Having left North Wales on Sat morning, we overnighted at a campsite in Rutland called “Rutland Caravan and Camping. http://www.rutlandcaravanandcamping.co.uk This was a large well managed site, with hard pitches and an Adults Only area set aside within the site. At £16.50 per night, it’s pretty good value and the Mutt throughly enjoyed the Doggy Shower facility in the main toilet block. We had a wander around the local area, pleasant, plenty of pubs and walks….But flat as a pancake and on this particular weekend very windy….Those two elements together don’t mix well. Anyway, weather aside a useful stopover place in central England. We would certainly use it again. Next Day…Norfolk
It must be the most difficult county to get to if your travelling from anywhere North of Milton Keynes. Steve Coogan made a similar comment when asked why his character Alan Partridge after his fall from TV grace is now based in Norfolk. To summarise: Its a remote location to the rest of the country, its so hard to get to, nobody really knows anything about it!
He’s right, even just looking at a map and trying to plan a route is enough make you lose the will to live….Eventually I just banged in the postcode and let the satnav do the rest! This works fine in theory, but in practice will involve you hopping across nice tidy A roads in favour of small itsy bitsy “B” roads, that are blissfully unaware of the combustion engine and originally designed for a pony and trap and were never updated! It’s a beautiful place though, mainly flat, very olde worldy, very different from the rest of the country. I’ve always loved the area. I probably first discovered its delights many years ago, conducting military training on Stanford Training Area near to Thetford: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_Training_Area Those lazy, hazy sunny days never left me, I’ve always wanted to return.
En-Route, we headed to a small hamlet north of Norwich called Horsham St Faith to see a lovely yokel cousin who resides here. The village is as quaint as it sounds, very Norfolk.
After a cup of tea and a catch up, we headed towards the North Norfolk coast, our first port of call was to be the resort of Cromer, where we intended to while a way a few hours…Like many British coastal towns, it’s suffered during the last few months from the atrocious weather. This is evident along the cliff side promenade, which took a battering in Dec 2013. Two pictures below. One from Dec 5th 2013, where you can see the sea has overcome the pier entrance and below that a picture we took on Sunday, showing the damaged areas fenced off:
We liked Cromer, yes its fading, but there’s something about an English seaside town that has a well maintained pier that pulls you in like a magnet, there was even kids paddling in the North Sea. We noted a fish and chip shop that was packed to the rafters with day trippers, So we grabbed a bag and sat in the van, people watching as we ate…Personally I quite enjoyed watching the bloke who parked his Fiat 500 in our Pay n Display and then wandered off without bothering to buy a ticket, trying to run like Ursain Bolt, in a doomed effort to reach his car before the traffic warden did…He failed, but only just mind. The guy clearly wanted to explode like a hand grenade…but with me a “Paying car parker” sat idly watching the drama unfold whilst munching my chips, he decided he’d embarrassed himself enough already. To be honest, the car didn’t suit him anyway, his life? a series of bad choices I suppose?
We then we moved along the coast to our campsite destination at Sheringwood, near to the coastal resort of Sheringham: http://www.sheringwood.co.uk This is a new “Adult Only” CL site (see a theme developing here?) The owners have not yet finished the work on the CL, but it should all be completed by April. They’ve spent a lot of money getting everything in order, hard standings, EHU, taps on each pitch.
The grounds have been sympathetically landscaped and they also provide WIFI for visitors. Unusually for a CL, the entire booking and payment process can be completed online via their informative website, even down to selecting your individual pitch. The owners run a successful engineering company and they are using their obvious business skills to get the CL right. Their efforts are commendable. The site is picturesque and as it matures this will become more so. It’s nestled into a mixed wooded area and lush grassland, below a woodland park called “Pretty Corner Wood.
The area is fairly quiet, although we did hear a dawn chorus of dogs barking, at what we assume is a kennels about 3-400 metres away, but other than that, its great, we are currently the only visitors on-site, so the Mutts is strutting about like he’s Cock O’the North.
My only other comment about the site is a lack of a physical barrier at the site entrance, to the public right of way that runs alongside the CL. Hopefully the owners will look at that in the future. I don’t think there’s a security issue, but I don’t like the apparent open access it currently offers. I might be starting to sound like V. Meldrew, but that feeling of security is one of mans basic instincts, its a new site and everyone walking or driving past is interested…and my radar was slightly pinging! But make no mistake, this will hopefully be a special site when finished.
During our stay on the site, we made full use of the walks nearby. Today we hotfooted it though the nearby National Trust woodlands of Beeston Regis Heath, before emerging onto a viewing area looking towards the North Sea and the resorts of Beeston Regis and Sheringham below:
Our eventual destination was to be the 14th century church of All Saints at Beeston(circled).
As we dropped down from the viewing area and headed towards the coastline, we came across a field full of miniature ponies. Obviously we had to stop and have a pat…This was a new experience for the Mutts, who promptly sat down, stared and wondered what type of dogs they were!
Set only a couple of hundred meters back from the North Sea, Beeston Church has a ruggedness that fits in with its isolated coast location. Sadly it’s now sharing the nearby landscape with a caravan site, which sort of takes away some of its lonely awe, nevertheless its well worth a visit and today with a clear sky, it was pretty impressive.
We then continued our journey heading past the church until we reached the coastline, then turned left towards Sheringham. The beach below is sandy and from the cliff top you can see the sea damage inflicted against the soft sandy cliff face. This area has a real problem with erosion and looking at the evidence it does appear that for the moment, nature has the upper hand.
Once we managed to get down to beach level, the damage is clear. You can also see mans previous attempts to hold back the sea.
and of course the obligatory “Seagull sitting on a pole” picture, just to complete this stage of the blog!
We then wandered about the small town of Sheringham, I would imagine it gets quite busy during the summer months. Lots of small fish restaurants, craft shops etc. When the suns shining it’ll be a pleasant place to visit.
We then walked a mile to the outskirts of the town and entered “Pretty Wood” an undulating woodland, criss crossed with paths and tracks, which eventually brought us back onto the campsite at Sheringwood where we’d started some 4hrs earlier:
So today, with fantastic weather, an excellent walk, in a great setting.
Tomorrow we head the Sandringham Estate for wine, nibbles and a sleepeover with The Queen.
That is all.