Saturday, 1 June 2013

Wells to Cley - A Norfolk Coast ramble...

One of my aims for this year is to try and complete the Norfolk Coast path. I've walked bits of it before, some bits several times and am going to try and do the rest of it this year in stages. To this end I have to say that the Coasthopper bus service is excellent. Park the car, get the bus to the start point and walk back. Simple!

The idea for today was to park in Cley Next the Sea, bus to Wells and then walk back to Cley Next the Sea in time for a cream tea at Cookes. After all, it was a nice sunny day, easy walking, what could possibly go wrong? Well, it didn't turn out quite that easy, but, it was still a great walk on a beautiful day. I'll warn you now, I may have got a bit carried away with the photos. There are a lot of them!

Anyway, the day started inauspiciously when I slept through the alarm and, despite my best efforts to not dally, got to Cley just in time to miss the first bus of the day. Not the end of the world as I can wander around Cley before the next bus an hour later. However, would I now be back in time for the cream tea?

First sight of Cley Windmill

Wells is where the walk will start. 12 miles to walk back along the coast though...

After a short bus journey we got to Wells and, unsurprisingly for a sunny bank holiday, it was packed by the sea front. Still, everyone looked like they were having fun. Plenty of families crabbing and so on.

Unsurprisingly again (but good for me) was that as soon as I was out of Wells and onto the footpath proper the number of people dwindled markedly. Just a few people passed all day. Peace and quiet when nearby was heaving. Bliss.

Lone walker up ahead

See those piles - a footpath according to the map!

Yep - definitely a footpath...  Think I'll stick to the path I'm on thanks.

A look back to Wells
First real stop of the day is by a Memorial Bench to "Syd and Twigg" I don't know who they were, but, they certainly knew a nice view...

Onwards along the path:

From here we get to Stiffkey (pronounced Stew-key) but the path doesn't go into the village itself as it sticks to the edge of the saltmarsh.

Old pill box

Rusty pipe. Anyone know what it's for?

Field of rapeseed. I know it isn't everyone's cup of tea but I like the look of it.

About now I'm looking for a nice spot for lunch. This vista did nicely...

From here the path continues on towards Morston where there is a bit of a harbour again. More people but a chance to buy an ice cream. It's a hard life...

Oystercatcher and a gull

Hovering Kestrel

Those aren't hills in the distance. They are just some nearby sand dunes.

Morston up ahead
Here came the real problem of the day. The path was closed from here to Blakeney necessitating a bit of a detour. Still, nice raspberry ripple...

And so we pick the path up at Blakeney. Again, it is a bit of a tourist trap here so lots of people by the harbour.

Building by the harbour. The plaques mark flood levels.
From the top: 1958, 1978, 1897

Black headed gull (Adult, summer)
From here it is the final loop around Blakeney Eye back to Cley.

Cley is in sight!
Mute Swans

This one definitely hasn't sailed for a while...

The remains of Blakeney Chapel are out here somewhere...

About to turn for Cley...
...and not a moment too soon. I'd naively put my walking boots on for this thinking that even though we had had a couple of days of sunny weather the preceding two days of heavy rain and being next to a marsh would have left the paths fairly wet and muddy. Not a bit of it, they were baked rock solid and my boots are fairly stiff and solid. Perfect for the mountains but not on these paths which were like concrete! My feet were really starting to hurt now. I'm also starting to look nervously at my watch...Will I get to the Tea room in time?

Still, the path around Blakeney Eye gives some wonderful views of Cley Windmill.

Cley gets ever closer...

So, did I get back in time for the cream tea?

Of course I did...

Cookes of Cley
Highly recommended!

An excellent cream tea!


  1. Simply stunning Al, looks a lovely walk for the camera mate.

  2. Wonderful photo's Al. So much colour in the sun. Cley is such a pretty village. Really lovely.

    1. Thanks Ditzzy. It really is a beautiful bit of coast. I'd recommend it to anyone...

  3. Hi
    Lovely photos. Just wondering what the diversion route was between Morston and Blakeney as I'm planning to walk this route in the next few days. Would be handy to know


    1. Thanks for the comment. No official diversion in place that I could see, just followed the road instead for a short section.

  4. Lovely pictures, Alistair, but oh - SO FLAT!!!!!

    1. No hills, that's for sure. Still a lovely place to walk though!