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Norfolk Coast Path (Peddars Way) at Stiffkey
Norfolk Coast Path (Peddars Way) at Stiffkey

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Route No. 374 - Thursday 7 October 2010
Stiffkey to Wells-next-the-sea,
Holkham beach (Peddars Way) - 12km
North Norfolk Coast (ANOB) . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 251 Norfolk Coast Central at 1:25000


Walking along Lady Anne's Drive to the bus stop in Holkham
Walking along Lady Anne's Drive to the bus stop in Holkham

We took the bus, punctual at 9.23am, eastwards along the coast road to the village of Stiffkey. The village is a string of properties on both sides of the road over a length of around 2km. There are several bus stops and we wanted the last one in the village at map ref. TF975431 (Unfortunately I was too eager and we got off one stop too early and had to walk an extra bit through the village). Right next to the correct bus stop there is a track heading northwards to the coast.

It's nearly the end of the week my wife and I are spending in a holiday cottage on the North Norfolk Coast. The weather forecast for today is excellent and we planned to walk a section of the Peddars Way (Norfolk Coast Path) from Stiffkey to Holkham. We drove to Holkham village on the A149 and turned down Lady Anne's Drive opposite the Victoria Hotel. There is pay and display parking on both sides of the drive and we drove to the far end nearest to the beach to park, at map ref. TF890447. Then we walked about 1km back along the drive to the "Coast Hopper" bus stop on the A149 in the village.

Start of the track next to the bus stop in Stiffkey
Start of the track next to the bus stop in Stiffkey

Path from Stiffkey to the coast Path
Path from Stiffkey to the Coast Path

We turned left to follow the Peddars Way Westwards along the edge of the saltmarshes.

We followed this track between the fields for almost 1km to the Peddars Way at map ref. TF973440.

We joined the Peddars Way at this sign near Stiffkey
We joined the Peddars Way at this sign near Stiffkey

The Peddars Way along the edge of the saltmarshes near Stiffkey
The Peddars Way along the edge of the saltmarshes near Stiffkey

Ripe blackberries lined the path
Ripe blackberries lined the path

Peddars Way between Stiffkey and Wells
Peddars Way between Stiffkey and Wells

Our progress was much slowed as we ambled from bush to bush along the way. The weather was just as forecast with clear blue skies and warm sunshine.

The path was lined with brambles covered with ripe blackberries. So we just gorged on the sweet fruit.

Peddars Way between Stiffkey and Wells
Peddars Way between Stiffkey and Wells

Peddars Way between Stiffkey and Wells
Peddars Way between Stiffkey and Wells

The vast space of the saltmarshes seen from the Peddars  Way
The vast space of the saltmarshes seen from the Peddars Way

Peddars Way between Stiffkey and Wells
Peddars Way between Stiffkey and Wells

Creeks through the saltmarshes near wells
Creeks through the saltmarshes near Wells

I could spot redshank and oystercatchers, but I needed a bird book to try to identify others.

The marshes were dotted with white egrets and as we looked more closely there were other well camouflaged waders.

Peddars Way between Stiffkey and Wells
Peddars Way between Stiffkey and Wells

Redshank feeding in a creek
Redshank feeding in a creek

Creeks through the saltmarshes near Wells
Creeks through the saltmarshes near Wells-next-the-sea

Approaching Wells along a floodbank
Approaching Wells along a floodbank

Many small boats were moored in the creek at Wells
Many small boats were moored in the creek at Wells

It was low water and there were many boats sitting on the mud. It's an interesting working harbour and we had a coffee at a sea front cafe.

After about 4.5km on the Peddars Way we came to the edge of Wells-next-the-sea. The waterfront there is part of Stonemeal Creek.

Bouys stored at Wells
Bouys stored at Wells

Many small boats were moored in the creek at Wells
Many small boats were moored in the creek at Wells

The lifeboat station at Wells-next-the-sea
The lifeboat station at Wells-next-the-sea

Heading towards the lifeboat station from Wells
Heading towards the lifeboat station from Wells

Here we left the Peddars Way and continued straight ahead to the beach at map ref. TF915456 next to the lookout station.

After our coffee we continued along the Peddars Way, this time heading Northwards for about 1.5km to pass the lifeboat station about 100m to the right of the path.

Channel at low water by the Peddars Way
Channel at low water by the Peddars Way

The beach seen from the lookout station
The beach seen from the lookout station

The beach near Wells-next-the-sea
The beach near Wells-next-the-sea

In front of the beach huts there was a series of groynes running across the beach, making a very pretty seaside scene.

It was low water around 1.00pm today so we were able to walk along the beach. For the first 500m or so there was a line of beach huts along the edge of the beach

Beach huts along the edge of the shore near Wells-next-the-sea
Beach huts on the shore near Wells-next-the-sea

Beach huts along the edge of the shore near Wells-next-the-sea
Beach huts along the edge of the shore near Wells-next-the-sea

Heading for Holkham Gap along the shore
Heading for Holkham Gap along the shore

There were groups of well camouflaged waders feeding amongst the vegetation. There was a group of birdwatchers on the marshes each with their tripod and telescope and cameras, moving from place to place to set up their equipment, much like the movement of the waders on the marsh.

Beyond the beach huts there was a line of sand dunes about 100m out from the wooded shore and we walked between the dunes and the shore on a well walked path across the sand. After about 1km the area between the dunes and the shore became saltmarsh.

Birdwatchers at Holkham Beach
Birdwatchers at Holkham Beach

 

Boardwalk from Holkham Gap to Lady Anne's Drive
Boardwalk from Holkham Gap to Lady Anne's Drive

Returning to Lady Anne's Drive
Returning to Lady Anne's Drive

The Coastguard vehicle was parked nearby and it had a crew of around half a dozen men in blue overalls who were also having a drink at the caravan. There didn't seem to be any kind of emergency. Our route today had been 12km and it had taken us four and a half hours to walk including our blackberry picking and cafe stop in Wells.

The path led us to Holkham gap at map ref. TF890450. Over to our right there was a Coastguard vehicle with its blue lights flashing as it drove from Holkham beach towards Lady Anne's Drive. From there we made our way back to the car at the beach end of the car park. There was a caravan selling tea, coffee and snacks with a few tables under the trees so we sat there in the sunshine for a drink.

Coastguard vehicle at Lady Anne's Drive
Coastguard vehicle at Lady Anne's Drive

Cattle coming to drink at a trough next to the car park
Cattle coming to drink at a trough next to the car park