Along the Norfolk coast you can find some wonderful walks. One of our favourites is the walk to Blakeney Point. I’ve done this many times over the years, going way back to the early 1980s.
We’re going to split this article in to two sections; The outward walk and then a separate article on Blakeney Point and the National Trust Nature Reserve. So, here’s “part 1”.
To do the walk along Blakeney Spit to Blakeney Point we went a further along the coast to Cley-next-the-Sea. While you’re at Cley don’t forget to also check out NWT’s visitor centre and Cley Marshes too.
The best place to park for this walk is the Norfolk Wildlife Trust car park near the beach, although jf you’re up for longer walk you could start a bit further inland. With my lot I figured they would moan if we’d walked a mile to reveal there was a car park right next to the beach. It would also reduce the number of times the dreaded “are we nearly there yet, Dad?” gets muttered!
The car park is less than a minute from the beach, and straight away you’re treated with fabulous views, with the beach stretching off either side (Blakeney Spit on way, Sheringham jutting out to sea the other way) and the North Sea rolling up along the shore.
Right at the start of your walk there was a collection of sea fishing boats high up on the shingle, with tractors for taking them down to the shore and piles of crab cages. These always make for great photographs. Time to drop low, get a cool angle, get arty and play with monochrome or some other nifty photo style. Here’s a couple of my favourite pictures I took, with the assistance of the NorfolkPlaces’ junior photographers (aka my boys Luke & Ben.)
Let’s plod on. Early on in the walk it’s a good idea to establish whether the sea is going in or out. The more trodden route is along the top of the shingle, but this can be tough going, so if the sea is on it’s way out then you could drop down and walk on the wet sand, which is a bit firmer, albeit on a bit of a slope at times.
If it’s a breezy day then you’ll definitely feel it. The winds coming along the coastline off the North Sea can really mess up your hair, and rip a baseball cap off your head too! (Yep, I can vouch for that!)
Of course, being closer to the sea means you can keep a better eye out for seals, like this fella below. We were really privileged to be joined on our walk by this seal, and you should not expect to always see them. We did spot a few more along the journey in the distance along the shore, so the opportunity to photograph loads didn’t occur on this occasion. Of course, by the time you’ve whipped out your camera and zoomed in they’ve dived under. If you are patient they’ll probably reappear.
Boy, this walk is tough going! It’s approximately 4 miles each way – the shingle and sand make those 8 miles a lot harder. If you’re walking with younger ones be prepared with snacks (maybe packed lunch too), plenty of drink and something to sit on.
Of course, my boys find it easier going than me! They’re running up an down the shingle, splashing in the sea, searching for seals and natures treasures (shiny stones & shells). So, maybe the occasional break is more for the benefit of the adults in your group.
One of the benefits of walking along the top of the shingle is you can more easily spot the path that veers off towards the old Lifeboat House at Blakeney Point. The picture below was taken just after the turn, but we walked along the beach a bit further just for you!
If you miss that then the walk along the beach is a bit longer, but there is another route a bit further along. Keep walking along until you get near to the Blakeney Point Nature Reserve. You’ll know you’re there when you see a big fence and a sign saying “No Further Please.” This area of the Nature Reserve is home to vulnerable ground nesting birds and is restricted from April to mid August.
Okay, we’ve gone as far as the Nature Reserve, and we’re pretty close to our destination. In the next article we’ll continue this walk.
FACILITIES – Toilets and refreshments at the Visitors Centre at Blakeney Point (check with National Trust to see what times these are available)
DOGS – There are restrictions on dogs – see the National Trust website for further information
SAFETY – In the main you will be walking over sand, so
WHEELCHAIRS – This route is not suitable for wheelchairs.
CLOBBER – It’s a long walk over sand and shingle, so comfortable footwear is advisable. It’s not a good idea to walk it in your flip-flops!
DISTANCE AND DURATION – The walk to Blakeney Point and back to the NWT car park on Beach Road is approximately 8 miles. As you’ll be walking on shingle and sand it’s slow going at times, so allow at least 4 hours (more if you’re planning on stopping and enjoying your surroundings)
ANYTHING ELSE? – It’s a good idea to take drinks and snacks for the walk, but please take your rubbish with you. Note, it is not possible to see the seal colony on Blakeney Point on foot (there are boat trips to see the seals).
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