I walked this, the 12th stage of my Grand Norfolk Hike, on Saturday 7th April 2012.
I caught the bus on a fresh, sunny Saturday morning from Lynn to Wells at 8.30am.
I was pretty much the only passenger until Burnham Market where I was joined by a woman with her two children. She was about my age and came from the area. We started chatting and she told me how she used to walk her Lurcher across the salt marshes when she was a teenager, sometimes she’d camp the night in a bird hide. It sounded wonderful.
I arrived in Wells at 10am and immediately took the wrong path out of town. It wasn’t a huge diversion, 10 minutes at the most, these things happen to the best of us.
I walked alongside the salt marshes for an hour, the sea was about half a mile out, barely visible over the reeds and muddy channels. For a change of scenery I climbed up a bank that ran alongside the path and strolled through a narrow wood dotted with bluebells and daffodils. Here I took my first tea break.
Two youngsters (14 years old?) passed me by with air rifles slung over their shoulders, we said good morning to each other. Five minutes later another boy (7 years old) passed by, it was a busy little path, I thought of Just William and the Outlaws, they would have enjoyed it out here.
The path through the wood ended and left me with views over yellow fields of oilseed rape. I liked the combination of yellows made by the bush and the field.
By this time I was impatient to get back to the sea front. I arrived at Blakeny and ate my lunch on a bench near the nature reserve. Two miles later I was at Cley-next-the-Sea and the last set of marsh land before the coast.
It was on this stretch that I saw the wildlife highlight of the grand hike so far. Two marsh harriers kept me spellbound for almost half an hour. I’d never seen such beautiful, graceful animals before, they glided on the air with an effortless motion before diving into the marsh to hunt for prey.
Finally, finally I reached the sea. The beach was pebble, the sky grey and the landscape barren, with no one in sight for miles. I loved it! The sea crashed against the pebbles making a tremendous noise, the wind joined in whipping up a cacophony of sound…it was all so perfect.
While it was good to be back in earshot of the sea, the pebbles became tiresome to walk on, especially as I had a hole in my shoe which soon attracted the attention of little stowaway stones, so I’d have to stop every ten minutes to empty the little buggers out.
I was happy to see the start of the grassy Weybourne cliffs
And then, Sheringham! I took another breather, lying on my back for 10 minutes, I felt pretty knackered by then and was looking forward to a pint and some chips.
In Sheringham I was lucky to come across the Windham Arms.
The pub had a sign boasting that it only served ‘beer brewed in Norfolk’, wow, what more could a boy ask for? I enjoyed a pint of Elmwood Cuckoo and followed that with a Red Riding Hood from the Wolf Brewery. Clutching a bag of chips I made my weary way to the bus station. A fine day’s hike.