This beachside route along the delightful dunes, from PETER JAMES of Norfolk Ramblers, is perfect for a festive family walk
A bracing winter walk at Winterton
1 From the car park head towards the fishermen’s huts. There is a marker post for the new Norfolk Coast Path which takes you between the huts. Follow the path to the gap to the beach where you follow the marker posts on to the dunes. Wind your way along the top of the dunes where there are marker posts. At Winterton Ness you leave the dunes - there is a good chance of seeing seals in the sea or on the beach. If it is too windy for the top of the dunes, there are many other paths winding along behind the dunes that can be used instead.
2 Follow the fingerpost to the back of the reserve. At the next finger post where the new coast path goes to the right you carry straight on, passing beside the gate to follow the track to a concrete pad with buildings to your right. Cross the pad diagonally to the left where there is a finger post. Follow the field edge round to the left. At the end of the field turn right.
Follow to a concrete track where you turn left. Follow track to the junction where you will see Somerton Church on the horizon. Turn left, then right, passing an attractive cottage on the left. At the end of track turn left beside the garden wall off Burnley Hall. At the end of the wall you can see the hall with its impressive chimneys. Follow on to the end of the track.
3 Just before reaching the end of the track, on the right are the remains of St Mary’s Church. At the road carry straight on, following the road to the right, then left - you will come to a track in front of you, follow to a path to the right, this will take you to Winterton church. If you wish to walk through the village, turn left following the road to the car park, or you can return to the track following to the road. At the road turn left, taking you back into the reserve where there are some information boards. Turn right here, taking one of the many paths towards the fishermen’s huts and the car park.
A WINTERTON DUNES NATURE RESERVE
The reserve is managed by Natural England. This site was given the highest priority as an excellent example of a dynamic sand dune system and for the rare moths found here. Today, it is a National Nature Reserve and supports a number of habitats, such as dune slacks, heath, grassland and birch woodland. Little terns breed on site, marsh harriers hunt overhead and natterjack toads breed in the shallow pools.
B ST MARY’S CHURCH
The ruins of a 15th century Perpendicular parish church are among the most picturesque and largest of all ruined churches in Norfolk. St Mary’s was once in its own parish but was swallowed up by the nearby Winterton parish and the church fell into disrepair.
C Winterton is a very attractive coastal village, with a pub, post office and village shop. The Dunes Cafe at the car park is open Thursday to Sunday during the winter and has a good reputation for its food.
You may be lucky enough to spot seals in the sea or on the beach
The track from the reserve towards Somerton
The top of the dunes with one of the new coast path sing posts
The open space is great for a bracing winter walk
St Mary’s church ruins