Tag Archives: Norfolk

A local walk from the doorstep

It’s great to see so many ‘new’ local faces but they do get in the way!  Trying to keep that social distancing close to home is so tricky at times, especially when others aren’t quite so respectful.  

For anyone that knows me and Tim or who has read my blog will know that we take getting out and exploring fairly seriously  – it’s our hobby and our life.  How far could we get with a drink and snack in our pack from the doorstep? We picked a nice day to try.

I will try and keep my comments brief and let the photos do the talking.

Heading west out of the village

Saturday 9th May 2020

I love this time of the year.  The leaves have just about appeared on the trees and the hedgerows and verges are full of new growth.  Mind you I seem to be affected by pollen this year (for the first time ever) no streaming eyes, just a dry cough.  A small price to pay for being outside.

Following the lane shown in the photo above a view of Ormesby Broad (or the waterway leading to the broad) can be see from the side of a cottage.  Note the treehouse being built on the left.

What a view

At the farm we turned onto meadows. Oh and just incase you missed the sign – keep dog on lead!

As we approached our neighbouring village we met some cattle.

Tim filming cows with calves and bull

I swiftly headed for the gate when I spotted the bull while Tim took his time!  The kissing gate is small and awkward and I wasn’t going to hang about – its survival of the fittest in some circumstances!  One of theses signs, on the other side of the bigger (locked) gate, mentions the ‘big bull’ but there wasn’t anything at the other end of this footpath.  Hmmm

The view from the otherside of the gate….

Onward we bypassed Hemsby village via a field.  After crossing the main road we continued north but taking smaller roads now as there are no footpaths at this point.

Thanks for (not) visiting Hemsby

We had a crazy idea to carry a bit of weight in our packs to feel like we usually do when we are away in the hills and mountains.  Here we are passing the sign of East Somerton and approaching the high point of the day – Blood Hills (about 70 feet above sea level).  So called because it was supposed to have been the place where Vikings and Saxons fought and the land turned blood red.

More recently it’s been used to place wind turbines.

The only car to pass us on the road over Blood Hills.

Over the top we followed farm tracks around Burnley Hall and out to the Staithe at West Somerton.  

The road here leads out to Horsey Mill but we followed a footpath just inland alongside the waterway at first then skirting the marsh.  The sound of birds in the reeds was constant.

Almost at the mill – this is a view I couldn’t resist taking a photo of.

Horsey Mill looking majestic

We did pause here for a drink and quick bite to eat.  We are not allowed to stop for long at this time – but we can have a little something just to keep us going.

At this point we turned east towards the dunes and sea.  It’s about a mile from here to the sea and inbetween there are meadows with lots of small waterways breaking up the land.  It’s really fragile as its so close to the sea and only really protected by sandy dunes.

Here is the coast path.  We headed straight through the gap in the sea wall to the sea.

Crossing the coast path

Thinking about my mum & dad and family – wish you were here

On the beach we had the biggest surprise.  Hundreds and hundreds of seals – all basking on the shore.  We’ve seen this before but there were many more this time – many more.  Tim did his best wildlife filming – I just stared in awe.

Oh and I took a few photos.

Seals heading for the water

So far, during the whole walk, we had only passed two people.

As we marched on the low tide sand we passed another couple.  Wow – it’s so quiet.

Marching along – heading south

We approached and passed the beach at Winterton.  The cafe is still hanging in there….only just.

The beach at Winterton

Further along we come to Hemsby beach.  We headed through a gap in the dunes to take the firmer walking in the area called ‘The Valley’.  

Through the gap into The Valley

Here we tipped the sand from our shoes.  This walking route is a sheltered alternative  to the sea/beach side and it felt very warm.

Hemsby is a village and holiday resort near the beach. Today the chalets and caravans are standing empty and amusements and cafes quiet.  Will it survive this I wondered.

Further along we reached Scratby.  Here we took our last look at the sea before turning inland to home.

 It’s a mile from the sea to our home.  We are so lucky – we can get to it on foot.  By pushing ourselves a bit we could get to our neighbouring villages too.

Weekend Challenge – Walkabout

 

Cycling during challenging times

Cycling.  Once upon a time Tim and I used to do a lot of cycling – covering many miles for fun and the odd cycle event.  We thought now would be a good time to get back on the road and get our cycling legs back.  Certainly, with our quieter roads, cyclists are a lot less vulnerable.

Saturday 10th April 2020

Its been at least two or maybe three years since we have been out on our bikes.  Our walking/hiking adventures kind of took over.  Having had some time to reflect on happy carefree times we thought we should dust the bikes down and pump up the tyres.

A test ride out – close to home during the late afternoon

We had two mid-week test rides, just to get back into the swing of things, then off we went to go a bit further on Saturday.

Springtime in the sunshine. This field is full of oil seed rape.

Leaving the village we passed several families all on their bikes – some with small children.  They can experience cycling on the road for the first time in relative safety.  Go for it I say.  It may never be this peaceful again.

Close to the coast we can follow a ‘coast road’ all the way around our lovely county of Norfolk – where it meets the sea.  Usually at Easter everyone starts to get out and about and cycling can be hazardous.  Not so today.  It was so quiet.  All the small car parks which have access to the sea are closed.  All the waterways and scenic spots deserted.  We reached Horsey Mill and sat for a moment.  

Pausing at Horsey Mill (National Trust)

Onwards we cycled along the middle of the road (just because we could) to the seaside village of Sea Palling.  Normally a magnet for those wanting a bit of beach time…all year round.  Generally it’s heaving on sunny days.  We cycled through and spotted ‘Go Home’ signs on car windscreens.  The message was working – the place was deserted.

Inland we passed a field of highland cattle and other mixed breeds.  We couldn’t help but stop here to admire these animals – unfortunately for them they had no real shelter from the warm sun and looked a bit hot in their fur coats.

Cycling through the other villages on the way home we passed people sitting in their front gardens.  We waved, they waved back.  Happy to see other people.

The main road that we followed near the end of our journey is one we haven’t cycled on for years.  It’s just so busy and can be dangerous.  Less so at the moment.

So we managed to get a good bit of exercise.  

Everyday we thank our good fortune – for where we live and our good health.  We hope to do some more cycling over the next days, weeks, months…. 

Stay safe..

 

Wednesday Challenge – Vulnerability

 

 

 

 

Signs of life under a white cloudy sky : 2020

‘Look at all that.   Looks like someone has dumped a load of rubbish next to the footpath?  That’s terrible’  I said.

Approaching the rubbish just off the path in Winterton Dunes

We got closer and then a small group of people appeared, all lounging on the ground amongst the heather below a few small trees.  They were drinking tea from flasks and dressed in scruffy clothes.  Scattered about them were colourful crates and sacks and heavy duty garden tools.

‘Hello, we thought we’d seen a whole pile of rubbish but now we can see you are actually people!’ Tim said.  Thankfully they seemed to find that amusing.

‘Have you seen any Rhodededrums?’ someone asked.  ‘Er, no I don’t think we have’, I said, looking back and hoping that was the right answer.  ‘That’s good – that’s what we are clearing….’ came a reply.

After a short (now we understand) pause we smiled, it seemed like we could all be friends!  Then, because we couldn’t think of anything else to say, we gave them a cheery goodbye and we carried on walking.

‘Didnt know Rhodededrums were a problem’ Tim said.  Neither did I.

You learn something every day.

Sunday 5th January 2020

Walking is how Tim and I got together.  Loving the outdoors, wherever we are, on foot.  It’s true that connecting with nature helps when other things in life are tough.

A walk we do often is a short drive from home and is the first walk we ever did together.  It’s about 5 miles long and can be enjoyed year round.  For blowing the Christmas and New Year cobwebs away this is perfect.  It’s a circular which usually starts at the small coastal village of Winterton.  Winterton is popular at weekends, especially with dog owners, so be warned….the parking can be tricky to say the least.

We parked outside of the village and walked a track through the Burnley Hall estate.  It’s easy, dry underfoot and very very quiet.  Eventually the concrete runs out and small footpaths are followed to the beach.  I noticed catkins appearing in the hedgerows. In mid winter, with some berries still in the shrubs, this might sound a bit crazy but I feel like this is the first sign of Spring.

There’s a small enclosure with two small lean two barns at either end protecting the animals from the weather where cattle are kept during the winter months.  These are beautiful beasts with short legs and brown or black coats – I have no idea what breed they are.  They were busy feeding but didn’t mind having their photo taken.  They are, as all cattle seem to be, very nosy.

Cattle eating

Cattle being nosy

On we went to the dunes and sea.

Track to the dunes

We stopped to have a bite to eat and drink and watched the seals on the beach.  Seal pup births have again been very high this year.  There were fewer today than a few weeks before Christmas.  Looking up the beach however we could see a huge mass of people on the beach at Winterton.  Out for a quiet stroll?

View along the coast to Winterton. Church just visible.

We took one of the many dune paths to the village and this is where we found our ‘rubbish’ people.  I have since found out that this group were volunteers working for the Norfolk Conservation Corps.  Doing some good work each weekend in some really special places in the Norfolk countryside.

Further along I photographed the path – here you can see small oaks and birch trees that skirt the dunes.

Through the village we passed through the church ground, past the allotments and onto a very muddy ‘low road’.

Winterton Church

Through the church yard

Allotments vegetables

Muddy path!

Though the village was busy we didnt see anyone along this bit!

Nearly back at the car the owners of these converted barns are in a wonderful spot with views out onto open countryside and a ten minute walk from the beach.  Not a bad spot.

Happy New Year.  Hoping for good walks, good health and good times.

 

 

Word/Photo Challenge White

First line of defence

Two days of walking on our local beaches here in Norfolk has really made us worry about the state of our sea defences.

Our coast is made up of sand with dunes which leaves large stretches vulnerable and at risk of erosion – and the erosion seems to be happening more and more often and at quite a speed.  Cliffs crumble away and can be dangerous, often collapsing without warning.

Yesterday we walked from a small village called Walcott to another village called Happisburgh – out along the beach and back along the cliff. The two and a half mile stretch of beach is something we’ve never done.

This is what most of it looks like.  There’s quite a high cliff just here.

There are lots of groynes.  Some running into the sea and others (as above) running in lines parallel with the sea.  Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, after a few years the metal bolts start to become loose, the wood rots and bits break away.

Here is Happisburgh church just peeking over the cliff (see photo below).  It’s getting closer and closer to the edge.   Great chunks of land and homes have fallen into the sea.  The static caravan park between the church and the edge of the cliff has closed and the site has almost been cleared.

This all sounds a bit grim, which is unlike me, but it’s how it is.  The photo below shows an old pillbox – once a cliff top lookout during wartime now resting on the beach quite a way from the current cliff edge.

On a positive note the view from the path on the way back is still a nice view – with the church in the distance.  And the farmer is still watering the crops.  We had to do a strategic run to avoid the spray!

We will continue to walk the coastal path here and monitor any changes.

Today we did a longer walk along the beach from Waxham to Eccles on sea. Sea Palling beach is between the two and is well protected by man made reefs put in place in 1995.  As a result the small village is protected and visitors flock here to enjoy the wonderful sandy beach.

Seals love this place too.  However they are usually born during the winter so this youngster, in the photo below, was a surprise to us.

The line of reefs can be seen in the photo.  As you can see, the beach has some rocky groynes which will hopefully last a little bit longer than the wooden/metal structures.

A few miles on and we reached the lifeboat ramp at Eccles and our turn around point.

There are several newer looking groynes here in amongst some rusting old defences.

I think it would be far better if more reefs were built.   I know it means bringing in lots of rock but this seems to be working as our first line of defence.

 

 

Photo Challenge Line-Up

Sailing away on a very warm day

Sunday 25th August 2019

It was almost 30 degrees and we had to leave our simmering garden for somewhere cooler.

Instead of heading to the beach (our nearest being about a mile away) to join the masses we went to our closest river, The Thurne, and took a slow stroll along it.   Here we found a gentle breeze.

Yes its been a warm couple of days and we really shouldn’t complain about that but it’s what happens in this country isn’t it?  We’ve always got the weather to talk about.

In full flow of the school summer holidays the population of Norfolk swells as the holiday makers come to enjoy beaches, waterways and open countryside.  It was certainly busy busy on the river bank at Potter Heigham.

Hire boats and privately owned boats of all shapes and sizes with assorted passengers are a fairly normal sight on the waterways in this part of the world but it was the bigger sailing yachts and their crews (just beyond the red sailed boat) that really caught my eye.

On board were several groups of teenagers who were probably doing something they had never done before – experiencing a bygone era when telephones were a luxury.  These wonderful wooden boats were from Hunters Yard, Ludham which is about 2 miles from this spot.  I’ve had a quick look at their website and they promote youth sailing which I think is fantastic.

Here they are a little closer before raising the sails.

A few set off from their moorings, heading in the same direction as us.  I couldn’t help but take a few photos as we travelled along.

The Thurne heads north to a large broad called Hickling.  The first of the large sailing yacht with the youngesters onboard, legs over the edge in the water, headed that way and we watched them disappear while sitting on the bank near the footpath.

Another came along shortly afterwards but the teacher (skipper) wasn’t sure whether to go straight on or left.  A frantic radio message finally had a reply that he needed which was just before I was about to shout out ‘left’. They circled and headed away…

How strange that he didn’t know the route.  Was he a teacher or a hired skipper I wondered.

The last to come past us before we left this spot was a small sail boat with a couple on board.  They appeared in the first photo.  They sailed straight on – to a quieter waterway with an air of experience.

Their boat was called ‘Serene’.

When comparing these boats which is best and which would you prefer, the large yachts or the smaller boat?

Size Matters

 

Weekly Prompt : Sphere

A weekly prompt with the word Sphere.  A bit of a test from GC and Sue.

I was about to give up on this but just as we finished a long walk yesterday, up along the North Norfolk coastal path, I stopped and thought, well I wonder if this might do.  A wall made of Flint with the occasional red brick.

It’s the flints that caught my eye.  If you could see those ancient cobbled stones as a whole (not half hidden in the wall) lots would be spheres wouldn’t they?

Not knowing enough about architecture or building materials I have googled ‘Flint’ and ‘Norfolk’ for a bit of information.   Wikipedia often helps…..

Flint, knapped or unknapped, has been used from antiquity (for example at the Late Roman fort of Burgh Castle in Norfolk) up to the present day as a material for building stone walls, using lime mortar, and often combined with other available stone or brick rubble. It was most common in parts of southern England, where no good building stone was available locally, and brick-making not widespread until the later Middle Ages. It is especially associated with East Anglia, but also used in chalky areas stretching through Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent to Somerset. Flint was used in the construction of many churches, houses, and other buildings, for example the large stronghold of Framlingham Castle. Many different decorative effects have been achieved by using different types of knapping or arrangement and combinations with stone (flushwork), especially in the 15th and early 16th centuries.<\em>

I will do my best to photograph a few more Flint buildings in future.

Photo Challenge Sphere

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