Mak­ing a move to … Wells

Wells is not just next to the sea – it is pretty near heaven too

EDP Norfolk - - Charity -

BETWEEN THE mag­nif­i­cence of the Holkham es­tate and the wild and wa­ter­logged beauty of the Stiffkey salt­marshes lies Wells.

Many towns, set between two such stun­ning land­scapes might not shine, but Wells is a gem.

At high tide the sea comes up to meet the river, the har­bour fills with rip­pling wa­ter and the quay glit­ters with boats and gulls. As the tide ebbs away the rock­ing boats sink slowly to rest on mud and sand, and high on the quay a dizzy­ing drop opens from the clut­ter of lob­ster pots and crab nets to the har­bour floor below.

Hour by hour the town changes, but ev­ery face, from full-sum­mer crowded to win­ter-emp­tied lanes and lokes, is a de­light. There is the iconic gra­nary jut­ting out to­wards the har­bour, now trans­formed into flats; the hand­some houses and ho­tels set back from the clam­our of the quay to line the leafy green of The But­t­lands; the clus­ters of shops and small busi­nesses; the cottage-lined al­ley­ways.

The sea it­self is a mile from the town cen­tre, along a prom­e­nade which dou­bles as flood de­fences. In the sum­mer a diminu­tive train trun­dles back and forth, and just be­yond the pine-fringed coast is the beach, vast white sands and rear­ing dunes stretch­ing around to Holkham bay, and the iconic stilt­perched beach huts, primped and painted and pho­tographed a thou­sand times a day.

Wells takes its name from the fresh wa­ter which rose through the chalky rock. When the rail­way ar­rived it be­gan to be known as Wells-next-the-Sea, adopt­ing its salt­wa­ter name of­fi­cially just 61 years ago.

It has been a port and fish­ing com­mu­nity for cen­turies, then the visi­tors and tourists came for the beach, boats and birds, for the walk­ing and paint­ing, sea views and seafood. But it is far more than a re­sort town.

It is home to gen­er­a­tions who have grown up in the town and want to stay as well as those who have hol­i­dayed here and fallen in love. And along­side the de­lights which bring tourists flock­ing, there are the work-a-day ne­ces­si­ties which show the town is not just a pretty face.

It is not just a pic­turesque beach and har­bour; it has tea shops, art gal­leries, gourmet din­ners and nar­row gauge rail­ways (there are two, one of which runs all the way to Wals­ing­ham.) There is also a range of gro­cery shops, a health cen­tre, doc­tors, den­tists, vets, and even a com­mu­nity hos­pi­tal, a pri­mary school and the Al­der­man Peel High School, a li­brary, sports clubs. There are new houses be­ing built and old build­ings be­ing trans­formed into homes – and a fan­tas­tic diary of com­mu­nity events all year round. This month the po­etry fes­ti­val fea­tures writ­ers and mu­si­cians; later in the year there is the car­ni­val, a pi­rate fes­ti­val and at Christ­mas Santa ar­rives by boat.

All year round, con­sid­er­ing mak­ing a move to Wells is def­i­nitely a good move.

An­other of Norfolk’s beau­ti­ful beaches, Wells beach.

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