North Norfolk Days

Sunday 14th April A10 north to King’s Lynn – fields of rape glowing in the sun against an ashen sky.  A149 to the NN coast and through Holm, Thornham and Titchwell.  Down to the beach at Brancaster in a chilly easterly; blocks of black stone protect the RNGC Club House. Brancaster Staithe, Burnham Deepdale then Burnham Overy Staithe: low tide; piping avocets, redshanks and oystercatchers feeding on the mud banks; geese calling from the meadows and marshes.  Lunch at The Hero, crowded.  At Holkham emerging saltmarsh taking over the once unbroken sand.

Monday 15th April  Early walk on Wells beach.  Tide far out; sand banks, gullies and a distant line of surf create false horizons; figures well-wrapped against the wind become tiny exclamation marks on a shorescape of endless sea and sky.  The wind passes through Holkham Meals in soughing waves.  Along Staithe Street, a mix of kiss-me-quick seaside jollity vies with attempts at style and sophistication.  On the quay the Albatros offers Dutch cuisine; and innocent childhood crabbing has been commercialised.

Tuesday 16th April  Leisurely breakfast.  Out through Stiffkey and Morston to Blakeney.  Doors to 15th cent. Guildhall open, palm-like brick vaults spring from octagonal columns.  Up to St Nicholas: in a corner of a south window bishops set off to confront the Pelagian Heresy.  (Hmm.)  Cley.  Tide up, waves creating a thundering longshore drift; a skein of Brent geese overhead and fishermen casting lines hopefully over the surf.  Via Salthouse and Weybourn to Sheringham; angry green-brown sea battering black rock sea defences – they will be sand one day.  Pasta for supper as a goldfinch sings in the garden.

Wednesday 17th April  Woken by a blackbird.  On Wells beach the distant surf booms across the sand and a dredger builds giant sand castles.  Two hundred chalets (grand beach huts) look across open, vulnerable territory – one on the market for £53,750.  Coffee at Artemis in Cley; sign in the loo says ‘What if the hokey cokey really IS what it’s all about?’  Crab sandwiches for lunch in Holt.  Home.

Photographs: Burnham Overy Staithe; Wells-next-the-Sea; Blakeney; Cley

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