Friday, 22 April 2011

Norfolk Weekend - Cromer

View of the Pier entrance as we made our way back up towards the Town centre. Now to track down that Crab the only question is dressed or undressed ? The Crab that is not me ....

There has been a lifeboat service operated from Cromer for two centuries - predating the establishent of the RNLI!
Most famous of the lifeboatmen was Henry Blogg, who received the RNLI gold medal for heroism three times, and the silver medal four times. Cromer Lifeboat Station was founded in 1804

Cromer Beach Huts

There are records of a Pier in Cromer back as far as 1391 although then it was more of a jetty. It is a very traditional Pier complete with it's on theatre.The Pavilion Theatre is a 510-seater venue perched on the end of the pier.
There were also lots of people of all ages fishing with crab lines off the end of the Pier.

It was really lovely to walk along the beach which was pretty much deserted.
The sand and shingle beach backs on to the North Norfolk cliffs. Rock pools are revealed at low tide. The lifeboat launches from the end of the pier.
We walked right down from the Pier to Beeston Regis ...and back again. Enjoyed a nice cool drink and a sandwich on the Pier in the glorious sunshine it was truly perfect.

Last day in Norfolk and as the weather is so good we headed for the beach at Cromer. Last time I went there it was wet and horrible so not good memories.
Actually tourism is a very important part of the local economy. The town is famous for the Cromer crab, which forms the major source of income for the local fishermen and is on sale in many of the local shops.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Norfolk Weekend - Pensthorpe & Holkham

Lovely to see the horses splashing through the low tide.

Marina enjoying the sand dunes

The sand dune systems at Holkham are formed on old shingle ridges.
Much of the land behind Holkham Bay was reclaimed from the sea between the 17th and 19th centuries. In some parts of the reserve the dune barrier is all that stops the highest tides from sweeping in and covering the area once more. The dunes are actually held together only by the plants that grow on them - so trampling on them weakens these important sea defences.

The foreshore is an extreme place that is exposed to the elements. Plants struggle to gain a footholdand shellfish struggle to find food. Mud is a different matter, parts of the Eastern shore are muddy and hidden below are hordes of lugworms and cockles. Just perfect food for wading birds with long beaks like Curlews and Oystercatchers. Other birds such as Knots, Dunlins Redshank,Grey Plovers and Sanderling can also be seen.
For trivia fans - The actress Gwyneth Paltrow walked across Holkham sand at low tide during the closing scenes of the film 'Shakespeare in Love'. Not a lot of people know that!

From Pensthorpe it was off to Holkham.
Holkham is an amazing, diverse and dramatic national nature reserve. It is a mass of windswept tidelines, a maze of creeksand saltings, miles of sand dunes, shady pinewoods and marshland. A truly unique place.

A very illusive Bearded Tit amongst the reeds, one of my favourite birds. I have to confess this one was captive.

Pensthorpe is also famous as the location for hosting the BBC Springwatch series.
Specialist cameras and nest boxes provided great viewing opportunities for dramatic wildlife. Barn owls, kingfishers and otters are just some of the creatures that the team were able attract and film on the webcams.

The 'Springwatch Barn' with Cranes in the foreground

Originally flooded gravel pits until the early eighties, Pensthorpe has been carefully restored as a safe haven for wildlife including the creation of islands for safe nesting areas, shallow scrapes for waders and other species.
Pensthorpe has a mixture of captive and wild species. Wild species that can be seen at Pensthorpe include bitterns, European cranes, 12 species of raptor, 5 species of owl, a wide range of wading birds such as redshank, plovers, sandpipers, curlew, and many wetland and woodland birds. Otters breed here, and Roe deer can be seen. As well as many species of butterflies.

Pensthorpe is set in 500 acres of beautiful countryside with miles of nature trails to explore through ancient fen meadows, woodland and a superb series of lakes. Pensthorpe is home to a fine collection of waterfowl including endangered exotic waterfowl from around the world. Dozens of migratory bird species can be seen during the winter and summer months and our specially created hides help you get closer to nature.

A Black Tailled Godwit


Really looking forward to visiting Pensthorpe Wetland and Nature Reserve. However after a hearty farmhouse breakfast I had a job to do first.
High in a Horse Chestnut tree is an Owl box, home to a pair of Barn Owls close to the farm. As we approached one of the Owls flew out, as i climbed the ladder the other one flew out nearly taking me with it. I peered in and the first thing to notice was the smell! not pleasant. Barn Owls are not noted for their good housekeeping. The box was full of pellets and a smell of urine....However tucked away in the corner were three eggs ! Which was great to see and hopefully all will hatch succesfully.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Norfolk weekend - Wells Next the Sea

After a good couple of hours walking it was time for a much needed beer !
So where better than a 100 year old Dutch clipper, built in Rotterdam in 1899. The Albatros now resides in Wells-next-the-sea serving traditional Dutch food and decent Beer.
The beautiful ship was built for Johannes Muller from Middelhanis, Holland where she remained until being sold to Denmark in 1918.
It is belived her owner at this time, and through to the Second World War was a Captain Rasmussen, who used The Albatros as a cargo ship, exporting grain from Denmark to Sweden and even assisted Jewish refugees with their escape from Nazi Germany and delivered weapons to the Danish Resistance.
It has also been used by Greenpeace as an environmental study centre for schoolchildren, and she has now returned to Wells-next-the-sea where she resides on an almost permanent basis.
Whatever it was a great way to round off our first night in Norfolk.

Boats in Wells harbour, the fishing fleet is now reduced to 14 boats which work
the waters up to 35 miles out from Wells. The profits today are mainly
in crab and lobster.

Saltmarsh on the coastal footpath.

'Tour guide' Elizabeth

Me with 'Roxy' just 2 days old.

To celebrate six years of marriage (who said it wouldn't last) we decided to travel East to the nort Norfolk coast for a few days. Had taken a bit of a gamble by booking in to a working farm that breeds cattle and deers. It was great and the family were very friendly, the only problem for me was the low beams in the attic room where we stayed. After bumping my head several times I soon learnt my lesson.
After a lovely guided tour of the farm by Elizabeth aged 10 we set off to explore Wells next the sea.
A beautiful and historic seaside resort, Wells is a great location for an English countryside break. The area is great for sightseeing, water sports, bird watching and country walks in an area designated as outstanding natural beauty.
We opted for a long coastal walk to see the North Norfolk marshland coast at its best, where the living view changes constantly with the tides.
The main harbour channel, a wide stretch of water at high tide, becomes a narrow, meandering, shallow creek at low water.
Commercial trade through the port of Wells is a thing of the past.