Two camels to North Norfolk

Cley marsh early evening
Cley marsh early evening

We had a loose arrangement to go away for the weekend with our friends H&N, which we had not got round to arranging when out of the blue we got an email with details of a cottage, which would be booked whether we were coming or not. We were over the moon and arranged to have the Friday off, we would be spending the weekend in North Norfolk in a little village called Wiveton with a pub called the Bell with a reputation for good pub grub. We were up quite early and left the house at about 08:45 destination my parents, for a coffee stop. We stopped for about an hour then headed towards Peterborough then across the flat lands towards Kings Lynn. As we left the ring road at a roundabout we spotted a circus tent and to our surprise two camels grazing in the field. Our planned stop was the cafe at Holkham but when we got there the place was closed for refurbishment, so we had to go to the Victoria for some lunch. They did not have a snack menu, so we had a starter each. Helen had the soup of the day, and I had a chicory, Roquefort and walnut sale, which was quite small but we asked for bread with it so it filled a hole.

Cley windmill

We crossed over the road to Queen Anne’s drive and parked up then spent a couple of hours wandering through the pine forest then back along Holkham Beach where the usual nudists were absent, probably some thing to do the with cold wind, as the sun was out and the sky was blue. We then headed toward Cley and helen spotted a short-eared owl from the car and I just about got sight of it to identify the species. We stopped at the deli in Cley for some snacks and salad for later, then parked up at the far end of the reserve and walked out on the bund, to the sea. The sun was low so the light was great for taking photos, so I did. In the reedbed we spotted reed buntings. There were some frisky swans fighting and plenty of waders. The curlews were calling which is always a great sound to hear it reminds me of the seaside when I hear it out of context for example on the TV in the back ground.

It was getting towards17:00 so we headed to the cottage that N&H had rented, and on the way there we spotted another owl species from the car this time a barn owl. We found the cottage easily thanks to Helen having checked it out on street view the day before. H&N we’re not far behind as N had got the afternoon off. We had my pasta sauce for dinner then caught up on each other’s news.

N cooked us a breakfast as a result we did not leave the hut until 11:00 the rough plan was to head to the coast then turn right and see how far we got before turning back in land and back to Wiveton. It was an overcast day but the forecast was for no rain till the evening so we did not need to take waterproofs. We headed out of the village on the road until we got to the main coast road where we crossed over on to the sea wall until we reached the village of Cley by the sea. We made sure we got on the correct section of the sea wall because there is a section that heads towards Cley but then curves around and takes you west to Blakeney, we were heading east to Salthouse.
We passed through the Cley windmill complex and then out towards the sea and the car park where there used to be a cafe but after a winter storm some years ago it was washed away and never replaced. The tide was quite low so we had the luxury of hard standing to walk on near the water’s edge, but eventually we had to walk in land and over a long stretch of gravel which was hard work. We took a familiar path in land to Salthouse as Helen and I had stayed there a few years ago. We had lunch at the Dun Cow, had changed and gone all trendy since we last visited it. The food used to be fried pub grub, I had smoked salmon salad and gavalax, the others had a goats cheese salad and deep fried mushrooms, and haloumi chips with chipolte mayonnaise. The food was good but we would have referred a sandwich, rather than a selection of starters.

Wiveton church

Suitably refreshed we then headed back to the hut, but we took the more direct route following a footpath that ran parallel to the coat road and more inland. We couple not find a path I had spotted on open street map so we had to walk up Old Woman’s Lane to get back on track. We passed though the Cley churchyard then up Glandford Road, across the bridge and back in to Wiveton. We were all quite tired as it had been a long walk, so we sat and watched the French lose to Wales in the Six Nations. We had a table booked at the Wiveton Bell which has a reputation for good food, it was a good job that we booked because as we arrived a lady was being turned away despite her pleading. The beer was good as well as the food. I had Lemon Sole and the other had a risotto which was very filling so we skipped dessert.

Next morning we were up a a reasonable time as we had to vacate the hut by 10:00 so rather than a cooked breakfast we had toast, then gave the hut the once over and vacated just after 10:00. We headed for Cley Spy at Glandford to have a drool over the expensive optics that they sell. H&N bought a reasonably price pocket sized binoculars, then we headed to the Art Cafe and had a look round the tut. Helen managed to buy a cushion to add to our collection. Next stop would be

Holkham beach view

Holkham beach as the sky was blue albeit a bit windy. We parked at the Beach Cafe at Wells rather than Queen Annes drive because we would then be able to have a spot of lunch after our walk. We kept to the woods as we walked west so to avoid walking into the cold wind We got almost to Queen Anne’s drive before popping out of the woods and letting the hound loose on Holkham, boy can that dog run. By the time we had walked along the beach back to the coastguard’s look out the temperature was not as cold as it had been first thing, and so we sat outside and had a coffee and something to eat.

We said our goodbyes then headed home whilst listening to Ireland beat England in the Six Nations. The journey was quite uneventful with little traffic but we made a bad choice as we crossed Luton and wasted sometime following the SatNav through town when we should have gone via the airport. All in all a great weekend with good company, as good a weather as you would expect at this time of year, and some good walking.

Three buses to Holkham nudist beach

Norfolk seaside view

After a hot night we were up and ready for breakfast at 08:10, I had scrambled eggs and mushroom had Helen had beans and hash browns, the toast was lovely made from home made bread. We gathered our stuff and walked down the road to the Stiffkey bus stop to get the bus to Burnham Deepdale, only to find the next bus was not for another fifty minutes! What should we do? We decide to get the bus going the other way and have a coffee at the Cley NWT cafe. On the way to Cley we realised that we would not have enough time for a coffee so we got off at Cley village stores, and waited for the bus going the way we wanted.

After a five minute wait we were on the right bus going to our chosen destination, we wanted to walk from Burnham Deepdale to Wells next to sea about 10 miles. We passed though Burnham Market on the way which had a craft fair going on around the village green, it looked interesting but the place was heaving and it was only 10. When we got off the bus we realised how hot the day was, the weather man had promised 30 degrees. As we headed out along the sea wall we both began to realise that the whole walk may not be managed. When you get close Burnham Overy Staithe you hit a kind of false summit, the sea wall heads back on it self, which was very disheartening to Helen and a few expletives were heard.

At the quay of Burnham Overy Staithe there is a chandlers/general store which sold cold drinks, it was very welcome. Inside it seemed to be air conditioned, we lingered deciding what drink to purchase. We sat on a railway sleeper in the shade outside, a woman was trying to find some where to tie up her small terrier Helen offered to hold on to the lead but the offer was turned down on the basis that the dog would probably go for us so could we warn passersby not to get too close! While the lady was a way the dog snarled a lot at the passing people.

Burnham Deepdale church

The quay is a popular spot as there is a free car park and you can cross a shallow creek and then get out to a lovely cut off beach, seems every man and his dog was heading out there, it looked like a scene from war of the worlds when everyone leaves town in a mass exodus. We contemplated getting the bus to Holkham but in the end continued on our walk. After another couple of miles we were in the sand dunes, next stop was a paddle in the sea. It is surprising how cooling a paddle is, I think the cold temperature on your feet combined with the stiff sea breeze, just hits the spot.

Holkham beach is vast, and we were walking at the sea edge for over an hour. We can across some some very trusting Sanderlings and Ringed Plovers. At one point we stopped and sat down to have some lunch we had purchased some cheese and onion pasties the day before. Our choice of spots was not interesting, we were at the far edge of the nudist area, and every so often a nude man would make circuit strutting his stuff. Helen &I have have some experience of nudists beaches, not as nudists you understand, we just have this uncanny knack of coming across them when out of walks. Male couples tend to gather at the fringes of them and the Holkham one was no different. We walked on and slowly the nudists dissolved away and clothed beach users took over. The beach was tough on bare feet so we decided to head inland to the pine forest to continue the walk in the shade.

Hoklham beach view

On one side of the forest there was a lovely breeze which combined with the shade of the trees was bearable but as we got deeper in to the forest the breeze went and the heat took over. We were starting to discuss the ice creams we were going to order when we got to the Wells ice cream shop. When we got to the ice cream the queue was massive so we walked on to the town along the sea wall, when we got there we had just about had enough. I popped in to a shop while Helen checked out the bus times. The buses seemed to be running late, but we made good use of the time downing two 7 Ups and two bottles of water between us.

Eventually the bus came 40 minutes late it turns out there was a bad accident around Holkham and the traffic was being sent round the Holkham estate. We purchased our tickets and requested being dropped off at the Red Lion in Stiffkey, one of the services offered by the coast hoppers is that you can be dropped off anywhere safe on their route. After 10 minutes in a very hot bus we were dropped off outside the pub. We rested a while before a shower and then went down to the bar, Helen had veggie lasagne and I had wild mushroom and pea risotto, both dishes got the thumbs up. For desert we had another drink, then retired to our room well replete.