedgerow then onto a concrete track.

It’s here that we’ve taken nephews and nieces to scooter as we can safely ‘let them go’ so to speak while we’ve trotted behind.  Occasionally shouting “TRACTOR” and “GET ON THE SIDE” warnings.  This is part of the Burnley Hall Estate and we are surrounded by marsh grazing land, small waterways and a bit of woodland.

Keep following footpath signs – turning right at a T-junction of paths then between houses to cross a small field to reach houses on the Horsey Road.

Before you know it, and just around the corner, there’s the Staithe and the parked car.  Oh, I did take one last photo….

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The car and Staithe at West Somerton

Blue sky days in winter can be as enjoyable as blue sky days at any other time of the year.

 

 

Norfolk Broads : St Benets (from the other side!)

From the ‘other side’ sounds a bit spooky, otherworldly, like a supernatural visit.  In a way it was for this was truly unusual.  A walking trip I planned which is a rare thing indeed, as it is Tim who is the planner, not me.

I’m also not very good at adding maps to my blog.  Must try harder next year.  Meantime, this is a photo taken at the start of the walk of a poster (what a cheat).  Follow the white dots (outer) to follow our walk – or check out the short cuts for an easier one.

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Monday 26 December 2016 – Boxing Day

In the UK and in Commonwealth countries this is the day after Christmas Day.  The day when you start to work your way through all the left over food from the previous day.  A time for bubble & squeak (Brussels Sprouts and Potato mashed and fried), cold meats and pickles.

Its a day when the shops open with reduced prices – commonly known as ‘The Sales’.  People rush to see what bargains they have to offer.  Though these days the sales are so regular I can’t see what all the fuss is about.

In our part of the world it was a traditional fox hunting day.  Nowadays the ‘hunt’ follow scented trails.  Thank goodness for that – foxes suffer enough with less habitats and greater chances of being killed on roads.

Historically though it’s a day when tradesmen or servants would have hoped for’boxed’ gifts from clients or employers.  Google is my friend and helped me out once again with this fact.

For many, it’s a day to get out there and have a walk.  And so it was, not surprisingly, for us.  And what about ‘the other side’?  Well my route, a completely new one to us, was on the opposite side of the river from St Benets (as detailed in my previous post) – the other side, see what I did there?

Here we go then – this is a brief synopsis of this 8 mile walk.

Parking at Upton. See map – it’s on the bottom right.  Free parking with at least 30 spaces next to the boatyard.  Walk up the dyke on the left hand side towards the river Bure.

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Turn left and follow as far as you can, alongside the river.  The reed looked golden in the sunlight.

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Plenty of old mills along the way  – some working, some stopped.  The two below, with sails, are at Thurne.

Pick a nice day – there is no shelter from the elements!  We had a stiff breeze into our faces but it certainly wasn’t cold.

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Eventually, after about four miles, we reach the site of St Benets.  The remains of the abbey (that I didn’t photograph last time) and the gatehouse with mill from ‘the other side’.

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Now heading away from the river we reach the edge of South Walsham Broad.  A quiet bit of water at this time of the year.

Then we turned and headed towards Upton Fen after briefly stopping for our picnic lunch at Pilson Green.  Roast tomato soup and cheese with cranberry sauce sandwiches.

What a wonderful surprise this wooded area was at Upton Fen.  It seems to be well maintained by Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the section below has a board walk over boggy areas.  Shortly after I took this shot a large branch fell just glancing Tims shoulder.  We picked up the pace a bit after that!

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The information boards at parking areas here show several routes around the fen.  We will definitely be back to explore it – it’s a hidden gem.

Out of the wood we took country lanes past farms and then, before we knew it, we were back at the car.

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A perfect walk – one of the best we have done in Norfolk and so close to home.

This is my last blog post of the year.  Here’s to next year and more of the same.

Happy New Year.