Norfolk Coast PathIt was a nice relaxing September weekend at Wells-Next-The-Sea as I strolled along the raised beach road path into the town with my family. My happy reverie was rudely interrupted when out of the corner of my eye I spotted the sign pointing out the Norfolk Coast Path. For a brief second it pointed right at me, beckoning me with a wooden finger and reminding me that I had unfinished business with this path…

… and so, the next day, I found myself striding down that same path with my trusty old Raidlight on my back and my route notes in my hand, as I attempted to knock a sizeable dent into the remaining half of my Norfolk Coast Path adventure.

The beauty of this path is that the regular Coast Hopper bus zips along parallel to it and there are bus stops in every village. Figuring I’d walk as far as I wanted and then catch the bus back to Wells, I crossed the quay in the bright autumn sunshine and picked up a path running along the edge of the salt marshes.

This stretch is really pleasant- flat, easy walking on wide grassy lanes; fields to the right and the marshes to the left, with tantalising glimpses of blue sea in the far distance. I relaxed into my stride and strolled happily along, watching gulls and the odd egret searching for a meal.

Stiffkey salt marshes

Stiffkey salt marshes

As I skirted Stiffkey and passed through a car park the path became quite busy. It was also very muddy and at one point everyone was forced to find a way across boggy marshland as the path suddenly disappeared.

Norfolk Coast PathApproaching Morston I thought I could make out a blue boat on the marshes in the far distance but a glance at my guide book informed me that it was the shelter on Blakeney Point, a popular place to spot seals.

A distant Blakeney Point

A distant Blakeney Point

I stopped for a cup of hot chocolate and a Feast ice lolly, looking out to sea and listening to a photography lesson taking place behind me.  It was still sunny and the cool breeze off the sea felt good on my face as I forced myself up and along the newly laid path to Blakeney.

Approaching Morston

Approaching Morston

Blakeney is a larger coastal village with a friendly feel to it and a rather strange church with two towers. It was a commercial seaport until the early 20th century, when, like so many other ports in the area, the harbour silted up so that only the smallest of boats can now access the quay.

From Blakeney the path follows a raised bank skirting the marshes towards Cley-Next-The-Sea. I passed a small ruined boat, abandoned in the marshes and gazing forlornly out to a sea it would never again sail upon. A right turn then saw me marching straight towards the impressive Cley mill- this stretch reminded me strongly of the approach to Burnham Overy Staithe.

Sad ruined boat

Sad ruined boat

Clay is an attractive little village with traditional flint houses. I had intended to explore the village and its interesting and unusual shops, but I spotted a bus stop and decided that I had done enough work for today. I had covered around 12 miles- a quarter of the NCP-and this would do me nicely.

Cley-Next-The-Sea and Cley Mill

Cley-Next-The-Sea and Cley Mill

So- 35 miles down and another 12 to go!

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