Monday, 23 February 2015

Happisburgh to Walcott...

With a bit of bright sunshine today and previous plans for the day going awry we decided to head up to the coast again. I've written about Happisburgh before (almost exactly a year ago, it seems!) - it was a regular haunt of ours when the boys were small. At that time it had a lovely sandy stretch of beach with shallow pools that formed behind the wooden sea defences, perfect for toddler paddling.


Now, huge chunks of the fields that edged the coast line have been swept into the sea - taking with them the houses that balanced precariously on the edge in the last big tidal surge in December 2013.  It has left the beach a curious mixture of layered cliffs, compacted clay and piles of rocks, in addition to the usual sand and shingle...



It is still a lovely beach but has a rather different feel to the busy, family seaside of 20 years ago, especially today with just a few hardy dog walkers... 

This way faces back toward Eccles-on-sea to the East...


Looking North-West, towards Mundesley, the coast sweeps round and the sea crashes onto the black rocks that are trying to delay the erosion...


There are still reminders of the buildings that fell into the sea, bricks and pipes on the beach and wires hanging off the cliff edge...


The old groynes provide a handy perch for the gulls...


The clay base layer protrudes like grey rocks onto the beach but are soft and sticky to touch, making it easy to see how this coastline has eroded so quickly...


Particularly when you consider the force of the sea pounding repeatedly against it...



Today wasn't stormy and the waves were pretty tame but we could hear the shingle being dragged up and hurled against the remains of the wooden structures that are gradually being washed away...


Quite hypnotic to watch and I'll spare you the ridiculous number of photos I took, transfixed by the sheer power of nature. 

We were a bit short of change for the car park so headed back before driving along to the next easy bit of parking at Walcott. From here, we walked back to Ostend Gap, which is right at the end of the stretch of beach from Happisburgh...


From here the beach has a long concrete walkway, pretty much all the way back via Walcott to Bacton, where the North Sea gas station dominates the coast road that runs alongside this strip of seaside and is just visible in the very distance here...


There are large pebbles caught between the panels of the groynes, making them look something like a giant abacus...



Where you can get down to the beach here it's pretty sandy with just a few well rounded pebbles in wavy lines where they have been dropped by the tide...


Walcott beach is a much more commercial little resort, with a large caravan park just the other side of the road from the beach, shops and an ice cream van. Even on a quiet day, the smell of fast food dominated and there were lots of hopeful gulls loitering along the sea wall...



I quite like the symmetry of the zig-zag old groynes, but I have to admit to preferring my beaches where the needs of human beings are a little less catered for and I can smell the salt of the sea rather than chips! 


By this point the little bit of winter sun had disappeared and it was decidedly chilly. Heading back to the car, these made us smile - almost every post topped with a seagull, looking in formation all facing the same way!


I am about a third of the way along the Norfolk coast now, onto the North Norfolk, rather than the Easterly bit. Next stop Mundesley, which I've been to many times but never actually set foot on the beach, Spring sunshine willing...

S x

7 comments:

  1. Erosion is a terrifying thing - I really feel for the poor people who lost their lovely seaside homes. Great photos - especially the seagulls on the groynes. Why do they always face one way? Is it into/away from the wind? Looking forward to your next beachy trip. x

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    1. I thought they were probably facing into the wind - maybe they don't like their feathers ruffled?!! I think its the speed of the erosion that has been so scary - people living there knew they were on borrowed time but the estimates were about 20 years, then one night of huge waves took great chunks into the sea.

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  2. Stunning pictures, I loved the pebbles in the breakwaters. My grandmother was sent to recuperate after an illness to Mundesley in the 1930's and we stayed there many times when the children were young. We rented a lovely big house 'The Beach House' which could accommodate the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, 15 of us in all. Every day was spent just pottering on the beach, simple pleasures and such happy memories. Can't wait to see your photos x

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    1. Thats interesting - there were a number of 'sanatoriums' up here on the coast I think, all that good sea air believed to be reviving! I'll have to see if I can look out for The Beach House at Mundesley. :) x

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  3. I've never been to Norfolk, so I'm enjoying your beach posts. I love beach walks off season, when you need to wrap up well, and you can really feel the elements. We haven't been able to get out much this week though, the rain has been awful. Have a good week xxx

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  4. A great set of photos taking me to a coast I am not familiar with . Great to visit via your blog. Put me by the sea with a camera and I too take a ridiculous number of photos.

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  5. gorgeous photos - I like the seagulls on groynes one too ! We lost a large section of the cliff last february - the path destroyed in some places & being relaid now. I wonder how long it will take the weather to catch up & get at the new path ? Luckily no houses too near but great loss of beach huts. Scary really how the coastline is shrinking.
    Lovely post x

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love to read your thoughts.