‘MAMMOTHS’ AND SEALS

Club Trip to West Runton, Norfolk, 29th April to 2nd May 2019

22 of us were on the Club’s latest trip to Norfolk.  We stayed at The Links Country Park Hotel in West Runton in comfortable en-suite rooms and were served excellent breakfasts and 3 course dinners.

Some of the group came early to explore the area but a few of us arrived in time for a sunny 5 mile walk starting from the hotel on the afternoon of Monday 29th April  and heading to Sheringham to see the sea front murals of mammoths and other prehistoric animals and to enjoy some excellent locally made ice cream.  We then walked to West Runton, known for its links to prehistory as many fossils have been discovered there. The skull and tusk of a mammoth was discovered in its sand cliffs in 1995. Subsequently 85% of the mammoth’s bones were excavated which apparently makes it the most complete set of bones of a steppe mammoth that has ever been unearthed.

Tuesday was a busy day as in the morning we walked from Blakeney Quay for 6 miles along the coast path to Cley Next the Sea past its iconic windmill (incidentally now a B&B) and via “Old Womans Lane” back to Blakeney Quay where we had lunch.  In the afternoon we drove to Morston to catch a boat to see the seals on Blakeney Point and land on the peninsula for an hour’s exploration.  Luckily we had wonderful sunny weather for the trip.  The sea birds were out in force particularly the Brent Geese which were shortly to depart for the migration to Russia for nesting.  The various boats carrying visitors were all jockeying for position to get close to the sunbathing seals, which appeared unperturbed by all these curious tourists and the general hubbub.  The few attempting an afternoon swim managed to dodge the swarm of boats.  There is a museum converted from a lifeboat launching house on the peninsula which we visited during our hour ashore and most of us walked to the sea shore at the far end but were unable to find any seals or spot any nesting birds.  The only rathersad aspect was the few dead baby seals we passed on our walk, one obviously from the current year still showing its white baby fur.

On Wednesday there was a choice of 4 walks, the longest of 11 miles, then 9 miles, 7½ miles and lastly 6 miles.  4 of us opted to do the 6 miler, catching a very popular bus from Sheringham to Weybourne.  We waited there, exploring the pretty church with the ruins of the medieval Abbey attached and behind it the very much lived in Abbey Farm, then joining up with the others to continue walking to Sheringham Park.  During the walk the local steam train puffed past us.  Sheringham Park is a National Trust property with grounds designed by Humphrey Repton in 1812.  It contains various specimen trees and wonderful rhododendrons and azaleas, many in full flower.  There were splendid views and some of us chose to take the steep climb to the gazebo to see views of the sea.  We took the coastal path back to Sheringham and saw Sand Martins swooping and diving into the cliffs along the way.  Some of us saw a skylark descending to its nest in the grass.

Finally on Thursday morning a few people opted to do the 3 mile walk around Roman Camp led by Bob and Christine but others set off for home, many visiting other sites on the way back.

We would all like to thank Hilary for organizing the hotel and Bob and Christine for working out the itinerary and leading the walks.  It was a lovely break and we were blessed with wonderful weather.  I would also note that Norfolk is not as flat as I had expected!

Written by Sheila Parrish

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