On our way to the North Norfolk coast we passed through Aylsham, which is when we realised that we should have made the effort to visit when we cycled there along the Bure Valley Railway (see my previous post for details).
The access to our next site, Woodlands Caravan Park, was really easy, straight off the A148 from Cromer. You first pass the onsite leisure centre (a proper leisure centre – we loved the pool and sauna), before coming across the site itself.
Once pitched up we set off to explore Sheringham Park. There are 3 access points to the park from this caravan site and we ended up walking about 4 1/2 miles. If you think that Norfolk is completely flat, think again! Whilst there are no massive hills there the ground here does have some steep areas. On top of that the park has built a ‘gazebo’ (it’s a viewing tower really) from which there are wonderful views of the surrounding area. However, there are 135 steps up to the tower, and then a further 65 steps to negotiate to the top of the tower itself (not that I counted or anything….) I’m glad I did it though 🙂
The park is criss-crossed by numerous paths and from here you can walk, or cycle, to Sheringham and the coast itself – only a few miles.
We drove east along the coast to Cromer in the evening, visiting a couple of beaches on the way; West Runton, which is well known for the fossil remains of an elephant being found there in 1990, is still a very important site geologically, and is therefore classed as an SSSI (site of special scientific interest). Both West & East Runton beaches are pebbly at high tide, although there is sand at low tide.
We made our way to Cromer. We didn’t stop this time but we did revisit a few days later when we walked along the promenade and looked at the pier and what was on offer in town (including the, rather impressive, parish church).
I liked Cromer, I wouldn’t go so far as to say I loved it though. As we made our way towards the pier we spotted goats grazing on the steep slopes leading up from the seafront promenade – very novel and what a wonderful idea!
We also saw plenty of ‘public conveniences’ as well as the bowls club (there are an awful lot of bowls clubs in English towns and villages we have noted).
We went out onto the pier, which is unusual in that it is very open with just a café and shop at the landward end and the end of the pier theatre and bar at the other end, before the additional section that was added at the turn of the last century to house the offshore lifeboat station (longer ago than I thought on looking at it).
Once again I found myself reading interesting facts on an information board. This time about the fact, amongst other things, that Cromer was originally one of 2 villages that came under the name of Shipden (Shipden juxta Mere and Shipden juxta Felbrigg). Shipden juxta Meare now can be ‘found’ about 400m beyond the end of the pier. Until the 1790s the remains of the church could still be seen at lowtide. Unfortunately as it became more and more of a danger to shipping the remains were eventually blown up; this after a pleasure steamer struck them in 1888 and all the passengers had to be ferried ashore.
In front of the pier radiate signs in the ground detailing all the rescues made by the lifeboats in the area. There are quite a few!
Wandering a little further we came across a club of sorts where children were playing games in the water and then running along the promenade. It was lovely to see them enjoying themselves so much 🙂 There were also groups of youngsters playing ball on the promenade and Calv nearly had his head taken off by an errant rugby ball mid-flight!
We now found that there is a 2nd (and older) lifeboat station (the inshore) sited at the bottom of the old ‘Gangway. As horses and donkeys used to pull boats out of the water and up the hill it was originally built with certain stones raised to enable them to get their footing (or hooving…).
Here there is clearly still a fishing industry, but nowadays tractors are used to put the boats in and out of the water. Old tractors for the most part!
On our way back we went through town and found the church (you can’t miss it really..) It’s pretty impressive and you can go up the tower during the day (for a fee I would imagine).
The tide was in and the beach didn’t look overly inviting to us (although there were people in swimming in the early evening – it had been a very hot day!) Again we can only assume that there is sand to be seen on the beach as the tide goes out?
So overall we would say that Cromer is definitely worth a visit. However, there are definitely nicer beaches close by – which I’ll tell you about in later posts!