A Stopover in St. James Park, London
After four months in sunny Eastbourne (mostly under lockdown) it was finally time to head to Norfolk for a week to visit T’s parents. Our plan was to walk a couple of sections of the Norfolk Coastal Path, a scenic route which runs from Hunstanton to Sea Palling. We took a train to London, where we had a three-hour gap before our bus to Norwich was due to leave. On arrival, we made tracks to nearby St. James Park. As we had skipped breakfast due to an early start, we sat on a seat and enjoyed some sandwiches.
St. James Park is known for its birdlife and after lunch, we took a walk around the lake. We spotted pelicans, herons and swans in addition to a wide variety of ducks. As a matter of fact, there was a dodgy moment when T was attacked by a parrot who mistakenly thought that she may have some nibbles to share. Luckily, she came away unscathed and we made it to Victoria Coach Station. We had to have our temperatures taken before boarding, but luckily for us, we both passed the test and boarded the bus to Norwich.
The Norfolk Coastal Path
We had wanted to walk some of the Norfolk Coastal Path for many years, but hadn’t got round to it due to lack of time. Finally, we had the chance to put on our hiking boots and hit the trail. Additionally, being July, we hoped that the weather would be decent. We had breakfast with T’s parents at the Rocket House Cafe in the seaside resort of Cromer before setting off. Sitting on the balcony, we had views of the sea where kids were taking surfing lessons. We could also see the pier – Cromer’s most famous landmark.
West Runton – Home of the Woolly Mammoth
It was a bright and breezy morning. Walking along the promenade, we spotted a group of goats on the grassy knoll just before reaching the beach. The first few miles took us along the shingle which is backed by chalk cliffs that date back around 70 to 80 million years. A little further on, we came upon West Runton.
This is where the fossilized skeleton of a steppe mammoth was discovered in 1990. Apparently, it’s one of the best preserved and oldest fossil elephants ever found in the UK. In fact, fossil hunters regularly find mammoth bones and flint axes in the area. Additionally, a fossil of a rhino skull was also discovered by a geologist in 2015.
Along the Cliff Top to Beeston Bump
After tiring of walking across pebbles, we joined the trail that runs along the clifftop. There were excellent views of the beach and the North Sea. The trail led us through a couple of campsites and caravan parks. Signs showed that they were fully-booked despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a matter of fact, the coastline is a particularly popular area for family holidays. Furthermore, it was clear that people were trying to make the most of the remainder of the summer.
Norfolk is known for its flat landscape. However, this stretch of the coastal path is home to a few small hills including (the not-too-intimidating!) Beeston Bump. Close to the cliffs at Beeston, there is also a nature trail, where a variety of local flowers and fauna can be seen.
Sheringham – A Traditional Seaside Town
After a short rest at the top of Beeston Bump, we continued downhill on a red dirt path to the traditional seaside town of Sheringham. Famous for its heritage steam railway in addition to its fine crab, the seafront was busy and there didn’t appear too much social distancing going on. We walked along the bustling promenade which was lined with ice cream parlours and coffee shops. Leaving the crowds behind and re-joining the path, we passed Sheringham Coastguard Hut and continued along the clifftops. There, we skirted a golf course before walking through Sheringham Park.
A Delicious End to the Day
Having reached Weybourne, we called it a day after nine miles of hiking and contacted T’s parents who kindly came to pick us up. Walking along the dirt track to the main road, we passed Weybourne Windmill, which was built in 1850 and can be seen for miles around. We had dinner at The Aviator in the village of Sculthorpe, where the food was both delicious and plentiful. A perfect end to a great day in Norfolk.