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16 April 2006 @ 12:00 pm
Overstrand, Cromer and Felbrigg: Levels of Interference  
The third day of my holiday did not look terribly inspiring when I set out after breakfast but I was determined to make the most of it. So I drove to Overstrand and walked along the sandy beach from there to Cromer. After a snack, I took the cliff path back to Overstrand and arrived by the car just when it started to rain.

My next destination was the National Trust property Felbrigg. I poked around inside and out and finished the day sitting in my car, reading a mystery and eating hobnobs. Every now and then I looked up and admired the bucolic and increasingly sunny view.

Places: The coast between Overstrand and Cromer, and then Felbrigg Hall. All in Norfolk.
Weather: Overcast with the occasional shower but clearing up in the evening.
Date: April 16, 2006

I set out on my walk along the beach from Overstrand. The weather was not inviting at all so I was wearing waterproof everything. Looking in the direction I was traveling, the pier in Cromer can be spied in the distance.

Looking in the other direction, toward the south-east, we get another look at the unruly sea. It was pretty windy.

In order to keep the beach where it is, the British create elaborate structures in wood and concrete. This is a groyne. The tide was high when I set out. That's why most of it is submerged.

The Ordnance Survey map gives this stretch of the North Sea the name Foulness. Don't ask me why.

Tussilago farfara
Botanically speaking there was not much going on. But I did find some coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara on the sandy cliffs above the beach.

From time to time the sun would try to fight its way through the clouds. It made for very varying light levels and dramatic skies.

Looking out toward the sea, a gull sits on the sentinel of a mostly-submerged groyne. I wonder what gulls did before the groynes were built. There would be gulls on the groyne sentinels almost all the time. Were they content with swimming instead in earlier times?

Further along the walk, there was a proper sandy beach. To my surprise it was very hard so not at all difficult to walk on. As you can see from the tracks, I wasn't the first person to walk along here after the tide had begun to withdraw. Both humans and dogs seemed to enjoy it. I know I did. I spent quite some time just feeling the wind in my face and listening to the waves. It was brilliant.

Looking toward my destination, Cromer, again. This was zoomed in as much as I could.

Looking toward land, the tall, sandy cliffs are covered with old grass and gorse. That erosion is a problem can be seen from the sandy parts. They are of different tones, depending on how long the cliff has been exposed to the elements.

A wide view of the cliffs and the beach.

As I was getting closer, I could admire the skyline of Cromer with the church on the left and colourful hotels closer to the beach. At the very tip of the pier the lifeboat is poised for launch in case of an emergency at sea.

Beach Huts
Beach huts are apparently an integral part of the British seaside experience. People even create web sites about them. They certainly provide colour on otherwise rather drab beach.

Beach Huts
The whole row of beach huts seen from the pier in Cromer. There is a little park on the cliff above the beach huts. The roof of a band stand can be seen on the right.

I walked back on the path along the top of the cliffs. From up there the view of the beach is very different. For a while I stopped and watched these men use an old-fashioned tractor to put out their boats. They look very small against all that water.

Beach Path
The flowering gorse could be seen from above too. Now the tide is out, the groynes are completely visible.

On top of the cliff near Cromer stands a short, squat lighthouse. I guess it doesn't need to be tall to be seen from the sea because it sits so high up anyway.

Beach Path
Erosion is definitely a problem here, as evidenced by the falling-down fence. I stayed well clear of the edge.

Almost back where I started. This photo of Overstrand is taken from the cliff path. The very green lawns in the middle ground form part of a golf course.

After the long, windy walk, I felt like something more refined. So I drove to the National Trust property Felbrigg. It's a seventeenth century country house. The interiors were beautiful but what really drew me in was the walled garden.

Even before I entered, I was enchanted by this extremely English scene of mixed daffodils growing in rough grass at the foot of a lichen-covered brick wall.

Peach Blossom
Once inside I found a peach tree trained against the other side of the wall. It was flowering with perfectly formed pink blooms on the awkward, much-pruned shapes of the silvery branches and twigs.

In the kitchen garden, a substantial dovecote stands. As you can see, it's very much in use. Originally the landed gentry would erect dovecotes because they liked to eat doves. It was considered a delicacy.

The rhubarb is just bursting with vigour. The heavy manure mulch is the reason for it. I loved the saturated greens against the terracotta rhubarb forcing pots.

A white dove sitting on its porch, wondering if it's safe to fly out.

There were a number of greenhouses. This one housed scarlet pelargoniums and other tender perennials.

Toward evening the sun came out and I was treated to this view of Felbrigg church.

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