Sea­side se­cret

Such is the ap­peal of Nor­folk’s mag­nif­i­cent coast­line, it isn’t al­ways that easy to find a quiet spot es­pe­cially dur­ing the sum­mer months – but there are still a few hid­den gems where you can es­cape the crowds. Here are our se­cret seven sea­side spots to s

EDP Norfolk - - Places -


While Titchwell is best known as an RSPB na­ture re­serve with an abun­dance of birdlife liv­ing among its mo­saic fresh­wa­ter and salt­wa­ter habi­tat, if you take the 1km walk through the re­serve, across the marshes and reedbeds and out to the sea you will be re­warded with a fan­tas­tic beach.

Wide breath­tak­ing ex­panses of sand, dunes to ex­plore greet you and, best of all, apart from a few bird watch­ers and walk­ers it of­ten feels de­serted. Dur­ing the sec­ond world war, it was used as a mil­i­tary fir­ing range and rem­nants of its past can be seen on the beach to­day, with crum­bling pill­boxes and the oc­ca­sional sight at low tide of the re­mains of two Covenan­ter tanks. The ru­ins of the war bunker as you emerge from the path onto the beach, are of­ten home to an amaz­ing num­ber of starfish, fas­ci­nat­ing for young ex­plor­ers. Walk for miles along the sand, spend a few hours wildlife spot­ting or have a pic­nic in the dunes.


When the sun comes out, Sea Palling draws in visi­tors from afar – but if you like your sea­side a lit­tle qui­eter, you can en­joy the same un­spoilt beach just a short dis­tance away at the neigh­bour­ing Cart Gap, but with­out the crowds. Down a nar­row lane, cut­ting through the flat farm­land where agri­cul­ture meets the sea, Cart Gap is a lovely stretch of beach with sandy dunes and plenty of space to play, pad­dle and catch some rays. It has a large car park, toi­let fa­cil­i­ties and a small café half way down the beach road – the de­light­ful Small­sticks Café set in an old flint barn.


These days, ac­cess to Trimingham beach from the vil­lage it­self is very lim­ited, which is pre­cisely what makes this re­mote stretch of sand so spe­cial.

Park in Mun­des­ley, get your­self an ice­cream or cof­fee and then head north west along the beach and you will soon leave the peo­ple be­hind. About an hour of walk­ing will see you ar­riv­ing on the se­cluded sands of Trimingham.

If you love hav­ing the beach to your­self for the day, this is the per­fect spot. Take a pic­nic, make sand­cas­tles, splash in the surf and search for fos­sils and shells – there are plenty to be found on the fore­shore thanks to the fas­ci­nat­ing ge­ol­ogy of the cliffs and beach. Don’t for­get to stick to low tide for the walk and stay away from the crum­bling cliff base.


Nes­tled be­tween the royal es­tate of San­dring­ham and the bucket and spade re­sort of Hun­stan­ton is the large shin­gle beach of Snet­tisham. Don’t let the lack of sand put you off. One one side is the sea, on the other is the RSPB na­ture re­serve - but this isn’t just a bird spot­ter’s par­adise, Snet­tisham is a great beach for all oc­ca­sions, with end­less space for beach games, in­clud­ing some ex­cel­lent stone skim­ming op­por­tu­ni­ties, the chil­dren can pad­dle in the shal­lows as the tide goes out across the flats and if you like your beach days a lit­tle more ac­tive, there is a great sail­ing scene. The Snet­tisham Beach Sail­ing Club of­fers taster ses­sions and is al­ways look­ing for new mem­bers. Best of all, it is one of the few places in Nor­folk where you can en­joy a spec­tac­u­lar sun­set as the sun sinks into the sea on the hori­zon, so come late af­ter­noon and stay un­til dusk.


Fa­mous for its seals, and a haven for ground-nest­ing birds such as av­o­cets and lit­tle terns, there are also idyl­lic se­cluded pic­nic and pad­dling spots around beau­ti­ful Blakeney Point. The western end of the na­ture re­serve is per­ma­nently closed to visi­tors, but you can find your own patch of se­cret beach be­side the chan­nels and dunes else­where. Take a seal trip boat with an op­tion of stop­ping on the point, or walk from Cley (if you are in train­ing for a ex­pe­di­tion across a stony desert.) No dogs on much of Blakeney Point un­til af­ter Au­gust 15.


You might think it would be hard to hide a beach, and keep a huge swathe of glit­ter­ing sand and wa­ter se­cret. But there are a sur­pris­ingly large num­ber of ways to do it. Ne­glect to put in an ac­cess road or car park; snug­gle it close to a re­ally pop­u­lar re­sort; sug­gest it’s ac­tu­ally on a dif­fer­ent con­ti­nent At the height of the mid 19th cen­tury Amer­i­can Gold Rush a hoard of gold coins was found on the beach near Scratby. When a name was needed for a new set­tle­ment here, Cal­i­for­nia seemed the ob­vi­ous choice. Like its US name­sake, Nor­folk’s Cal­i­for­nia has a laid-back vibe. Sand, sea, and spaced out (in the sense of plenty of space.)


If you’re hop­ing for ar­cades, or fish’n’chips, or even sand, you will be dis­ap­pointed. If you’re hop­ing for a stretch of steep shin­gle to your­self, the sooth­ing sound of wa­ter clat­ter­ing through peb­bles and deep wa­ter for a close-to-shore swim, then this is the per­fect beach. It was se­cret enough to be a favourite with smug­glers in pre­vi­ous cen­turies, and the au­thor­i­ties were keen to keep it se­cret too – from would-be in­vaders at­tracted by that deep wa­ter. An old rhyme says: “He who would all Eng­land win, should at Weybourne Hope be­gin.”

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