Cromer & Cley next the sea

North Norfolk Day Three:

Over the last few years substantial investment has been made in repairing and improving historic buildings in Cromer including the remodeling of the pier forecourt with commemorative stonework that celebrates the work of the town’s lifeboats and crews, not least of whom was Henry Blogg who, as coxswain for fifty years, helped save more than 870 lives.

The pier is an impressive and well maintained structure which, from its seaward end, gives a great view inland of this seaside town. The church is easily the tallest of Cromer’s buildings (it has the tallest tower of all of Norfolk’s churches) but it is the redbrick Hotel de Paris (originally a private residence) that dominates the view.

Add to this the narrow streets of the old town, dozens of brightly coloured beach huts and even a lighthouse tucked away somewhere and the effect is quite pleasant. Cromer first became a holiday retreat with the arrival of steam locomotion in the 1890’s and is still a very popular resort today (having managed to avoid the tackiness of nearby Yarmouth and other ‘traditional’ English seaside towns).

Equally as charming is the village of Cley-next-the-sea and its beautifully restored and maintained windmill. Cley marshes are a twitchers paradise home as they are to huge numbers of migrating birds including (and here I’m quoting direct from some RSPB blurb) Avocet, Bittern, Spoonbill, Black-tailed Godwit, Teal, Brent Geese, Mallard, Shoveller and Snow Bunting, to name but a few.

The coast here is a veritable mix of dunes, windswept sands, creeks, salt marshes and ever shifting shingle spits. Not as dramatic as, say, the Cornish Coast but a place of great diversity and a pleasure to spend time in. My parents have holidayed here for many years and it is easy to see why.

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