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20th July 2013 - 29th October 2013
Summer in Suffolk and Norfolk
Saturday 20th July 2013
Dovecote Buttery, near Kettering, Lat: 52.44316, long: 00.70355, (62 Miles).
We left just after 12:00 pm after deciding not to shop at Asda in Tamworth after we checked and found a Tesco not far from our overnight Britstop this evening, it will be far less busy to purchase our groceries tomorrow and we also have a .5p “off” fuel voucher to use. After a stop on the A5 near Atherstone for a snack we continued to our destination at Kettering, Kettering was easy enough, getting to the farm wasn’t because of road works, which prevented us turning right along the lane we required and then after following the diversion to a roundabout another 2 mile along the road, when I drove back I missed the turn and had to do it all over again! Arriving at Dovecote Buttery a PYO farm, restaurant and tea room, we found out where to park and were shown an ideal place on the grass parking area near the hot houses and after a cup of tea we walked down to the shop area to find out what was on offer. PYO was favourite for Strawberries, Raspberries and Gooseberries and with punnets in hand we walked around and picked (and occasionally ate) the fruit. Returning to the shop to pay we queried where the meat produce was, only to be told they didn’t sell it, I was sure that on the internet they sold local Pork and meat pies and when we got back to the motorhome I checked . . . and supposedly they did, oh well, we got some sausages out of the fridge and had sausage sandwiches for tea and then freshly-picked (by us) Strawberries with cream.
Sunday 21st July 2013
Mildenhall Caravan Club Site, Mildenhall, Lat: 52.3479, Long: 00.5319, (74 miles).
Forgot to mention last night, as we were doing the “scenic tour” of the road works I spotted above us (no wonder I missed the turning, I was looking up to the sky) what I first thought was a Buzzard, then again, a Buzzard doesn’t have a forked tail, it could only have been a Red Kite. Investigating on the internet I found out there was a release of Red Kites in Rockingham Forest as part of a re-introduction scheme with birds from Spain and they have bred successfully. Low and behold when we got to the road works this morning, everything had changed overnight and we drove back towards Kettering on the correct side of the dual carriageway, wish they had finished before yesterday! Our plans for this morning worked perfectly and we walked into Tesco just before 10 am having already filled up with diesel and last night we entered our shopping list onto iPhone Tesco app so we soon filled up the shopping trolley and were on our way once more. Arriving at Mildenhall just after noon we found a pitch in one of the three circular clearings in the forest, at least we are sure of some shade if the expected hot weather returns (it was rather dull, yesterday and this morning), we can always chase the sun through the trees if we want to sit in it! Unusually, in fact only the second one we have been to, the other one being Aberbran near Brecon, this Caravan Club site is run by volunteers who look after the office and grounds, we imagine that although the site is 15 acres and approximately 70 pitches (no amenities block) it would not be profitable if the staff were salaried. The USAF air force base is a very short distance away (the CC handbook warns of aircraft noise), we will take a walk through the forest to the end of the runway while we are here and see what aircraft are flying, we have been told its Osprey’s (those aircraft with the tilt rotors), the AWAC’s and KC re-fueling tankers, plus the occasional Galaxy.
Monday 22nd July 2013
Just great this morning having breakfast sitting outside in the shade, with the wonderful smell of pine in our nostrils, this is the life. The volunteer manager told us the route yesterday to the airfield so we decided late morning to have a walk through the forest across the heathland to the perimeter fence, we didn’t stay long before walking back, it was far too hot to stay in the open and only one aircraft a KC tanker took off and flew just over our heads while we were there. After lunch we sat outside in the shade of the trees reading although at one stage (I’m told) I did have a nap. Plenty of aircraft movement this afternoon, both Osprey’s which considering their small size are surprisingly very noisy and also the a few KC tankers. Promise of thunderstorms tonight I wonder if I’ll manage a lightening photograph?
Tuesday 23rd July 2013
Only a few rumbles of thunder and about 6 flashes of lightening so other than getting up to close down the skylights when it started to rain, we weren’t disturbed much during the night although whilst we were having breakfast it rained much heavier for a short time. It was therefore a morning in the motorhome, at least it has given me a chance to edit some photographs from our stay “up North” and Jenny to do some knitting, which has been too heavy a weight of “wool” to sit on her lap for a long time, it would have been like wearing an overcoat. After a short storm mid-afternoon the weather improved so I decided to have a walk to the airfield perimeter to hopefully photograph an Osprey (aircraft) taking off, I sat in a comfortable spot in the sun on the heathland for at least ¾ of a hour without success, although I did see one in “hover mode” landing through my binoculars. Then as I was walking back, three lifted off in quick succession, I also solved something we were puzzled about, we have heard the loud roar of “fast jets” flying about over the last 2 days, walking back I spotted 4 F15 Eagles (one of my favourite jets) flying in to RAF Lakenheath, we didn’t realise the base is only 4 mile from the camp site.
Wednesday 24th July 2013
The weather warm enough to once again have breakfast outside before spending the rest of the morning relaxing and reading. We needed to post a couple of letters so towards lunchtime we walked to the village of Mildenhall and walked through the shopping centre of old and new buildings before continuing along the river side path of the River Lark where we sat for a short time before returning to the camp site. With the sun continuing to shine we spent the time after a late lunch the same as this morning just relaxing before it was time for me to put my culinary skills to the test and organise a BBQ for tonight’s evening meal.
Thursday 25th July 2013
A short walk to reception this morning to pay for the extra 3 nights we have decided to stay and at the same time change some of the paper-back books we have already read for others in the small information hut. We will now move on Sunday and hopefully stay at a Britstop PYO/farm location for one night before moving towards the Suffolk coast. We also “did maps” attempting to organise ourselves for the next couple of weeks, it’s just a pity that the only Ordnance Survey Map (No 156, Suffolk) was the only one that Jenny was unable to “borrow” from Lichfield Library, we also need to make a decision on the camp sites we are staying at, hopefully we can find a nice quiet “5van CL or CS, there does seem plenty of them in both club handbooks, especially for our stay later in Norfolk. For the most part of the rest of the day, we sat outside and relaxed, I read and Jenny read and knitted.
Friday 26th July 2013
Needing bread, milk and cereal we walked to the Sainsbury’s in Mildenhall, this morning, buying a 30 biscuit size Shredded Wheat packet, last week in Tesco £3.05, Sainsbury’s special offer only £2!!! We also went to the information office hoping to get some further information on Suffolk and also to purchase the “missing” Ordnance Map, we were disappointed, the building looked impressive, the information inside wasn’t, just a lady with “bus times” and 2 racks of pamphlets for the local area which were the same one’s as in the info’ hut at the campsite. We were also unsuccessful elsewhere trying to buy the map, nobody sold them, and we will have to try in the next few days at other places. Arriving back at the camp site we had lunch before I decided to take myself on another walk to the airfield perimeter, as the aircraft today are landing from our direction and the airfield appeared to have plenty of traffic. I wasn’t disappointed as a Hercules flew a “few feet” over my head, followed by a KC Tanker and a large Boeing RC-135 Reconnaissance aircraft, both of which came around at least 4 times doing “touch and go” circuits or in British parlance “circuits and bumps”. At 4:30 I came “to attention” as a bugle sounded loudly through the airfield tannoy and our “National Anthem” was played followed by “The Star-Spangled Banner”, when I heard it Tuesday I thought they were just celebrating the birth of our future King, obviously not, they were playing it for me! Walking back to the camp site on Tuesday I remarked to Jenny that I had seen two Jays together, which I had not observed before, I beat that today as there were 5 on the ground as I walked along the bridle way through the woods and there were at least double that amount flying about, noisy beggars they are too. Another successful BBQ tonight using a Tesco “disposable” mustn’t get too good at it, I’ll be doing all the cooking, although perhaps not, the Gooseberry Crumble Jenny made tonight was delicious.
Saturday 27th July 2013
A very relaxed day although Jenny did some hand washing this morning. This afternoon we once again sat outside, that was until the peace was shattered by two families that arrived with five children, five bikes, two dogs, two tennis racquets, a football and a loud mother, Oh well, we leave tomorrow!
Sunday 28th July 2013
Alder Carr Farm Shop, Creeting St. Mary, Lat: 52.156559, Long: 01.055490 (35 Miles).
We left late from Mildenhall, having asked this morning for a short extension to the normal departure time of 12 noon, we actually left nearer to 1:00 pm. Our first stop was just 5 mile away, have picked up a pamphlet for Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Lackford Lakes and finding it was on the road towards Bury St. Edmunds, we thought we would pay a visit. It has a similar history to Kingsbury Water Park, albeit much later, having been created from former gravel pits in 2005 and is now 121 hectares of wetland, woodland and scrub, with an excellent visitor centre. We followed the trail and arrived at the Charlton Webster hide overlooking Jacob’s Pool where we stayed for some time watching the antics of 3 Heron’s and a Little Egret, the Little Egret was finding small fish successfully in the shallow water, until a Heron decided he/she was too near his/her feeding area and started to get rather aggressive, the Heron being twice the size of the Little Egret soon made it’s greater size tell and the Little Egret moved further away, then it got really funny, when the same Heron was chased itself by a Moorhen which was probably only a 20th of its size! After walking to Bess’s hide we returned via the circular track to the visitor centre car park and continued on our way. We arrived at the farm just before closing time and found a lovely flat grass area to park on and had a browse around the shop, we decided rather than rush our purchases tonight we will “shop” and PYO tomorrow.
Monday 29th July 2013
The Eels Foot Certificated Location, Eastbridge, near Aldeburgh, Lat 52.23924, Long: 1.59146 (40 Miles).
A PYO session this morning before leaving of Strawberries and Gooseberries, plus purchases of fresh salad & vegetables. Our first stop was at a caravan dealership at Stowmarket to buy Toilet Fluid as we have started to use our “reserve”. We have started to use a product that Michael had been getting for us unfortunately he “forgot” to get it last time we visited Lichfield and as we have been using our own facilities of late we have been using more. We (or actually I) turned too soon when I saw the caravan dealership, but I told Jenny I did it on purpose, it was the Lidl car park adjacent and we did need bread & milk. I went round to buy the toilet fluid and Jenny went to Lidl, there was a special offer on the fluid a 2 litre of screenwash free, complete waste of time, we still have the last one unopened in the storage unit, perhaps we’ll use it one day. Stowmarket town centre was just a 10 minute walk away and we still hadn’t obtained Ordnance Survey No 156 so we thought we would get one and after asking at two newsagents without success a lady in the last shop suggested the information office and after getting directions we soon found it and managed to purchase a copy. Managing to navigate out of Stowmarket we joined the A1120 “Brown sign-posted Tourist Route”, through numerous pretty villages towards the coast, stopping just once in a lay-by to photograph Saxteed Mill a Corn “windmill” dating back to at least 1796, hopefully I will be able to photograph more windmills whilst being in Suffolk and Norfolk, without poking my head through a wire fence, beating down weeds that were in my view and getting stung by nettles!
We arrived at the Eels Foot camp site at lunchtime and found a “flattish” pitch and then looking at the pub menu board (this is a pub CL), we saw Crab salad on it, we couldn’t resist it and enjoyed a great meal with an equally great Aspall Cider, which is one of the best we have drunk. We had a nice chat with the bar lady and she told us of a nice walk to “The Sluice” a 3 mile return walk along a bridleway to the sea across part of the Minsmere Levels and at the edge of the “flagship” RSPB site. It was a stunning walk, which should have taken about 45 minutes one way, but it took us over an hour to reach the sea shore at Minsmere Haven, as we stopped repeatedly to admire the views, even Sizewell B the atomic power station about a mile south, didn’t detract from it. Walking back we were lucky to see a Marsh Harrier being “mobbed” by Lapwings, it obviously got too near their nests, there was also a profusion of different Dragonflies, Damselflies and Butterflies species which we hadn’t seen before. The only downside to the day was that Jenny lost her wristwatch, luckily it wasn’t an expensive one, we bought it in Melbourne, Australia in 2008 and it was always 10 hours fast!
Tuesday 30th July 2013
The first wet day for some time so an opportunity to finally finish the editing of my photographs for the last few weeks. We also spent some time finding a camp site for the next four days, we have already sorted a return to the Eels Foot from Sunday for four days, so we needed to find a campsite for the next four days, we weren’t able to find one for the whole time so we are stopping at two different locations, not a bad idea it means we will see more of Suffolk.
Wednesday 31st July 2013
Tumbleweed Certificated Location, Iken, near Aldeburgh, Lat: 52.14389, Long: 1.53350, (17 Miles).
Not far to drive today so we didn’t leave the Eels Foot until 10:30, emptying both grey and black waste and filling up with fresh water before we left. After last night’s heavy rain we thought we would have difficulty driving off the grass site, however being so dry for the last few weeks, the ground was already dry again this morning and we didn’t have any problem. We didn’t want to go directly to Iken so we decide to visit the coastal town of Aldeburgh and parked easily in a large car park between the sea and marshland just a 10 minute walk from the town centre. Unfortunately it was drizzling of rain when we arrived and I wanted to take a photograph of the “The Scallop” a sculpture dedicated to Benjamin Britten which stands at the North end of Aldeburgh beach, however after a cup of tea in the motorhome, I braved the elements (actually the rain had stopped for a period) and took my photos.
We needed “buns and cold cuts” for lunch, so wearing our raincoats and hats we walked into the town. We are glad we did the walk along the front near the shingle beach past the fisherman huts where freshly caught fish are sold and then into the high street it was a delight. A decision was made when we saw (and smelt) people carrying bags of fish and chips from the famous Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop, widely regarded to be one of the best Fish and Chips shops in the UK . . . we forgot our original plan and had fish and chips. Haddock XL (extra-large) with chips was our choice and we were good we shared a portion, whilst sitting on the sea wall, they were excellent, so much so, the local gulls wanted a share, they didn’t get any! Forgot to mention, the rain stopped as we walked into the town, now we were carrying our raincoats over our arms, the sun had come out and we were too hot. After a further walk through the high street we returned to the motorhome to continue to “Tumbleweed” a certificated site near Iken, greeted by the owner she showed us where all the facilities were and we pitched in a comfortable position in the lawned camp site at the back of the house. The “buns and cold cuts” our original idea for lunch? We bought them and had them this evening instead.
Thursday 1st August 2013
Plenty of drinks in our rucksack and a liberal amount of sun-tan cream on our skin as the temperature to-day is reported to be in the high “twenties” and walking to Snape Maltings is the plan. We started out mid-morning and our first “diversion” was the 1 mile return walk down the lane to Iken Church, as we thought a “thatched roof” church would be worth looking at . . . it was and we spent some time looking around before we walked back to join the public footpath further up the main road which leads to the River Alde estuary.
The level footpath followed the tidal river, marshes and mudflats and we were ambled along enjoying the scenery and watching the wading birds feeding in the mud. Whilst we were watching the birds we had some excitement, first of all we spotted a Marsh Harrier hunting and we actually saw him swoop down and take a Lapwing, then through the binoculars I actually thought I was “seeing things”, but no, I wasn’t, what I had spotted was a seal, which came out onto a mud bank then returned to the water. Continuing our walk we reached Snape Malting which is an arts complex, best known for its concert hall, the original purpose of the Maltings, built in the 1800’s was the malting of barley for the brewing of beer and then once malted was sent to London then exported to Europe. Today it’s a collection of shops, galleries, restaurants, and living accommodation, plus the concert hall.
We fancied a pub meal and decided on a meal in the court yard of the “Plough and Sail” and we had a Ham Ploughman’s and a Cheese Ploughman’s and then shared the ham and cheese between us, although Jenny came off best, I don’t like Blue cheese or Brie . . . Jenny likes both! After a further browse around the complex we started our return walk to the camp site, stopping for a time on the bank side to talk to our future Son-In-Law Ian, via “Facetime” whose birthday it is today. Also spotting a Curlew and 3 seals while we rested there before continuing to “Tumbleweed” and having walked just over 7 mile, I sat outside when we got back and in the late afternoon heat, fell asleep.
Friday 2nd August 2013
The Bailiffs Cottage Certificated Site, Hollesley, Lat: 52.04804, Long: 1.40617 (18 Miles).
The mood of the weather certainly changed before we left this morning, it became very “heavy and muggy” and whilst we were waiting to use the shower (there’s only one) the heavens opened and it started to rain heavily, I ran back to the motorhome to close all the roof lights which we had left open wide, by the time we had finished our showers it had stopped and the sun was out again. Not for long, after breakfast the first rumbles of thunder started and the clouds became a really strange shape and colour (in fact the unusual clouds were reported on to-nights Anglia news). We didn’t want to leave until towards noon and we didn’t want to stay on the grass if it got too wet so we asked Mrs. Ridsdale the owner if she minded us moving to an empty hardstanding pitch for a short while, she was grateful we asked, it would have been a shame to spoil the grass with unsightly skid marks. The decision was right, as very soon afterwards the storm got nearer and it started to rain really heavy. It didn’t last long and just after 12:00 pm we were on our way, deciding to stop at a place called Orford on the way to Hollesley, which we have been told is worth seeing. Following the directions to the car park, we had a pleasant surprise to find a massive area with ample room to park the motorhome and only a 5 minute walk to the Quay. The National Trust site of Orford Ness National Nature Reserve was a short ferry ride from the quay so we went to find details at the N.T Office, we didn’t realise what an interesting place the reserve is, as the pamphlet stated “Desolate, lonely, mysterious, peaceful, fascinating, beautiful, A visit to Orford Ness National Nature Reserve provokes all of these responses”. It was just a pity that we didn’t have time to take a look as we are sure the reserve will need plenty of time to explore. We did however have time to walk along the estuary of the River for a short distance, walk up to the small village and purchase a large Sour Dough loaf from the bakery and take a few photos of the castle. We arrived at the camp site mid-afternoon (would have been a few minutes earlier if we hadn’t gone slightly the wrong way) and were shown our pitch, again a nice grassy area with 3 shade houses opposite with salad produce growing, some of which is for sale, we will have to find out in the next 2 days what is available.
Saturday 3rd August 2013
Woken up in the early morning to flashes of lightening and rumbles of thunder and then like yesterday it started to rain heavily and I had to get up once again to close the roof lights. Needless to say we didn’t get up very early this morning, although we were reading in bed for a time and I wanted to finish my book. We have changed our plans for the next couple of days, having decided we would like to visit Orford Ness National Nature Reserve, we have therefore decided to stop at a camp site near Orford for 2 nights and visit the reserve on Tuesday (it is closed Sunday and Monday) before we arrive back at “The Eels Foot” having cancelled Sunday and Monday, but extended to Friday morning as their Thursday “Folk” night is reputed not to be missed. A walk to Shingle Street was our goal today a small coastal hamlet at the mouth of Orford Ness and said to be the place of strange happenings including a rumoured failed German invasion and the true story of the disappearance of the “Lifeboat Inn” when an uncharged chemical bomb devised by Porton Down was tested inside it! We started out just before lunch and our first “diversion” was to the “Run Cottage Touring Park” in Hollesley a camp site that I had seen on the internet and coincidently we were passing it. We were given permission to have a look at the site and given details of it by the lady in the office. We were most impressed, with the amenities, layout and space and it is much better value for money than where we are staying at present, although £2 dearer at £18, the showers are free (where we are costs 50p for 15 minutes). We continued our walk along a bridle path until it became a public footpath which eventually crossed a field of Sugar Beet, the going especially for Jenny became quite difficult deep furrows between the Sugar Beet Rows, but eventually we crossed a bridge and climbed up on top of a dyke (the GPS actually showed 1 foot below sea level in the field). Continuing along the dyke path we came to Shingle Street near an unusual holiday home, a Martello Tower dating back to the Napoleonic Wars one of a series of such fortifications along our coast.
We sat on the shingle beach for our lunch (the remains of our Sour Dough) and just trained our binoculars out to sea to “be nosey” a few boats, a fortification and a wind farm on the horizon was all we saw. We walked back to the camp site along a bridleway which was a lot easier than the way we went, although perhaps a longer route and in total we covered a similar distance to Thursday, 7.19 miles to be precise and glad to get our walking boots off
Sunday 4th August 2013
Raydon Hall Certificated Site, Orford, Lat: 52.0989. Long: 01.54507 (13 Miles).
Purchased six fresh eggs this morning, collected almost straight from the hens bum and freshly-picked rhubarb, pity it wasn’t a cereal farm or dairy farm, we had to stop at the village shop in Hollesley for bread and milk. Our intention before arriving at Orford today was to drive back to Shingle Street and spend some time there, unfortunately we somehow missed the turning, the Hollesley Bay Prison and YOI which we drove through should have given us a clue that we were on the wrong road, and when we re-joined the main road that confirmed it! We also past the Suffolk Punch Trust and Stud, I thought a museum type place full of old lawnmowers would be interesting, felt such a fool, when Jenny told me “The Suffolk” was a type of horse. Arriving at Raydon Hall we were surprised that despite “the rule” that pitches are vacated by 12 pm, there was a caravan waiting for a pitch and there were 3 caravans still organising themselves for departure and it was 12:35 pm, however we waited patiently for a pitch that was facing the sea and were delighted that the fee for a nights stop with electricity was only £10. After lunch we walked to Orford Quay alongside the river and stopped for afternoon tea and home-made cake at the Riverside Café before walking a short distance further along the estuary to take photographs of some old boats in a better light than I photographed them on Friday.
Monday 5th August 2013
Jenny did some washing this morning, I checked on the iPhone App tide table and found that high water at Orford Quay was at 11:30 am and as I wanted to photograph the old boats in water rather than on the mud flat I decided to walk down to the estuary once again, although now I’ve looked at them “in camera” I’m not too sure whether I prefer the photographs “in the mud”, I will decide later tonight when I put them on the laptop and compare them. This afternoon we relaxed I read and Jenny knitted, whilst we listened to music, the first time for a while we have sat inside the motorhome. I then spent the rest of the time editing the website and adding photographs, hopefully we will be able to “publish” it tonight, although I still have some photographs to add.
Tuesday 6th August 2013
The Eels Foot Inn Certificated Location, Lat: 52.23927. Long: 01.59132 (18 Miles).
A leisurely morning at the camp site before driving down to the car park near Orford Quay for our walk on Orford Ness. Arriving at the quay we went to the office of the National Trust to pay the "landing" fee & ferry cost of £16 and we bought the guide book and map for £2.50, We thought we would be able to cross to the island straight away, but we were on the 1:00 pm “sailing” and as it was only 11:30 am, we decided to walk up to the village bakery for some bread for lunch. . . the shop was closed, luckily the village store was open and we purchased bread and some ham from there. We had lunch back at the motorhome before walking back to the quay, where I watched the fishermen unload to-days catch (Flounder, Sole, 1 cod and a small Skate) while we waited for our boat. A bit of history on Orford Ness, it is a 16 km long shingle spit of marsh, saltmarsh, shingle and lagoon/ditches divided from the mainland by the River Ore now owned by the National Trust. It was formerly owned by the Ministry of Defence which conducted secret military tests during both world wars and the cold war of which many of the remains of the buildings still remain especially those previously used by the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment. It was also used as a bombing range for V bombers and also “The Ness” contains a large grey building which housed the top secret “Cobra Mist” Anglo-American “over-the-horizon radar until closure in 1973. Crossing the River to Orford Ness took just a matter of minutes and we were greeted the other side by a ranger who took our “boarding ticket” off us and which is given back to us on our departure, this is to make sure that everybody leaves the island before the last ferry leaves at 5:00pm. Another ranger gave us a short insight on which trails to cover, red and green were open, but he suggested we would not have time to do both. We chose the red trail, along the river wall, across the marsh past the old airfield to the information buildings to the viewing platform overlooking Stoney Ditch and the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE). After resting on a seat for a short time for refreshments (today is very warm), we continued across a bailey bridge across Stoney Ditch a tidal creek to the Bomb Ballistics Building the nerve centre of an experimental bombing range, climbing the stairs to the roof gave us a wonderful view for miles in all directions. We than walked to the lighthouse keeping to the marked track as either side still contains unexploded ordnance and sharp pieces of metal. This Orford lighthouse has been there since 1792, but unfortunately it appears it won’t be there for much longer, it was switched off as recently as 27th June this year, the mechanical parts removed and because of coastal erosion is expected to be “lost to the sea” in the next 8 years.
We sat on a bench outside the lighthouse for a short time before walking along the shingle just above the tide line as far as Police Tower used to scan the beach for potential intruders or those taking a too close a look at activities on the site. At the tower we returned inland to the Black Beacon an unusual building built in 1928 to house an experimental “rotating loop” navigation beacon, another great place from the top room for views through “slots” over the surrounding area and some informative displays to.
We then walked along an old metaled road to the end of the red route, Laboratory 1, the first of six atomic weapons test cells constructed by the AWRE from Aldamaston, for mechanical, vibration and drop tests on the UK’s first atomic bomb, without nuclear material only the high explosive initiator, I might add, (so they say). Visit’s to the two “Pagodas” strange reinforced roofed buildings a further distance away are not allowed, the guide does mention “odd coloured rabbits can be seen” I wonder why? The ranger was correct, we would not have had time to cover both routes, we walked back to the ferry pier and arrived at 4:45 pm and that was without looking at all the informative displays in various buildings, we will have to save the green route for another time. Returning across the river we walked back to the car park having walked nearly 5 miles and drove the short distance to the Eels Inn for another 3 day stay, stopping on the way at the Co-operative store in Aldeburgh for groceries.
Wednesday 7th August 2013
After the amount of walking we have done in the last week we thought it time to-day to do nothing except relax in the motorhome on what has been the coldest day for a long time, albeit for most of the day the temperature has been still over 20 degree C, we have got too used to the hot weather! Tonight the car park was full, all my followers were here and celebrating my arrival yesterday, stomping their feet, slapping tambourines, banging drums, bells ringing on their feet and waving trees above their heads, yes, the Morris men (and women) had descended on the Eels Foot. Wish I’d never started the cult!!!
Thursday 8th August 2013
Organised our stay this morning for Friday and Saturday after ringing a couple of camp sites and finding there was no availability, Jenny went to the pub to see if they had any vacancies here, we were in luck, they had had two cancellations, the landlord was delighted that we have decided to stop the extra days. The Minsmere RSBP reserve was our destination today, we are going out for a few hours and are going in an anti-clockwise direction and walking towards “the sluice” first along the Minsmere Levels where we walked on our last visit, and perhaps we will find Jenny’s watch. The walk to the sluice and onto the shingle beach is about 1½ miles and we followed the footpath across the fields and along the rush-edged water course, stopping to take a photograph of the old ruined chapel, which I took a photo of last time but was not happy with.
We sat for a short time on the beach before continuing across the well mark path over the levels, passing a herd of Highland cattle on the way. We diverted slightly for about 700 yards onto a temporary path through the tall grass, where “it was suggested” Bearded Tits can be seen, the only thing we did see was a pair of Goldfinches. It was lunchtime and we needed a place to have our lunch, perfect, we joined the main path and someone had thoughtfully positioned a seat there “in memory of his mother who still enjoyed visiting Minsmere at 99, thank you someone’s mum! After our lunch we continued to our first hide, “the wildlife lookout” where for the first time we saw “Black-tailed Godwit" a large wading bird and which we now know is the one we couldn’t identify on our walk to Snape Malting last week. We had a short look around the visitor centre shop before continuing to the North Hide, however there was little to see, we therefore re-traced our steps past the visitor centre, through the woods to the Bittern Hide, but other than plenty of Mallards, Coots and Moorhens there was nothing “different” to see. We walked on, towards the Island Mere hide and the last one on our way back to the camp site, a ranger had mentioned that a normally very elusive Bittern could be seen a little further up the path “sunning himself” on the reeds, sure enough we spotted him, though only clearly through our binoculars before he disappeared into the undergrowth, I was also lucky when we returned to the hide, I saw one flying low over the other side of the water. Leaving the RSPB reserve we had about a mile to walk back to the motorhome for a very welcome cup of tea, having walked today another 6 miles. This evening is “Folk Night” at the Eels Foot so at 8:30 pm we thought we would take a look, bur other than a lady playing a “squeeze box” and a man strumming a guitar there was nothing else going on and the pub was packed so we didn’t bother stopping.
Friday 9th August 2013
Raining this morning so an opportunity to attempt to finish editing the photographs I have taken in the last 2 weeks. This afternoon whilst Jenny knitted I went for a walk along the watercourse a little distance up the lane from the campsite, deciding just to take with me binoculars, camera with macro lens hopefully for some close photos of dragonflies or damselflies and any other small creatures I could find. It was rather quiet, so I wasn’t too successful, although I did see several Herons, a Kestrel and a Grass Snake. When I got back to the bridge I noticed a path on the other side of the road, I had a quick investigation and it appears to go close to the Minsmere Levels I did walk about a ¼ mile along it between tall grasses and rushes and the newly harvested field and did manage to see and photograph a Peacock Butterfly, however it was now getting towards tea time so I decided that I will leave the rest for another day.
Saturday 10th August 2013
A relaxed morning, I thought it may be an idea to take a look at 12 instructional photo CD’s I had free with NPhoto magazine before I decided to stop buying it. After lunch we started a walk to Leiston Abbey, leaving the campsite and walking along the lane until we arrived at the Bridal Way, “Sandlings Walk at least an extra mile longer than walking directly to the abbey along the lane, but other than a few cyclists no vehicular traffic. We had no pre-conceived idea what the ruined abbey looked like so when we first saw it through the trees we were amazed at the site, we thought it would be quite small, it wasn’t and it had a farmhouse built into the ruins which strangely didn’t detract from it. With several informative notice boards within the grounds we obtained a good insight of what the abbey looked like when it was built in 1182, interestingly with some of the old building materials from the original abbey which was in an unhealthy location on swampy ground on Minsmere of which only the chapel ruins remain (see photo 8th August).
We walked back to the camp site along the lane it still seemed as long as going along the bridleway and we walked almost 4 mile in total. I thought to-night in the last hour before it got dark to have another walk along the meadows I walked along yesterday to see if I could spot any “critters”, I was quite pleased seeing some deer close by and seeing a Barn Owl or Short-eared Owl at a distance through my binoculars. Tomorrow we move on to a Caravan Club Site at Kessingland, we need to do some washing and within the next few days re-plenish our larder, plus as yet, I have been unable to “update” the web site, hopefully we can rectify that with Wi-Fi on the club site.
Sunday 11th August 2013
White Beach Caravan Club Site, Kessingland, Lat: 52.40936, Long: 01.72745, (22 miles).
We were going to go to Southwold this morning on the way to Kessingland but having checked their Tourist Information site for car park details it actually stated you can buy a T shirt with “I parked in Southwold” emblazoned on it, obviously not the place then to attempt to park a 24 foot motorhome. Instead I looked at the bus information and found the “601” goes through Kessingland from Lowerstoft to Southwold we will use that instead in the next 4 days. Because we would have been too early for a noon arrival, we got everything organised to depart and parked the motorhome at the end of the field and went for a short walk down the lane and along the path I walked last night, no deer this time though. An easy drive to the camp site and we arrived at 11:50 am and we were 4th in the queue to book in, we were very lucky we weren’t sure which part of the site was best and the site manageress asked whether we wanted a “sea view” pitch after confirming we could get Wi-Fi we decided on Pitch 7 the only one left right on the front overlooking the beach and North Sea, it was perfect. The camp site is unusual in that it is split into two sections the main one with 93 pitches and out of the main site across the road the “beach” section with just 24 pitches, a further plus point, it is less crowded and much quieter. After lunch Jenny organised the washing, a small downside being the laundry room is on the main site, but not a great problem, she stayed at the amenities and read her book until it was finished. I in the meantime attempted to get a picture on the television, evidently 2 wind turbines installed at the back of the main site interfere with the signal, on our “signal finder” we could see the problem, as they rotated the signal fluctuated, we found the fix, using our co-axial cables and the signal booster system on the EHU, strange though, we are back to using analogue and the “local” news is London!
Monday 12th August 2013
A walk this morning to the local Londis store in the village for bread and milk we thought it was quite close but in fact it was over a 2 mile round trip. We then spent the rest of the day outside relaxing in the nice warm sun, Jenny read and I listened to the double CD of Simon & Garfunkel, ironic I was on the last track on the IPod when I ran out of “sparks”. Hopefully if the sky is clear we will be able to see the Perseid meteor shower tonight-one of the most spectacular “shooting star” displays of the year. When I was out last night watching the ISS flying over I saw a very good one so I hope to be lucky this evening.
Tuesday 13th August 2013
Well I stopped up to watch the “firework” display last night, Jenny went to bed! I stood outside for a short time but it was unusually cold so I sat in the passenger seat and watched over the sea through the windscreen, I saw seven, so I was happy. We set off for a long walk at lunchtime to Benacre Broad a National Nature Reserve separated from the sea by a narrow piece of shingle beach. The first part was along the public footpath adjacent to the campsite, before the path finished and we were on “the Deans” a heathland which continued for about a mile until we reached the inland part of the Suffolk coastal path.
We decided to continue via the shingle beach and were rather worried when we saw a seal pup all alone just above the waterline, I investigated and it woke up, It seemed to be healthy and we seem to remember that they should be left alone, being hopeful that the mother was not too far away “fishing”, we took a photograph and continued on.
We eventually arrived at Benacre Broad and stayed in the bird hide for a short time, where Jenny emptied a bucket of sand out of her walking boots, whilst I looked for any interesting birds through the binoculars, other than a Heron, several Greylag Geese and 4 Oystercatchers we couldn’t identify the rest, (we are not very good at identifying gulls and ducks from a distance). Deciding to walk a circular route back to the coast we continued our walk through the woods and beside sea cliffs before reaching the tiny hamlet of Covehithe with an unusual church which had been built within the ruins of a much bigger one. From the village we walked along a lane for about a mile before turning onto a bridleway along the side of a tall deer fence and thence on to a farm track back to the shingle beach and the edge of the heathland back to the camp site. We only stopped at the motorhome to leave the binoculars and camera before walking to the fish and chip shop in the village, we were going to share, but having walked over 8 mile, we were both hungry, we had one each!
Wednesday 14th August 2013
The plan today was to visit the small town of Southwold about 5 miles away, which we were going to visit on Sunday in the motorhome, before we found that parking, even for cars is difficult. We walked up to the bus stop to catch the 12:26 pm, No bus and we waited and waited and continued to wait until we go fed up and went back and spent the afternoon sitting outside relaxing instead. If we had been on our own at the bus stop we would have thought we had mis-read the timetable, however there were three locals waiting for the same bus, they did the same as us and gave up, a couple went to the local restaurant and the other lady went to the tea-shop to wait in the hope that the 1:26 pm bus would arrive, we went back to the motorhome and sat outside in the sun.
Thursday 15th August 2013
Willoways Certificated Location, near Great Yarmouth, Lat: 52.57696. Long: 01.67429, (19 Miles).
I experimented last night with the settings on the camera in the hope that I might be able to take a photograph of a meteor. I set it for 76 shots at 30 second intervals with a shutter speed of 20 seconds, which would only give me a “miss” of 10 seconds between exposures. The experiment worked, the only thing lacking was the appearance of a meteor in the shot, although I saw 3 during the 38 minutes, none were in field of vision of the lens, still I got 76 exposures plenty of stars, trouble was none were “shooting”! We left White House Beach mid-morning and the first stop was at the large Tesco near Lowestoft, having not visited a major supermarket for 3 weeks we were very low on food so we were rather longer than usual “doing our shop”, but at least we won’t have to resort to “Jacobs” and water for at least another 3 weeks! A short distance from Tesco to the campsite but the lanes that “Betty” wanted us to drive down weren’t suitable as they had weight limits on them, Jenny’s navigation skills came to the fore and with the use of an Ordnance Survey map we reached Willoways within 30 minutes, the combination code that we were given opened the locked gate and we drove into a nice flat grassed paddock surrounded by trees. We were soon organised and having a late lunch sitting outside at the rear of the motorhome in the sun. Tim the owner came in the evening and gave us an information sheet on the walks in the local area and the location of the site water point, etc., he also explained the electricity usage, unusually the electric is metered by a card, at present we have £7.82 showing available and he estimates we will only use approximately a £1 a day, it will be interesting to see how much we use in the next 4 days and compare it to both Caravan club charges that are normally over £3.50.
Friday 16th August 2013
The intention today was to have a walk towards the “Broads” using the “mud map” that Tim gave us, however for most of the morning it was raining so we just stopped in the motorhome relaxing. This afternoon we did have a short walk around the grounds of the camp site, which comprises of a pool, meadow, a forest walk and a trail along a stream, there was plenty of “critters” about especially dragonflies and butterflies, we also heard a Muntjac Deer “barking” we weren’t 100% sure what we heard, but verified it when we got back by checking on the internet and listening to one on "You Tube". This evening I thought I would take another walk the same way, looking for night “critters” but only saw a Mouse, Geese and Bats, plus once again hearing on the far side of the stream a Muntjac. If I do the same walk again I must remember to take a torch, trying to put the correct 4 figure code in the combination lock to the gate is rather difficult in the dark!
Saturday 17th August 2013
We spent some time this morning trying to decide where to go to next in the Norfolk Broads, we have made a decision, however we are awaiting a ring back from a campsite before we can make definite plans. Before lunch I had a walk around the “wild garden” and managed to take some good photos of dragonflies, the difficult part this evening was trying to identify them in our book.
After lunch we walked from the camp site using Tim’s “mud map” along a bridle path to Burgh Castle a small village on the east bank of the River Waveney, which gave us our first glimpse of the Broads.
After watching the many different types of river craft for a short time, we continued along the river bank to the Burgh Castle Roman Site, said to be the best preserved Roman monument in East Anglia and one of the most impressive to survive in the UK. It’s certainly in a dramatic position overlooking Breydon Water and when we walked up the steps from the bankside to take a look we had a fantastic view of the surrounding countryside for many miles.
After a further exploration, walking around the perimeter wall, we walked back along the river, stopping at “The Fisherman’s Inn” for a cup of tea before walking back to Willoways. A good afternoon walking over “new ground” and we covered over 4.60 miles . . . and my football team won against Arsenal too!
Sunday 18th August 2013
No ring back from the camp site we contacted yesterday so we asked Tim if we could stop here for a few extra days, unfortunately he is full on this site from tomorrow, however his other site on the other side of the property “Deodara”, which is the one we originally wanted to go to being an “adults only” site does have a vacancy so we have decided to go there for four days, actually we saw the camp site on Friday when we went for a walk and despite it being an adults only actually preferred Willoways for its intimacy surrounded by trees, Deodara is still a "5van" site but much bigger and open. This afternoon we once again walked to Burgh Castle, for two reasons, I wasn’t satisfied with the photographs of the fens I took yesterday and also yesterday we spotted a goose which we thought was a “feral goose”, it wasn’t until Jenny was looking through the bird identification book that she noticed an Egyptian Goose which closely resembled the bird we had seen, we wanted to go back and take a further look. We didn’t go quite as far as yesterday, stopping before the short climb up to the castle on a footbridge overlooking the fens from where I took some “much improved” photos than yesterday and we also photographed what was definitely an Egyptian Geese, which evidently is a resident of Norfolk. We stopped once again at the "Fisherman’s Inn" for a cup of tea, on this occasion sitting in the beer garden for quite some time watching the boats sailing past, and then walking back along the bridleway to the camp site.
Monday 19th August 2013
Deodara Certificated Location, near Great Yarmouth, Lat: 52.57713, Long: 01.67420, (0.2 Miles).
Our shortest drive from one camp site to another this morning, out of one drive past the house and into the next drive. I walked around to the camp site earlier this morning and “staked our claim” on the pitch we wanted and then when we arrived we changed our mind because there was so much morning shade from a large oak tree behind it, that we decided to use a more open pitch. We did take the opportunity to fill the fresh water tank and empty the toilet cassette before we left Willoways and we were soon organised having breakfast outside in the sun. Another change in our plans today, we didn’t realise until we rang the next camp site we wanted to stay at that it is a Bank Holiday this weekend and they are full for the next 2 weeks, we are therefore stopping at Deodara until Monday and then we will make further arrangements in the next few days for the following couple of weeks. The rest of the day we relaxed in the sun, although I did have a walk to the other pool and wild life garden along the path beside the stream.
Tuesday 20th August 2013
A lazy day, other than having a walk around the woods and pools.
Wednesday 21st August 2013
This morning we made those further arrangements for our stays in the next 2 weeks although we still have a 3 day gap to fill. Before lunch we started our walk to Great Yarmouth, taking the path down to the river and this time not stopping at the Fisherman’s Inn for a drink. We followed the “Angles Way” a long-distance (93 miles) well sign-posted footpath along the River Waveney past its confluence with the Yare and then along the bank side of Breydon Water the sheltered estuary at Great Yarmouth. We chose today for this long walk as the weather forecast suggested it was going to be cooler than of late, however it certainly wasn’t and it was a relief at times to be in the shade of trees and for a breeze to occasionally cool us. The further we went, the less shade we had, we were between the estuary and marshes for the majority of the time until we arrived on the outskirts of Great Yarmouth where we followed the lane past a housing estate and the signs for the town centre. We did have some shopping to do but as it was already well past lunch time we decided to walk towards the sea-front and find a Fish and Chip shop, we didn’t have to look far there was quite a choice and we sat on a wall near the gardens enjoying Haddock and Chips, followed by a “whippy” ice-cream covered in chocolate from a kiosk on the promenade. After a short walk along the front we returned to the town along a street full of the usual souvenir shops selling rock and “kiss me quick” hats, before finding the main shopping centre to make a few purchases. The bus station was close by so we waited for the No 5 bus to Burgh Castle, we hadn’t got a clue which way the bus went, however I had a “brain wave” (the second this year) and I used the GPS on Jen’s iPhone and traced the route, it actually went along Mill Road and as soon as we were close I rang the bell, we only had to walk about a hundred yards back to the camp site. We walked a total of 9.15 miles, the longest walk since arriving in Suffolk/Norfolk and thoroughly enjoyed it, not that Great Yarmouth would ever be on our list of holiday destinations but it is a great place for families and children and it was pleasing to see how busy it was.
Thursday 22nd August 2013
Should have been a short(ish) walk this morning to the post office in Burgh Castle to re-new the motorhome vehicle tax. However, the small post office didn’t do tax renewal’s. We were given the location of the post office in the Tesco Express in Belton a village close by and were told it was about 15 minutes away, it took at least a further 10 minutes but at least the return walk was shorter. After such a long walk yesterday, plus this morning’s trek, we spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing, although Jenny did some hand-washing and we both cut each other’s hair.
Friday 23rd August 2013
After F1’s month long “holiday” we watched both practice sessions this morning from Belgium before having lunch. This afternoon we had a short walk along the path at the back of Tim’s property to the picnic area at Willoways as we had spotted that the blackberries in that area had ripened, Jenny filled a box with them in a very short space of time for a Blackberry and Apple crumble tonight. I took my camera with me with the macro lenses fitted and photographed some of the many dragonflies that seem to frequent that area, hopefully I have taken some decent shots. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing outside, perhaps the last decent day of sunshine, heavy rain is forecast for the rest of the weekend.
Saturday 24th August 2013
A quiet day
Sunday 25th August 2013
Well despite the weather forecast we seemed to have dodged the worst of the heavy rain, in fact we hardly had any during the night and once again this morning we have woken up to “wall to wall” sunshine. On Friday we were told by a fisherman that he had seen the Kingfisher around the pool, so this morning I decided to sit quietly by the pool and “hiding” behind some tall grasses waited to see if I could photograph it. To no avail and I returned to the motorhome at 12 noon to watch the F1 Grand Prix, with Jenny, Not the result we wanted with Lewis Hamilton only coming 3rd, but we enjoyed it nevertheless. After it had finished (no “red button” forum today for some reason) I decided once again to sit by the pool and patiently wait for the Kingfisher and I wasn’t until I was ready to walk back for tea that I saw it, unfortunately it didn’t stop to feed but just flew the length of the pool before disappearing along the stream. I might try again tomorrow before we leave.
Monday 26th August 2013
Church Farm Certificated Site, North Burlingham, Lat: 52.63662, Long 01.50116 (20 miles).
I didn’t walk to the pool after all this morning instead I concentrated on the stream between the camp sites to photograph some of the dragonflies, hopefully (I haven’t looked yet) I have captured a “Norfolk Hawker” on the top of a plume of red grass, which if it’s come out OK is the one in a photograph below, if it isn’t, then I didn’t!
We left at 10:50 am, intending our first stop to be the Tesco Supermarket near Caister-on-Sea and entered the details into the Satnav, however as we were driving along the main A12 from Great Yarmouth, what did we see? A Tesco Extra, Jenny quickly calculated how far the Caister Tesco was and it was 3 mile away, we turned around at the next island and re-traced our steps, we only saved 2 mile in total but at least we could see that it was one we could easily park in and we didn’t have to go towards the town centre of Caister where all the bank holiday traffic seem to be heading for. Leaving the supermarket it was an easy drive to North Burlingham, it could have been easier if Betty hadn’t sent us down a side road, completely unnecessary and we were confused again when we got to “No 23” and there was no sign of a camp site only industrial units, we found the camp site a further ½ mile along the road. We had a pleasant surprise when we arrived, the camp site covers 2 acres, plenty of room for 5 units (it’s a "5van" site) and it was situated in an apple orchard (ironic we had just bought 3 varieties of apple from Tesco), the field was level, it had toilets and only cost £10 a night with electric. We pitched in between the apple trees and we were soon organised and sitting outside having lunch in the warm sunshine and stayed outside until the sun disappeared below the tree line and a cool breeze sent us indoors.
Tuesday 27th August 2013
I looked for walks around North Burlingham last night and found a very informative web site which showed a series of “Burlingham Woodland Walks” from the church along the main street towards South Walsham Broad, so with the aid of the Ordnance survey map and “Maps 3D” on Jenny’s iPhone planned today’s walk. We left the camp site at 11:15 am and from St Andrews church entered the first woodland called Drive Plantation and then Millennium Wood before joining a green lane between fields to Long Plantation crossing a lane to the newly planted (2008) wood called Austin’s Wood, with its Common Oaks and young apple trees. We continued on, through Hare Fen Wood before reaching “Fairhaven Woodland and Water Gardens” a 131 acre privately owned enterprise with a private broad. We were un-decided whether to finish our walk here and visit the gardens or continue on towards South Walsham Broad, we decided on the latter and passing through the small village of Pilson Green, walking across a public footpath along a narrow country lane we reached the water’s edge and found a perfect place for lunch, a seat near the slipway where we could eat, drink and rest watching the myriad of craft, large and small motoring and sailing along the broad.
A further decision to be made, should we walk back or continue along to the narrower stretch of water known as Fleet Dyke, suitably refreshed and despite the distance and not at all tired, we carried on for a further mile before re-tracing our steps. Reaching Fairhaven Gardens we thought that a cup of tea would be a good idea and sat outside in the pleasant court yard of the tea-rooms for a time, I was good not having a slice of cake, but we had saved Jenny’s coffee and walnut tray bake for a further stop this afternoon. Walking on we arrived at a spot where we had spotted some large, delicious (we tasted them) blackberries this morning, Jenny as enterprising as ever had saved the silver foil from our lunch, transferred the tray bake into the silver foil and we used the empty plastic box and within a very short space of time we had filled it with succulent berries. Our final stop this afternoon was the bench in a clearing at Austin’s Wood, where I just had to try a small apple from one of the trees, as you may know (or not), I am extremely fussy with eating apples and will only eat one type “Pink Lady”, however I did enjoy this one, it was what I would call a proper “tree apple”. After a drink and our cake I made a mistake, I lay down along the bench and “almost” went to sleep! Jenny laughingly reminded me of doing a similar thing at a picnic site in Scotland, but despite her describing the place very precisely I couldn’t remember where it was and she couldn’t remember the place name, other than she thought it started with “A”. Other than taking a different track through Drive Plantation, we took the same route back to the camp site, having walked our greatest distance to date this summer of 10.18 miles.
Wednesday 28th August 2013
A relaxed day sitting in the sun.
Thursday 29th August 2013
A days fishing today on the small “canal” type pool nearest the motorhome which is reputed to have Carp up to 20lb, I can confirm that it has at least a 12lb one in as I saw it caught on Tuesday evening when I had a walk around the pools. Jenny came down and sat near me reading before returning to organise lunch, she didn’t stop long when she returned, unfortunately she then managed to get stung by a wasp on her arm. We both walked back and I used the “anti-venom” sucker tool we have had for many years to “suck” the venom out, We think it helped, we last used it on an ant bite in Australia and before that a mosquito bite in California. We also rubbed on some “Soov” an ointment we bought in Australia, past its “best before” date, but it still works on “mozzy” bites. When we returned to fish, Jenny sat further up the bank away from where the wasps were, coincidently the TV news tonight mentioned the wasp “explosion” this year because they had stayed in hibernation longer due to the cold spring. The fishing was successful I didn’t catch any large fish but had plenty of small carp and roach before returning for our evening meal.
Friday 30th August 2013
A similar day to yesterday (too similar), I decided to fish the larger pool a further walk from the camp site but still only a few hundred yards away. Jenny joined me again before lunch, bringing a “picnic” with her. This afternoon it was my turn to get a wasp sting, Jenny was talking to Rhiain and Kura via “Facetime” on her iPhone when I caught a fish, I rushed to land it to show Kura and didn’t notice a wasp in the landing net, it stung me on my middle finger, which immediately went red and become swollen. Still, I’m tough and carried on fishing, (other than the odd tear and scream of pain) until early evening, once again catching plenty of small fish but no large ones. Unusually this evening well before dark a hedgehog was underneath the motorhome and Jenny disturbed it when she went to the garage, he posed for a photograph before disappearing into the undergrowth.
Saturday 31st August 2013
Another planned walk today, this time towards Ranworth and the marshes, by-passing Burlingham Woodlands (other than a short section at the start) and walking for the most part along open fields and quiet lanes. We reached Malthouse Broad at Ranworth lunchtime, not finding a seat this time but a nice piece of grass overlooking the many moored boats alongside the “staithe” (meaning: a wharf or quay) to sit and have our picnic lunch.
The National Trust information office was at the rear of the moorings and I found out that there was a ferry to Ranworth Broad (adjacent to Malthouse) that was “off limits” to boat traffic leaving at 1:45 pm (it was 1:30 pm) and which was closer to the lane we wanted to use back to the camp site, so we decided to have a 10 minute “cruise” along the broad. Arriving at the floating visitor centre we had a look around the information boards on the Broads history and the shop before walking along the boardwalk back to “terra firma”. The “captain” of the ferry boat had mentioned delicious home-made cake at the Ranworth Church tea-shop, plus the magnificent view from the 100 foot tall church tower so of course we had to take a look. Tea and cake on the tea room patio first, the chocolate cake was far too nice to share with any of the local residents in the cemetery and they were past caring anyway! We thought next we would take a look at the climb up to the top of the tower, um, not sure, 89 steps, 2 ladders and a trap door, but of course if we could do the Sydney Harbour Bridge walk, then this was going to be a piece of cake, I started up, Jenny following, half way up I decided that the claustrophobic dark upward spiral was too much and wanted to go back down, however not wanting to be a wuss I continued on reaching the floor (a narrow platform) which housed the bells before climbing the pair of ladders to the top. The lad on the boat was correct the view through 360 degrees was fantastic and we stayed there for about 10 minutes before climbing back down, not so easy with the rucksack on my back as it wanted to “push me” on to the inside narrower (read almost non-existent) side of the stair rungs. Then we had a problem when we arrived back at ground level, Jenny had a pain in her knee/leg we thought from descending the steps using the same leg on each step, a twist, strain, or whatever we know not what, but she had difficulty walking. We weren’t sure whether to use a taxi to return to the campsite, but Jenny being Jenny decided that she could walk, I gave her my knee support and found a branch in the woods for her to use as a walking stick and we had a slow walk back to the camp site, using a slightly shorter route than the way we came. We are not sure how many miles we did today as I needed to switch the GPS off on the iPhone the battery was getting low, however I have estimated at almost 11 miles discounting our ferry ride, a very enjoyable long walk, discounting Jenny’s problem with her leg, which having rested it tonight is feeling very much better.
Sunday 1st September 2013
Reedam Ferry Complex, Reedham, Lat: 52.55799, Long: 01.54888 (7 Miles).
Another very short drive this morning but actually on a different part of the broads, this time near three rivers, The Chet, Waverley and the one that the campsite “sits on” the Yare. After “scrumping” some apples, filling with fresh water and emptying the toilet we judged our arrival at Reedham to perfection at a little after noon. Jenny soon organised our washing, the first camp site with a laundry since White House Beach near Lowerstoft, whilst I prepared our lunch, we then spent the rest of the afternoon, listening in part to a superb Johnny Walker “Sounds of the Seventies” show which included Mike Oldfield chatting about Tubular Bells and also “The Who’s” 1970 concert at the Isle of White festival.
Monday 2nd September 2013
Requiring bread, cheese and a birthday card we walked to Reedham village this morning 1¼ mile away, stopping at the small village post office at Reedham moorings first to purchase a stamp, we continued up Middle Hill to the “one and only” grocery store in the village to purchase the rest. Then returned to the post office to buy the birthday card, because we didn’t like those at the other shop, we also bought a newspaper which we had forgotten and ice-creams! We returned a slightly different way, the “correct” diversionary path was very wet and muddy, the “closed for construction” original path across the top of the dyke which other people were using was flat and dry although we had to climb through the fence at either end. This afternoon I left Jenny to relax at the camp site while I explored the footpath towards the village of Cantley and the three windmills (2 without sails) that were visible from the camp site. The first one only a few hundred yards from the campsite on the opposite bank of the river is in good condition however with the sails missing, the second a further mile on the near bank is just a ruin, although I had a look inside and there was still some of the “running gear”. The 3rd Windmill was again on the opposite bank and it was difficult to photograph, because the Cantley Sugar Refinery was in the background, however by walking even further along the riverbank I managed to get (hopefully) a decent photograph.
I went out again after our evening meal to photograph the sunset however I was too late to photograph it at its best.
Tuesday 3rd September 2013
A planned walk this morning to the windmills downstream of the campsite and we set off mid-morning on another glorious sunny day. We used the “Wherrysman’s Way” long distance path into Reedham to begin with and continued through the village past the old Reedham Swing Bridge which carries the railway line between Great Yarmouth and Norwich and is still operated from a 1904 signal box, towards the Reedham Marshes.
Very soon, but in the distance, the first two windmills came into view, one with sails and one without, with the meandering of the path on top of the dyke we kept having different perspectives of them, each in turn seeming much further than the other and both at times seem to be further away despite us walking towards them. Eventually after a walk of 4.07 miles we reached them (actually they were within a hundred yards of one another), initially I was disappointed, there was a notice which read “Private Footpath No Entry” however we found a proper path to the first windmill, plus an information board on the Reedham Marsh Steam Engine House which occupies the same site, which without going into a lot of detail we found very interesting. We then turned our attention to the windmill information board and windmill which is called Polkey's Mill, which was renovated by “The Norfolk Windmills Trust in 2006” and we took a few photographs before finding a seat on the side of the river to have our lunch.
We discussed then whether to walk to Berney Arms Windmill, however it was a further 4 mile and rather too far for today, although we could have returned to Reedham by train from the small station at Berney Arms but would have had to judge our walk precisely, they only run 3 trains a day. Before leaving for the walk back to Reedham we had a quick look at the other windmill (Cadge’s) which was used until 1941 when it was replaced by diesel pumps, it fell into dis-repair until renovated by Norfolk County Council and although having no sails contains the switchgear for the electric drainage pumps used today.
We strolled back along the River Yare stopping near the moorings in Reedham village for a cup of tea at “Cupcakes” tea-shop before walking back along the top of the dyke to the campsite having once again walked over 8 miles.
Wednesday 4th September 2013
A shorter walk late morning up the River Yare towards the sugar factory this time Jenny accompanied me. Firstly we had a look at the “complex” fishing pool which is at the bottom of the main camping field, I wasn’t going to be fishing there, but the fishery did look nice and the one fisherman we spoke to had caught four large carp. Continuing on along the top of the dyke we reached the first windmill (the one which is a complete ruin) and sat on the wooden barrier for a short time before carrying on the rest of the way to look at the second windmill which is situated on the other bank and which we now know is called Hardley Mill from talking to a worker at the sugar factory who was “practicing” his photography along the riverside, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that it was his lunchtime!
We returned to the camp site for a late lunch before I was off again to the fishing pool, this morning there had been a lot of the large “Hawker” dragonflies there, this afternoon there were hardly any, I was still away longer than I intended, I was chatting to one of the fishermen that was camping near us for a long time. Jenny did see me for our evening meal, and then I went along the river to photograph the sunset, which wasn’t any good, the sun dipping behind some heavier cloud before finally setting.
Thursday 5th September 2013
The White Horse (Britstop), Upton, Lat: 52.65914, Long: 01.54214 (28 Miles).
A drive back to the Tesco Supermarket at Great Yarmouth this morning which put about 20 mile on our journey, but other than smaller stores in villages would probably be the only place for a major shop for a couple of weeks. We drove back along the A47 to Acle and easily found The White Horse in the small village of Upton and parked as instructed on the phone at the back of the car park near the beer garden, a perfect spot; it was flat, hardstanding and quiet. Jenny put the food away that needed to be chilled and we then sat in the beer garden drinking Aspall’s what has become our favorite cider. It was too hot to sit without shade so we decided to take our lunch down to the marina at Upton, which showed on the Ordnance Survey map as having a picnic area and we found the perfect picnic table next to the staithe in the shade of the trees. After lunch Jenny sat and read and I walked down the “arm” from the marina to the River Bure to take a photograph of Clippersby Windmill which was shown on the map. Unfortunately it was another without sails, hardly photogenic, I don’t know why Ordnance Survey don’t show Windmill information on their maps with or without sails they show lighthouses used or not used. I returned to the picnic area and sat with Jenny for a while before we walked back to the White Horse, purchasing a marrow for 25p and putting the money in a honesty jar at a garden veg’ stall on the way. Evening meal at the pub to-night and very good it was too, we both had the Cod, chips and peas followed by delicious sweets in the conservatory at the rear of the pub, just as well, we heard the alarm on the motorhome, we had left too many windows open (we could see the motorhome from where we sat) and the motion sensor had tripped, I had to go and switch it off, luckily it happened before our meals had been served.
Friday 6th September 2013
Home Farm Certificated Location, Thorne, Lat: 52.68797, Long: 1.55666 (8 Miles).
Another very short drive this morning and just looking back we have only travelled approximately 112 miles in the last month since arriving in East Anglia. Arriving at Home Farm we were lucky enough to be told by the owner we would not have to be on a “temporary” pitch but would be able to pitch in the camping field, something we were not sure about as they were actually full for this weekend, but he turned the “5van” camp site into a “6van”, (just don’t tell the Caravan club)! After getting ourselves organised, which didn’t take long and before the “suggested” rain started we had a short walk down to Thurne staithe and the River Thurne and found that both windmills had sails, the one closest and on our side of the river being renovated in 2006. We passed on the way back “Red House Farm CL. Our first choice for our stay in Thurne, but fully booked for this weekend, we were more lucky than we thought with our second choice (we chose Red House Farm first because it was adults only), it was very cramped compared to the lovely open, flat and roomy field we are in. We were back in time for the 2nd practice of the Italian F1 Grand Prix from Monza and watched that before relaxing for the rest of what had become a wet afternoon.
Saturday 7th September 2013
A lot of heavy rain during the night, but once again we have woken up (late) this morning to a pleasant day. Before watching the Grand Prix qualifying at 12:10 pm we decided on a short walk to the Thurne Drainage Mill situated at the end of Thurne staithe less than 500 yards from the camp site, it was perfect for photography, the light was on the front of it, there were atmospheric clouds in the background . . . and there was a Cormorant sitting on the highest sail.
We also walked a short distance down river to a pontoon where I judged I would get a photograph, weather permitting of to-nights sunset with the windmill (I haven’t found out its name yet) in the right foreground, hopefully as a silhouette.
Returning to the motorhome, we watched “qually” and had lunch before going on another walk this afternoon, this time downstream past the confluence where the River Thurne becomes the River Bure to a windmill called Wiseman’s Oby. I got some idea in my head that there was a tea-room there, we arrived and there wasn’t just the windmill (without sails) and a building in need of repair, good job we took a drink with us, still we enjoyed the walk (4.35 miles) along the dyke and we returned along part of the “Weavers Way the long distance footpath which runs for 61 miles between Cromer and Great Yarmouth. The photographing of the sunset to-night was a miserable failure, the position I attempted to photograph from is 3 foot below sea-level and the bank on the other side of the river was high, plus somebody built the windmill in the wrong place, might try a sunrise in the morning if I can get up at 6:00am!!!
Sunday 8th September 2013.
Well I did get up at 6:05 to see if it was worth attempting a sunrise photograph at the mill, it was too cloudy, I went back to bed! We relaxed all day, we were going for a walk after the Grand Prix finished at 4:15 pm but it started to rain and rain heavy. This evening I did walk down to the River Thurne to see if it was worth taking a sunset photograph but it wasn’t going to be any good, so I concentrated on some “reflection” photo’s as there was no wind and the water both in the main river and staithe was nice and flat.
Monday 9th September 2013
Norfolk Broads Caravan Club Site, Ludham, Lat: 52.70071, Long 1.51604 (8 Miles).
Not wanting to arrive too early at Ludham we went for a walk this morning along Thurne Staithe, luckily the rain that was forecast stayed away and in fact it was a nice sunny morning and ideal for a short walk. We arrived at the camp site at 12:30 pm, we are only stopping here one night as the site is full this week, and we were hoping that they may have had cancellations but unfortunately they hadn’t. Whilst Jenny organised the washing I organised a camp site for the next few days finding a “5van” site near Hickling Broad for the next four days, we are now returning here for 6 days next week so we just need to find another for the weekend hopefully near the coast. After spending time this afternoon and evening editing the web site and uploading photographs and in between having a walk to Ludham Bridge and our first glimpse of the River Ant, we then relaxed for the rest of the evening.
Tuesday 10th September 2013
Meadow Farm Certificated Location, Hickling Lat: 52.74504, Long 1.55345 (8 Miles).
We left Ludham just before noon, having emptied the grey and black water and replenished the fresh at the usual easy to use motorhome service point on a caravan club site (Camping and Caravan club Sites seem more difficult). Only a short distance before we arrived at Meadow Farm another large 1 acre plus site surrounded by trees, we are sure to be comfortable here for four days. It was a very wet day so we sat in the motorhome relaxing for the afternoon, hopefully tomorrow will be a better day and we can go for a walk.
Wednesday 11th September 2013
With the wind easing and the rain having stopped we took the opportunity this morning to walk to Hickling and towards Hickling Broad and once again followed part of the Weavers Way long distance path, which we have been on previous days. We left the lane through the village with its very “expensive” large thatched houses and cottages and joined the bridle way along the broad, photographing some very interesting thatched boat houses on the way.
At the end of the bridle way we entered a wood and walked along the edge of fields before reaching the National Trust Wild Life Reserve at the broad. We didn’t realise in fact that the reserve existed and we hadn’t taken our binoculars or the other camera lenses with us so we decided that we would come back again either Friday or Saturday and perhaps even take in the boat trip that is available, although the weather forecast is not brilliant for either day. We walked back along the lane, diverting slightly to walk through the village to see if there was a store where we could purchase some bread, there wasn’t so Jenny will bake a fresh loaf tomorrow. On the way back we passed Hickling Mill a mill without sails but unusually had several windows (rather than a couple), in fact looking on the internet the mill is a grain mill not a drainage mill and has eight floors.
Thursday 12th September 2013
A quiet morning, Jenny reading (and baking the bread), I at last managed to get my photographs completely up to date. We left for a walk after lunch, with no particular destination in mind except walking in an anti-clockwise direction towards Hickling Broad. For the first part we were walking along the lane from the campsite before turning down a much narrower lane to the Weavers Way path on top of a dyke with a “canal” one side a stream the other and the broad itself out of site across the high rushes. We continued along the dyke until we found ourselves at a bird hide overlooking “Rush Hill”, we don’t know why the small “pool” an overshoot of the main broad was so named but there were plenty of rushes but no hill and the only bird we saw from the hide was a Mute Swan. After a short time at the hide without seeing anything interesting and very little site of the main part of Hickling Broad we strolled back to the camp site having walked 6.30 miles.
Friday 13th September 2013
A walk to a windmill this morning which we could see some distance away from Hickling village, on the Ordnance Survey Map it appeared to be called Sutton Mill and to have a windmill museum next to it. Having limited (hardly any) internet signal where we are staying we couldn’t get any more information from a web site. No “off road” to get to the windmill just 2.25 miles of quiet lanes through the village towards Stalham. We arrived to be met with a the sign “Private Road, No Access To Windmill” so we continued a bit further to what was obviously at one time the entrance drive to the museum, the double gates were locked so I checked the map further and spotted that the “Weavers Way” path, although not sign-posted ran along the side of the windmill, although it looked like it was just a drive to two houses. We took that path and arrived at the back of the windmill and we saw that one of the buildings obviously part of the mill had got “museum” painted on it, we don’t know when it closed, but by the look of the state of dis-repair it was certainly some time ago, still we did get close to the windmill (a flour mill not a drainage mill) and were able to get some photographs.
We returned to Hickling village a slightly different way and had our lunch sitting on a seat on “The Green” before walking back to the campsite on the way purchasing Bramley’s and a Swede at one garden vegetable stall, free, yes free, “take as many as you want” eating apples at another and a bunch of carrots and beetroot from another and we did put our money in the honesty boxes! I arrived back at the motorhome staggering under the weight of apples in my rucksack and must have looked a right ninny walking along the road with bunches of vegetables in each hand, now all we need to do is to pick some blackberries.
Note: Managed to find some information on the Sutton Mill, It was built in1789, and then rebuilt after a fire in 1861, in 1992 it was recorded as being the tallest remaining windmill in the UK. In 2005 the mill, pharmaceutical and veterinary museum was sold as a going concern, but in 2008 it closed for business and the museum contents sold by auction in 2012, the future of it is unsure.
Saturday 14th September 2013
Waxham Sands Holiday Park, Horsey, Lat: 52.7629, Long 1.64125, (11 miles).
Well surprisingly after a night of heavy rain, this morning we woke up to only slight drizzle and the occasional sight of the sun peeping through. Annoying in a way, much wetter weather was forecast so we decided to postpone the boat trip from the National Trust Wild Life Reserve at Stubb Mill on Hickling Broad and hopefully do it when we return that way on Tuesday, we could have done it today after all. A few items required from Tesco so we went to the small town of Stalham first, the car park was not one of the largest so I stayed in the motorhome whilst Jenny did the shopping. We only went about 4 miles out of our way, but it also meant we used “narrow” lanes instead of “very narrow” lanes to reach the campsite. We rarely use commercial camp sites but this one has the advantage of having direct access to the beach over the sand dunes and Horsey Mere (and mill) are only about a 1.5 miles walk away. After lunch we did have a short walk to the beach, nearly got blown away when we walked out of the lee of the dunes, however we can see the attraction of the camp site to families, the sand was clean, the dunes attractive and we guess it would be safe for children paddling. Fish and Chip van at the camp site so no guessing what we had tonight and they weren’t too bad either, we’ll save our pizzas for tomorrow. I walked back to the beach tonight to see if I could get a decent photograph of the sea with today’s high wind pounding onto the groynes, I should have checked the tide table on Jenny’s phone the tide had gone out and the surf was barely reaching them, still I did watch the sun go down while I stood on the dunes. Might get up early in the morning to see if I can get a decent photo’ of the sunrise, according to my Photographers Ephemeris the sun rises directly in front of us at 6:27 am and the weather forecast is for it to be fine . . . we shall see!
Sunday 15th September 2013
Well I did get up at 6:00 am, looked out of the bedroom window and decided to walk over the dunes to the beach and thank goodness, the cold wind had dropped from last night and it wasn’t so cold. The sunrise wasn’t too spectacular as there wasn’t enough cloud in the sky; however I did manage to photograph the morning sun on the sea and groynes and will see how they turn out. Mid-morning we started our walk to Horsey Mill a five storey wind pump overlooking Horsey Mere, and leaving the camp site we walked along the road for a short time before reaching Horsey Corner and the public footpath towards Brayden Marshes. We were very lucky when we were walking along and I looked down a long drainage to see two Common Cranes feeding, this area is the only place in the UK (a re-introduction is planned for the Somerset Levels) where a small population breed and while looking at them through our binoculars we also saw another two flying across the marsh. Continuing our walk, we passed and photographed a very picturesque ruined windmill before eventually reached Horsey Mill and thought we would have a drink in the tea-room, wrong, the “tea-room” was a round table and four chairs in the centre of the small National Trust information centre, and needless to say we couldn’t get a seat so we didn’t bother and after taking a picture of the windmill we decided to take the path down to the beach to see the seals, stopping to pick some blackberries for a crumble on the way.
It was a longer walk to see the seals (Common Seals) than we thought as they were further along the beach away from the direction of the camp site, however there were plenty basking on the sand and we watched them for some time before to-days expected rain arrived and we walked back to Waxham Sands along the shore having walked double the anticipated 3.5 miles.
Note: Having problems logging on to the laptop, having to type from notes (see further below)
Monday 16th September 2013
Whoops! Jenny thought I had set the alarm for 6:00 am this morning, I thought Jenny had . . . I missed the sunrise. I decided mid-morning to see if the cranes were still feeding near the dyke, visit the ruined windmill again and take a few more photographs of the seals with a zoom lens, leaving Jenny to relax in the motorhome. Unfortunately the cranes were nowhere to be seen, however the background sky was much better for photographing the windmill than yesterday and we have since found some more information on it. It is called Brograve Mill built in 1771 and it ceased working in c.1930, I, as you can possibly see on the photograph, it is leaning to the west, it is a Grade 11 listed building, despite being derelict it has certainly got a bit more character to it than the “re-built” Horsey Mill we saw yesterday.
Leaving the mill, I had a long walk back towards the beach and the place where we saw the seals yesterday, they were in exactly the same place I was hoping they had moved nearer, but at least they co-operated with having their photographs taken.
With some ominous large black clouds coming in my direction I started to walk back along the beach towards the camp site, at one stage it was a case of head down and follow the tide line when an extremely strong wind blew up, but luckily the heavy rain didn’t materialise until after I arrived back at the motorhome to a very welcome cup of tea and a late lunch.
Tuesday 17th September 2013
Norfolk Broads Caravan Club Site, Ludham, Lat: 52.69973, Long 1.51403, (8 Miles).
Well the laptop still isn’t working but the alarm did this morning so at 6:15 am I was once again standing on the beach waiting for the sunrise, I wasn’t disappointed especially as 3 seals were playing in the surf in front of me.
With the weather forecast for this morning at least to be dry and with plenty of time, plus it being on our way to Ludham we drove to the Wildlife Trust Reserve at Hickling Broad to hopefully take the 2 hour boat trip. We were able to book 2 spaces as soon as they opened at 10:00 am and had a casual walk through woods and along a boardwalk with marshes either side to the boat Jetty for our “cruise” at 10:30 am. There were 9 of us on the trip in the electric (lovely and quiet) powered boat and after Dave our guide for 2 hours cast off we crossed the very choppy Hickling Broad to our first stop for a climb up a 60 foot tree tower. With the platform above the tree line we had a superb view over the surrounding countryside, it was a pity 3 members of our party couldn’t make the climb up the 75 steps because of their health. After sailing through narrow reed beds each of the next two stops were at bird hides and once again we were lucky, seeing Peregrine Falcon hunting over the shallow water where ducks were feeding and another first for us, spotting 2 Chinese Water Deer.
Dave the guide was very informative and enthusiastic, so much so we were 35 minutes late getting back to the jetty, where we took a different path back to the car park, We had an enjoyable time and saw parts of the Broads we would not have normally seen, plus we seen some different wild life, certainly a trip we would do again. We arrived at the camp site at about 2:15 pm; the timing was perfect it started to rain after we were comfortably pitched for our 6 night stay here. Spent the rest of the afternoon attempting to “repair” the log in error on the lap top, with the help of the internet on Jen’s iPhone we found the instructions to do it, unfortunately I have lost some recent photographs I thought I had “backed up” and I have others to reconnect, but at least we are almost back to “normal” although I have still to catch up with our daily events on the web site.
Wednesday 18th September 2013
With the promise of a warm and dry day we decided today to walk to How Hill a windmill near the River Ant about 2.5 miles from the camp site. We followed the footpath from Ludham Bridge along the top of the dyke with the River Ant to our left and the newly created Bottle Marsh to our right, reaching How Hill Staithe with Turf Fen windmill on the opposite river bank where we stayed for a while sitting on a bench.
Too early for lunch we walked further to reach 2 more windmills marked on the Ordnance Survey Map, finding an information board near the boathouse we noticed it said both windmills were skeleton??? We hadn’t got a clue what that meant until we arrived at the first one, they are built on trestles and are nothing like the traditional windmills and it looked fantastic, I almost fell in the water trying to get into a position to photographic it as the sun was completely in the wrong place, Jenny was extremely patient while I waited for some cloud cover, evidently the Boardman's Wind Pump stopped working in 1938 when it was blown over in a gale.
The second one another 200 yards along the river was as good, called Clayrack drainage mill it can sometimes be seen operating and is one of only 2 of that particular type in the Norfolk Broads and the only one with a scoop wheel.
Returning the short distance to How Hill Staithe we visited “Toad Hole Cottage” a tiny Marshmans and Eel catchers house and home for the whole family in Victorian times and which contained lots of artifacts that were used years ago.
Another “wild” first while we were there, in the small garden was a Buddleia bush with a myriad of different butterflies on it including the very rare Swallowtail which is only found in the Norfolk Broads, just a pity it flew away before I could get a photograph of it. After the visit to the cottage we walked to the river and sat on a bench for our picnic lunch, amused by one couples attempt to moor their boat (bet they are still there now).
We then continued through a wood to How Hill wind pump, probably the most disappointing one we have seen, it had been painted black, had no sails, and was now used as holiday accommodation, I didn’t even bother with photographing it. We returned to the camp site along the same path, another great walk, very interesting and we covered 6.2 miles.
Thursday 19th September 2013
Norwich on the bus today, catching the 10:15 am No12 to Wroxham and then the No14 to Norwich, I thought the timing was tight with only a minute between arrival at Wroxham and then departure to Norwich and then we found out it was the same bus, they just change the number, why do they do that? There were specific items that we wanted from different shops, the first being Argus for a new watch for Jenny, (you may remember she lost the previous one in July), she now has saved enough of her pocket money for a new one. We found exactly the type she wanted, one she could read, without having to use her reading glasses, i.e. hands and figures as big as Big Ben’s. Then almost next door to Specsavers for Jenny to have one pair of her spectaculars adjusted, we went back later in the afternoon for some hearing aid filters as the Audio assistant was not there until later (when we did go back, they gave me a pack free of charge, they charge £5 in Lichfield. The Chapelfield Shopping Centre was next and after several purchases at Boots we browsed the shops until lunchtime, where we found a typical open plan food hall with the usual food counters around the perimeter. Spudulike was our choice, with baked potatoes with a filling of Coleslaw for me and cheese and chives for Jenny, very nice they were to. We failed on our next requirement, nobody seems to be stocking the A4 photo paper we want, satin or Semi-Gloss of a certain weight, looks like we might need to order it off the internet. We went into several jewelers to see if they had a Seiko watch strap as mine has broken, again no luck as it is made of titanium and a special order, we settled instead for a leather one in the interim fitted at a market stall and I will get the strap replaced/repaired when we are back in the Midlands. We walked down to an arcade and found the Colman’s Mustard Museum and Shop and we had a good browse before buying mustard (there’s a surprise) and some whole grain original which Jenny has been trying to obtain for some time. We then decided to walk back to the bus station and see what time the next No14 left, as we were looking at the timetable one arrived, we were back at the camp site within an hour. This evening we walked to Ludham Bridge to photograph the sunset, we chose the wrong spot, farm machinery in the field spoiled the view, we did manage to see a Barn Owl flying from fence post to fence post in a field searching for its evening meal.
Friday 20th September 2013
A relaxed morning all though we did spend some time re-organising a few things on the computer after the “blip”. Looking on the map there are the remains of St Benets Abbey about 2 miles away near the River Bure, we thought we would go and take a look. It was an easy route, out of the camp site, along the main road to a quiet lane before taking a farm track towards the river, we were confused though when we got closer to the river, we could see the remains of a windmill and there was not one shown on the ordnance survey map, however we then realised the windmill had the remains of the abbey around it! When we eventually reached it, we were a bit disappointed as it was surrounded by a tall fence, evidently they are doing some refurbishment work to conserve the standing remains of both the abbey (and mill) and the surrounding area and provide better access. We were still able to get into the inside of the mill and be amazed how they had “knitted” the mill into the abbey (this part being the original gatehouse) and were able to still see what appeared to be a knight and lion sculptured into the rock. It was impossible to get a clear photograph of the ruin, but hopefully I did find a place to minimise the fencing, we will put it on to our long list of places to re-visit in the future when the work has been completed.
We walked back to the campsite the same way passing in the narrow lane “Ken’s Shed” a salad and vegetable . . . well it was just that, a 6foot x 4foot wooden shed full of garden produce all clearly priced and an honesty tin to put the money in, we bought eggs and strawberries and spent £3.20. But the amazing thing was, there was at least £40 in silver in the tin! We shall visit again before we leave Ludham and buy what we need before we go to Tesco, we had some of the eggs with our evening meal, they were delicious, likewise the strawberries. I walked to Ludham Bridge Staithe this evening again to photograph the sunset, but the sun disappeared into cloud before it went down, saw the Barn Owl hunting again though.
Saturday 21st September 2013
A short bus ride this morning to Wroxham to purchase some groceries and have a look around the small town. A town dominated by two things, hire boats and Roy, now this is the Norfolk Broads so one can understand seeing plenty of boats but Roy’s? All these are separate properties in the town centre, Roy’s Supermarket, General Store, Florist, DIY, Toys, Children’s Store, Garden Centre, Roy’s Zone, Pharmacy and Garage, even the car park was Roy’s and the sign at the bus stop, Wroxham, yes you’ve guessed it Roy’s, Roy Cropper has certainly done well since opening the café in Coronation street! After a short walk along the marina we bought the groceries we needed and found a nice coffee shop for coffee and cake before catching the bus back to Ludham Bridge. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing before we watched the F1 qualifying from Singapore.
Monday 23rd September 2013
Woodhill Park, Cromer, Lat: 52.93821, Long: 1.26306 (32 Miles).
We got organised this morning ready for our departure then walked down to “Ken’s Shed” to buy vegetables, filling both rucksacks with potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, plums and a massive marrow, unfortunately there were no eggs available. After losing some recent photographs with the laptop “blip” we decided to re-visit 3 of the locations, as at most we were only going 3 miles out of our way, along lanes instead of using the main A149 to Stalham. The first stop was at Hickling to photograph the thatched boat houses and then in the same village to photograph Hickling Mill, we thought it would be difficult to park but we had forgotten almost opposite were a row of houses with parking, we had an excuse for parking there, while I photographed the mill from over the hedge, Jenny bought eggs and strawberries from one garden stall and a cabbage and butternut squash from another, if she carried on we wouldn’t have to visit Tesco. The Sutton mill was our last stop and we parked at the entrance gate to the now closed museum (see 13th September) and I walked up the drive to the mill ruin. Alas, Jenny couldn’t find the other groceries we needed along the way (no dairy farm or bakery) so we stopped at the Tesco Supermarket in Stalham to top up with our needs, luckily this time it was much quieter in the car park and managed to find an easy place to park. We arrived at Woodhill Park just 2 mile from Cromer mid-afternoon a commercial campsite recommended by Lesley a Facebook friend of ours who we shared information with on our visit to Australia as they were there at the same time in a motorhome they bought, our paths never met in Aus’ however we did finally meet at the Motorhome show at the NEC a couple of years ago. We spent the rest of the day relaxing, I did walk to the cliff edge as the sun went down but it wasn’t worth taking a photo and I don’t think the weather will be conducive to sunset or sunrise photographs in the next few days
Tuesday 24th September 2014
A lazy day.
Wednesday 25th September 2013
Yesterday we were going to visit Sheringham, however we decided instead to have a quiet day and visit both Sheringham and Cromer today as we are only approximately 4 miles in opposite directions from both of them. We left at 11:00 am leaving the campsite to walk across the wildflower meadow and followed the coastal path along the cliff edge in the direction of Sheringham; we didn’t know the exact distance but estimated about 3 miles. We were pleasantly surprised how blue the North sea was below us, for some reason I especially thought it would be rather brown(ish) similar to the coast line along the east coast but we have now turned North somewhat. This is the first time for some time that we have walked “uphill and down dale” and not on the flat, in fact, facts show on “Maps3D” the GPS mapping app on Jenny’s iPhone, (what a fantastic piece of kit, the app not Jenny . . . . but then) that we “climbed” 157 feet, wow! Reaching Sheringham we continued walking along the promenade stopping to take a photograph of the row of multi-coloured beach huts and reached the Life Boat station where we turned and retraced our steps towards the town centre. It was almost lunchtime so we started to look for something to eat, the only thing was we didn’t actually know what we wanted, baked potatoes. fish & chips, burger, sandwich, we hadn’t a clue, until we arrived at the market place near the North Norfolk Railway also known as “The Poppy Line” (a preservation railway that runs between Sheringham and Holt) and noticed a Roast Pork bap stall, lunch sorted, and we sat on a seat near the vintage railway station enjoying it. Coincidently the bus stop for Cromer was right outside the station and there was an X44 bus waiting especially for us and within 20 minutes we were in “The Gem of Norfolk” Cromer. As in Sheringham we walked along the sea front first as far as the pier before walking around the town, first impressions was that Sheringham was far better. We both decided that afternoon tea would be nice so we started to look for a tea room and soon found the ideal one “The Blue Willow” where we had a cream tea, the scones (2) were enormous and there was plenty of jam and cream to lavish on them, we will not be having the intended stuffed marrow for our evening meal tonight. After a further browse around the shops and information centre we found the bus stop for our return to the camp site and alighted right outside the entrance, after another great day in Norfolk.
Thursday 26th September 2013
A warm sunny morning and a pleasant breeze Jenny thought it an ideal day to get our washing up to date, at least she didn’t need to use the dryer in the laundry. After lunch we thought it a good idea to have a walk along the beach and like yesterday walked towards the town of Sheringham, but when we reached West Runton, the first place where it is possible to access the beach from the cliff top we walked down to the tide line and walked towards East Runton, passing the camp site on the cliffs above. It didn’t take long to stroll along the sand and shingle to the lane which gave access to the small village and continued along the road back to the camp site, finding an entrance gate at the bottom which saved us the need to walk further to the main entrance.
Friday 27th September 2013
A change of plans today (yes again), we have decided to stay here an extra 3 days instead of going to another campsite near Wells-next-the- sea. The reason is we have found out (from a couple in the bus queue at Cromer), that a bus “The Coast Hopper” runs all the way along the Heritage Coast and we are going to use it to see some of the places we were going to visit in the motorhome. Today however didn’t get off to a good start, a “normal” bus came along, closely followed by the Coast Hopper (CH3), we didn’t get on the empty regular bus, but our bus went straight past without stopping with the driver waving is arm, it was full, it had obviously stopped at Cromer first and had filled up with passengers who were just going as far as Sheringham, we went back to the motorhome and had a cup of coffee and caught the next one successfully 30 minutes later. Our destination was Norfolk’s Wildlife Trust’s reserve at Cley Marshes an area of marsh, reed bed, shingle beach and saline lagoons and we got off the bus at the visitor centre. After checking with the lady at the information desk where to go, we decided on the 3 (approx.) mile walk around the perimeter of the reserve, on this visit choosing not to visit the various bird hides. We walked in an anti-clockwise direction on the dyke path between the Cley and Salthouse Marshes and within a very short space of time saw an Avocet the first occasion we have seen one in this country, we also saw plenty of other wading birds but unfortunately we can’t at present recognise them.
Reaching the beach we continued along the shingle path towards the car park and then along the raised path alongside the lane towards the visitor centre, however we spotted a windmill in the distance and decided to take a look. In good condition and actually converted to a holiday let, Cley Mill was in the centre of the village and it was relatively easy to find a location for a decent photograph from the car park of a restaurant and it was not necessary to walk back to the visitor centre to catch the return bus we were able to catch it from outside the Cley delicatessen at the other end of the village for the 30 minute journey back to the camp site.
After our evening meal I went to photograph the sunset, not one of the best, but worth walking to the edge of the cliffs for and unlike at Ludham Bridge I was patient enough to wait for the sun to go down and the “afterglow” to show.
Saturday 28th September 2013
Up just after 6:00 am this morning to see if it was worth photographing the sunrise, it looked promising as parts of the sky had a wonderful red glow on them and I made the effort to get dressed and walk to the cliff top, hopefully (I haven’t downloaded the photographs yet), some of them could be quite good, if the weather is promising tomorrow morning I may make the even more effort to walk to West Runton to get down on the waterline.
We didn’t get caught out by the bus this morning, we caught the first regular bus that came along which happened to be a X44 Norwich express got off in Sheringham, walked to the Sainsbury’s Express for some bread rolls and the walked back to the bus station to catch the Coast Hopper to Cley-next-the-sea. We got off the bus at the delicatessen (where we got on yesterday afternoon) and followed the public footpath towards Blakeney photographing the windmill again from a different angle and direction. We strolled along the top of the dyke of the Blakeney Fresh Marshes stopping on the way for “elevenses” before continuing to Blakeney village taking a couple of photographs of interesting old boats on the way along the tidal channel, although the tide had gone out on these boats many years ago, they were so high and dry.
Arriving at the village we had a short rest watching the young ones “crabbing” on the quay side, I then thought it would be a good idea to find the windmill marked on the map, It wasn’t, It was uphill out of the village (and we aren’t used to walking up hills in Norfolk) and we never found the mill.
We walked back and had our lunch at Blakeney sitting on a seat overlooking the Wildfowl Associations “duck pond” with different types of exotic ducks there we couldn’t possible identify although a Black Swan was easily recognisable. Morston was our last destination a small village 1¼ miles from Blakeney Quay reached by another public footpath across a dyke with a fantastic view over the Morston Salt Marshes and the Old Blue Lifeboat house, now an information centre. After a cup of coffee from the kiosk on Morston Quay we walked the short distance up the lane to “the green” where we caught the Coast Hopper back to the camp site. I did walk to the cliffs tonight towards sunset but it was obvious it was not going to be as good as last nights, although I did wait sheltering in the lee of a small hummock from the strong wind which has sprung up until it was almost dark.
Sunday 29th September 2013
Set the alarm again for 6:00 am and looked out of the window, there was little cloud to make a decent sunrise and the wind was still blowing hard . . . I went back to sleep. We decided not to do any walking today, we were going to attempt a walk to the Old Lifeboat station at Blakeney Point along the shingle spit but the wind is gusting about 24 mph and we would have had it into our faces on our way back for at least 3 miles, it would have been quite difficult walking on the shingle in a calm. I walked to the beach access at West Runton this afternoon judging the time so I arrived at 3:33 pm which was high tide, I was hoping to get some decent photographs of the waves crashing the groynes but it wasn’t as spectacular as I thought, I needed this high wind to be a Northerly instead of an Easterly.
I did go out after our evening meal to-night; however I could see that the sunset again this evening would not be anything special so I didn’t even walk out of the campsite. Haven’t mentioned what Jenny’s being doing today, she’s been busy baking, cleaning, knitting and reading and also making sure I behave!
Monday 30th September 2013
Grove Farm Certificated Location, Warham, Lat: 52.93594, Long: 0.88193, (20 Miles).
We hadn’t arranged a camp site for tonight until today as we wanted to leave our options for the next few days or so open so we left it until this morning to organise a place to stay, we chose Grove Farm and they had plenty of room for us for the coming few days. We left at 10:22 am (22 minutes after the “official time) and drove straight to the National Nature Reserve at Blakeney, although I did stop at the side of the road to photograph a steam engine that I had seen leaving the Sheringham Station as we drove past.
We arrived at the car park at Cley-on-Sea expecting to be charged the whole day parking fee of £6.00 for a motorhome, the attendant charged us the “car” fee of £3.80, we didn’t argue. After a cup of tea and home-made shortbread biscuits, we left the car park for the old Lifeboat house our destination about 4 miles away along the shingle spit with the wind at our backs. The tide was coming in however there was still plenty of room along the beach to walk along the firm sand at the edge of the surf, occasionally climbing up the shingle bank to sight our destination as we didn’t want to “overshoot it on a “leg” of the spit, before the point. When we reached some sand dunes we decided to cross them, stopping to take our coats off as we were now sheltered completely from the wind and were getting too warm and within 10 minutes we had reached the Lifeboat house. This iconic building built in 1898, is now far away from the water and when Blakeney harbour silted up it became too arduous to haul the lifeboats to the sea and it was closed as early as 1912, it is now used as accommodation for the National Trust coastal rangers.
We looked at the informative panels inside the building which gave a history of the people, flora and fauna of the spit and surrounding area before sitting outside in the warm sunshine for a while. Leaving the spit we decided to follow the “advised” way back along the boardwalk instead of through the dunes, big mistake, we calculated when we arrived back at the motorhome it put an extra ¾ mile on our walk. It was a long way round from the original place we left the beach (noted by the sad sight of a dead seal) and very soon the walk got difficult, as well as the wind now being in our faces, although we were still plenty warm enough not to need our coats, the tide was covering the firm sand and we had to walk along the shingle. It seemed a long time before “The Watch House” (a Customs and Excise lookout for Smugglers, purchased by the National Trust in 1932) and the solitary building on the spit came into view and we were still over 2 miles from the motorhome a speck on the horizon. When we got to the watch house we took to a “track” obviously used by the rangers on their quad bike, following the firmer ground made by tyre tracks did make in a bit easier for the final stretch, but we were both weary by the time we arrived back at the car park, it certainly didn’t take us long to get our boots off and a “brew on”. After a very late lunch, Jenny’s home-made Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomato bread, a chunk of cheese and an apple, we left Cley Beach and drove the short distance to the camp site and a well-earned relaxed evening.
Tuesday 1st October 2013
After such a long walk yesterday we wanted to just relax today, although we did have a short walk along the lane to “orientate” ourselves. We found that the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway, Warham Halt was just 100 yards from the end of the entrance to the camp site and coincidently we had timed our walk when a train was due, except it didn’t arrive! I rang the station at Wells when we got back to check whether the trains actually stopped at the tiny station, unfortunately I was told that due to “engineering works” there were no trains for two weeks, pity it would have been good to use it to travel to Wells-next-the-Sea. Instead we looked at the bus times “The No 2” Coast Hopper stops at the T junction about ¼ of a mile up the road, we will use that instead (and free) for our trips out.
Wednesday 2nd October 2013
We had a Tawny Owl “hooting” very close to us for the second night in succession, a sound that we both enjoy lying in bed listening to and the first time we have heard one for some time. We didn’t want to go on a long walk today, so we decided to spend some time just looking around Well-next-the-Sea catching the bus at 11:00 am from the “Warham Turn” and within about 10 minute we were getting off the bus at the top of the town. We walked down what appeared to be the main shopping street the pedestrianised “Staithe Street and we loved it, a proper butchers, wet fish shop, bakery and vegetable shop as well as a deli’ and several café’s and tea rooms. And at the bottom was the staithe, the moorings for all the fishing boats and we strolled along there before walking further along the path alongside the estuary towards the sea.
Unfortunately it started to rain (which wasn’t forecast) so we returned towards the town, however as soon as we got back towards the fishing port (the only viable commercial one on the Norfolk coast) the rain had stopped and the sun was out so we found a seat in the gardens overlooking the salt marshes and just “chilled” there for about an hour. It was lunchtime and we had decided on Fish & Chips from “The Plattens”, we went in and Jenny found a table whilst I went to “the little boys room”, however when I came back, Jenny told me the meal was served on paper plates, with plastic knives and forks, it wasn’t what we wanted. We walked out and looked for somewhere else but were not successful so we returned to the Plattens and bought a take-away instead, returning to the seat overlooking the salt marshes to eat them. After a further walk around the town we needed a drink and chose “The Mad Hatter” for afternoon tea and cake before returning to the bus stop at the top of the town to catch the bus back to the campsite. We told the bus driver we wanted to get off at the Wareham turn and he asked whether we were stopping at the camp site, when we told him yes, he said he would drop us off there instead, great service from the Coast hopper bus drivers and he stopped at the site entrance. Dressed Crab from the fish shop and fresh crusty rolls from the bakery tonight, they were delicious.
Thursday 3rd October 2013
Waited at the end of the drive this morning for the bus instead of walking to the junction and flagged the bus down, it was the same driver as last night, which was good. Arriving at Wells-next-the Sea we walked down Staithe Street to the Bakers and bought some bread rolls and sausage rolls (recommended by the girl at the information centre) and then to the Deli’ for some cold meat before walking back to the bus stop to catch the Coast Hopper No 3 to Stiffkey village approximately 4 miles away. We got off at the Red Lion, slight mistake, it should have been a stop earlier, but there was still a permitted footpath down to the marshes it just meant we walked a bit further, past an old blue police box in a drive on the way, Jenny wanted to go with “the doctor” instead of with me! We followed the track down to the marsh stopping for elevenses near the village cricket/football ground at a picnic table, we shouldn’t really have bought two sausage rolls, one between us would have been enough. The path along the edge of Stiffkey Marshes was easy to follow and we strolled along even stopping to pick blackberries which were growing in profusion in the hedges, we had the fields to our left and Stonemeal Creek on our right with the sea about ½ mile further over and we spotted our first Brent Geese within a short space of time, long distance flyers that have come over from Artic Siberia.
We found the perfect place for lunch (again), the “one and only” bench on the whole of the walk and we stayed for quite a while, amazed that we were sitting in warm sun without jumpers in October. We continued along the path into Wells-next-the-Sea, stopping to talk to a lady whose husband was “attempting” to row/sail/paddle or what every other way a coracle is maneuvered along the tidal creek, without success as the wind was to strong. We enjoyed our bread rolls and smoked ham so much today, we stopped at both the bakery and deli’ on the way back to the bus stop to pick up some for tomorrows lunch, before catching the bus back to the campsite, once again being dropped off at the end of the drive.
Friday 4th October 2013
Waved the bus down again this morning for our visit to Titchwell RSPB Reserve, good job it was on time it had started to rain just as we left the campsite, it was “Linda” the driver we call the “miserable one”, unlike the other bus drivers she never passes the time of day or converse’s with anyone. The journey took 45 minutes and we got off at the Titchwell reserve bus stop and walked down the short drive to the Information Centre and shop where we purchased 2 caps, as we hadn’t bought our hats and it was still raining slightly. We decided rather than find our own way around the reserve we would take the guided tour at 1:00 pm for £6 each, which gave us time to have a cup of tea in the “feeding station”, the small café adjacent (with if you ever visit, have very reasonable priced food). We also walked down to the car park to see if there was room for the motorhome should we visit again, (there was). Richard Burton was our guide for what we found out was a 3 hour tour and the first place he took us to was the fen trail to see if we could see the reported rarity, a Yellow-browed Warbler a small bird, “blown” here on the Easterly winds we have had of late, unfortunately we weren’t successful. Luckily though the rain had ceased and the sun was out as we continued along the West bank path a 1,050 metre walk towards the beach, visiting in order, the Freshwater Marsh, Saltwater Marsh and Tidal Marsh before reaching the Dunes and Beach, where we stayed for a time before returning to the visitor centre.
It would take up too much space to name all the different species of bird we did see, many for the first time, we just hope we can now identify some, especially the waders when we next see them, however in total we saw 58 different varieties, the highlight being even for Richard a “Scaup” an uncommon winter visitor, which we saw on the Freshwater Marsh. After completing the “tick list” (just as well we would not have remembered them all) with Richard we left the reserve to catch the 4:28 pm bus back to Warham, it eventually arrived ½ hour late, it was Linda driving again. Whoops, a passenger said the wrong thing when he got on at Wells “you’re late”, he said, “I know I’m late, I don’t need you to tell me, it took me 50 minutes to get out of the hospital”, was the sharp reply, we presume the hospital at Hunstanton. She did amuse us as we left Wells, she shouted down the bus, “You’ll all have to hold on tight, I’m going to put my foot down to get to Fakenham”, she did slow down enough for us to get off at the camp site entrance!
Saturday 5th October 2013
A relaxed day, Jenny did some cleaning, baking, knitting and reading, I took the opportunity with the dry warm weather to wash the outside of the motorhome and clean the windows, timed perfectly before the Grand Prix qualifying started at lunchtime and then I edited some photographs this afternoon.
Sunday 6th October 2013
A great sight early this morning, four Buzzards that were soaring above the camp site, with binoculars the colours especially of the under-wings were fantastic. Grand Prix at 2:00 pm so we didn’t want to go out today before it finished so Jenny did some more cleaning inside while I wax polished the front cab part of the motorhome. After the race finished we had a short walk along the track opposite the camp site over the railway towards the Holkham Hall Estate, we turned back before we arrived at the estate grounds that contains the actual hall and deer park and other attractions, deciding beforehand that we would walk for just an hour before returning to the motorhome.
Monday 7th October 2013
On the 12:00 pm bus this morning to Wells-next-the-Sea for a walk along the path along the side of the estuary to the beach and the track through the pine woods, part of the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path, which stretches for 93 miles along the coast. Once again we stopped at the deli’ and bakery in Staithe Street for our lunch, before continuing on, we were good this time though, we walked quickly past the display box of pork scratching’s at the butchers shop. We arrived at the beach, walking past the newly dredged channel that has been made for the mooring of boats used for the servicing of the wind farms off the coast and looked at the view from the boardwalk near the Coastguard Station before returning to the path through the wood, taking in the wonderful scent of pine, that had been stimulated by the hot sun.
It was lunchtime and we found a lovely spot on a heath to have our picnic, having a close-up view of a Kestrel hovering just above us that obviously liked the smell of the deli’ bought smoked ham we had. The spot we chose for our lunch was almost too perfect . . . we stayed there far too long, lying back on our “seats”, an old groundsheet we have cut into metre squares, we could easily have fallen asleep! Eventually we moved on, deciding rather than continuing along the path we would take a slow stroll along the estuary back to the town, although we did stop again for at least ½ an hour sitting on a bench watching a group of Ringed Plovers feeding in the mud. One more stop, the Nisa store near the bus stop for some milk before catching the bus back to the camp site, for our last night at Grove Farm.
Tuesday 8th October 2013
The Lifeboat Inn, (Britstop) Thornham, Lat: 52.96140, Long: 0.5738, (16 Miles).
We left the camp site rather later than we thought, probably due to talking too long with the other couple that were leaving to-day. Wanting to visit the Titchwell RSPB reserve again we drove directly there, however we had a surprise when we arrived, the car parks were all full (unlike on Friday) and even the approach road and coach park were being used, with difficulty we managed to drive back out and decided to see how far the reserve was from Thornham our stop for to-night. It was 1.6 miles a very manageable walk and we parked in the large car park at the Inn and I went to the reception to make sure it was OK to stay earlier than planned (I rang this morning), there wasn’t a problem and we parked at the far end of the car park in the less used area and had our lunch. It only took about 25 minutes to walk back to the reserve, luckily there was a narrow pavement along the length of the main road that we were able to walk along and after a “comfort break” we walked along the “East Trail” and then further along the newly opened “Autumn Trail” and viewed the Freshwater marsh from two screens, Bird watchers there being kind enough to show use through their expensive telescopes the very secretive Jack Snipe. Returning towards the visitor centre we “re-walked” the “West Bank Path”, however this time only walking as far as the new Parrinder hide, deciding not to walk through the dunes to the beach. Leaving the reserve when we got to the main road, we looked at the timetable for the Coast Hopper No 2 and found that a bus was due within 10 minutes, although only 3 stops we caught the bus and alighted in the village for a much shorter walk back to the inn. After a cup of tea, I left Jenny at the motorhome and walked down the lane towards Thornham Staithe hopefully to take some photographs of the sunset and found some useful information when I arrived near the boat moorings, building work was being carried out on the sea defense’s and our intended walking path towards Holme-next-the-Sea was closed, we shall have to re-arrange our plans for tomorrow morning. The sunset wasn’t one of the best, but I was pleased to find some old decayed tree stumps which hopefully has added some interest, although I haven’t looked at the results yet.
Still I enjoyed the iconic sound of several Curlews as they waded in the mud searching for their dinners while I waited for the sun to set. The Marco Pierre White owned restaurant at The Lifeboat Inn was obviously our chosen place for dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed it, my mussels in garlic and wine were delicious, as was Jenny’s starter and main, although I was a bit disappointed with the beef burger main I chose, not the best I have tasted.
Wednesday 9th October 2013
Sandringham Estate Caravan Club Site, Sandringham, Lat: 52.81327, Long: 0.49470 (16 Miles, again).
Not the most peaceful of nights, not the fault of Britstops or the inn, but the inn’s guest who left their dogs in a vehicle barking and howling at intervals through the night! Finding an alternative walk on the Ordnance Survey Map we still walked back this morning to the end of the lane and to the staithe where I was last night, I couldn’t understand why the road was so wet, until we reached the spot where the Curlew were feeding in the mud and which was now filled with water and realised that at high tide (9:15 am this morning) the road is also covered. It made it difficult to walk to an old fishing boat that I spotted last night and wanted to photograph, walking over the wet marsh was OK, crossing a wooden bridge wasn’t it was extremely slippery with a film of mud, Jenny was sensible she waited on the road.
We reached the car park of the Holme Nature Reserve and I photographed the old tree stumps again before we re-traced our steps to a public footpath that was open which went to Thornham village, from which we returned to the Lifeboat Inn car park. We left towards mid-day and drove to Old Hunstanton where we stopped for a short time near the cliffs, Jenny had visited here as a child and was hoping that she could reconise where she stayed, she remembered an old lighthouse and coastguard station and a line of trees, we will probably return in the next few days to visit this area of coastline more, hopefully with a decent sunset and light on the colourful cliffs, although the weather forecast for the next few days isn’t good. The weather forecast for the next few days, promising high winds and rain, the intention was to stay nearer Hunstanton, instead, after a quick shopping session at Tesco, we decided to drive to Sandringham and we will use the bus which stops just outside the site entrance and go from there. Fish and Chip van on the site to-night, we will save the Indian “take-a-way” we bought from Tesco until tomorrow.
Thursday 10th October 2013
A very relaxed and lazy day!
Friday 11th October 2013
A very wet and windy night, with a rumble of thunder and hail for good measure, it was a good decision not to stay near the coast at Hunstanton as according to the television news they have had extremely high northerly winds there. The site is sheltered by the tall trees that completely surround it although we consciously found a pitch that was in the open, experience has taught us to avoid trees for three reasons, we don’t like being in shade, the noise of the wind and the “Chinese water torture when it rains, the rain stops and the leaves then drip water on the roof for a further 2 hours! We have stayed in the motorhome all day, as the weather is still bad, it has given Jenny chance to bake and do some knitting and I have managed to get the photograph editing almost up to date. Tonight I started to watch the England v Montenegro qualifying match, then found out there was a program on BBC4 about Mike Oldfield and his music Tubular Bells and then a live recording from 1973 of side one of Tubular Bells, it was no contest of which I should watch, especially as the first half of the match was boring.
Saturday 12th October 2013
Up at 5:00 am this morning to watch the F1 qualifying from Japan, watched it and then went back to a nice warm bed. The weather has not improved still wet and windy so another day relaxing in the comfort of the motorhome.
Sunday 13th October 2013
Ditto yesterday, except I got out of bed at 6:00 am and watched the pre-amble to the race and Jenny got out at 7:00 am to watch the start, we didn’t go back to bed, instead had breakfast while we watched it and then had our showers later. Still no let up to the wet and windy weather, although it is now more heavy showers rather than consistent rain, the weather forecast shows an improvement from tomorrow so we will get “out and about”.
Monday 14th October 2013
We are stopping here at least another 3 days to enable for us to visit both Kings Lynn and Hunstanton and also take a walk through the Sandringham estate, the weather preventing us doing much over the last few days. We caught the No 11 bus just outside the camp site (the very reason we have paid an extra £2 per night at the Caravan Club Site, instead of staying at the Camping and Caravan Club Site which would have meant a 1½ mile walk through the forest to the bus stop) at 11:08 am for the 25 minute drive to Kings Lynn. We got off at the bus station, immediately finding a very useful Sainsbury’s Supermarket there, which we used on the way back. After perusing a street map, we made our way through the pedestrianised shopping area, window shopping as we went towards the historic waterfront of the River Great Ouse, at Purfleet Quay, stopping first at the Old Customs House, which now houses the information centre to look at some of the history of the town.
Reaching the riverside we walked along South Quay towards the old town before returning to the shopping centre for lunch and a Big Mac’ from McDonalds suited our taste buds today. After doing a bit of proper shopping and “popping” into Specsavers to have Jenny’s reading glasses tightened up (again) we caught the bus back to the camp site.
Tuesday 15th October 2013
After checking the weather forecast this morning and with a promise of a dry and even sunny day we decided it would be an ideal day to visit Hunstanton although we didn’t catch the bus until 12:04 pm. Although the distance isn’t great to the town the bus route doesn’t go directly there, as it visits several villages as well as the Sandringham visitor centre and it was 40 minutes before we reached the bus station. After a short walk to the town centre to purchase some crusty rolls for our tea (with a large piece of “Granny’s bread pudding on the side) we found a fish and chip restaurant for our lunch, enjoying the “senior citizens” meal with tea and bread and butter at £5.75 each, a good job we had the smaller portions we wouldn’t have managed the normal one’s. One of two reasons to visit today was to photograph the unique striped cliffs at sunset and not knowing just how far they were along the promenade we decided to take a look, in fact they weren’t too far along and as a “safety net” I decided to walk along the beach to photograph them whilst the sun was shining on them. I would have liked to have taken them with more of the green algae covered rocks in the foreground but with the tide coming in I didn’t want to get my feet wet, as it was it was a close run thing. We turned back from the cliffs and walked along the top of the esplanade through the gardens back towards the town, continuing past it towards the “pleasure beach” part of the sea-front. Now the second reason for us being here, Jenny had been on holiday in Hunstanton when she was fourteen and was hoping to reconise some of the places from then, she did, especially the sea wall and steps and later on the bus the caravan park and road, what a memory! After walking the length of the esplanade we reached a beach café and stopped there for a cup of tea, unfortunately the weather had changed whilst we were drinking and low cloud had covered the sun, the famous Hunstanton sunset was not to be, although we did walk back towards the cliffs in the hope it would change again, it didn’t and as the last No 11 bus was due which stopped at the campsite, the following buses (No 10’s) only stop on the main road, at Cats Bottom cottages (really) which would have entailed a walk of about a mile back to the site, we decided to return on that one. We didn’t see the sunset we wanted to but our forward thinking this afternoon meant that I got some good photographs of the cliffs.
Wednesday 16th October 2013
We thought a walk this afternoon would be nice to the Sandringham Estate tea-room and shop, it started to rain as we left the motorhome, Jenny was right (again) we should have gone this morning! We enjoyed the walk though, despite the weather and despite the directions on the camp site information sheet stating it was approximately 2 miles, we did 3.6 miles to the tea room and looking at the iPhone GPS we went around in a large loop along the drive through the forest when we got to the estate gates. After browsing the shop and having a cup of tea and sharing a slice of chocolate cake, we walked back to the campsite, disregarding the printed instructions and instead using the “ Maps 3D” app and walked at least ¾ mile less, what a useful app it has been for our walks in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Thursday 17th October 2013
The Anvil Inn (Britstop), Congham, Lat: 52.78273, Long: 0.53415, (30 Miles).
Left the Sandringham camp site at 12:21 pm, first stop Tesco at Hunstanton for groceries for the next few days, we knew exactly what we wanted so we weren’t there long and after topping up with diesel, the first time for just over two months, having only covered 212 miles in that time. It was such a nice sunny and warm day with little wind that we decided to park on the cliff road and have our lunch there enjoying the views on a much clearer day than last time over The Wash to Lincolnshire. Fluked the time we were there to almost low tide, so while Jenny stowed the groceries away I took the opportunity to walk back along the cliff top and down the never-ending “zigzag” path to the esplanade and down the steps onto the beach to take some more photographs of the cliffs. Much better this time than on Tuesday, with the tide out and more rocks and pools exposed I was able to position myself in a more favourable place to take the photos and not get my feet wet.
Our next stop was at the RSPB Snettisham Nature Reserve to hopefully see the famous “wading bird spectacular”, where on the highest tides (today being one of them) thousands of mostly Knot that are feeding on the mudflats are pushed up by the incoming tide and fly up in spectacular formations. Luckily the height barrier at the entrance of the reserve that we expected had been removed and we were able to drive down to the car park, which saved us a much longer walk. We still had .6 mile walk along the access track to the beach and finding that workman had very kindly placed large sacks of hardcore near the track, we sat on them waiting for the tide to come in. Watching the birds was fantastic and as the sun was going down it looked as though there was going to be a nice sunset, so I decided to walk back for the tripod and warmer coats with the thought we would stay until after dark, I even had the forethought to take our head torches with me in case we were returning in the dark. I needn’t have bothered, by the time I got back to “our” perch, the sun had gone behind some thicker cloud and with the tide almost covering the mudflats the birds were much further along the reserve so we walked back to the car park. We had 12 miles to drive to our overnight “Britstop” at the Anvil Inn and we arrived in the dark, I had phoned ahead and also viewed the pub on Google Earth so we knew where to park and after “making ourselves known” to the owner we got changed for an evening meal in the restaurant. And very good it was too, Jenny having Whitebait starter and a steak, whilst I had Potato skins followed by a steak “sizzler”; we just wish we had had enough room for a pudding!
Friday 18th October 2013
Windmill Certificated Site, Denver, Lat: 52.58475, Long: 0.36700, (21 Miles).
Well we were so comfortable overnight in the car park we overslept and didn’t wake up until 9:30 am! We left towards lunchtime and drove directly to the campsite at Denver, taking a chance that there was room as we couldn’t get an answer on the phone. We arrived at the campsite which is next to Denver Windmill and was immediately disappointed, the windmill which was the front page photograph on our Ely and Wisbech Ordnance Survey Map (No 143) which depicted it with sails, with a reflection in a pool and which I was hoping to take a similar photograph of, DIDN’T have sails. Parking in the entrance gate we had a look at the campsite, there was plenty of room and with the fishing pools next to the pitches we decided to stay, pitching away from the main pitches and choosing a place on the edge of the pool, which although having a EHU, wasn’t a “proper” pitch, we then waited for the owner to arrive to make sure it was OK to pitch where we had and actually the son arrived and was quite happy where we were. After lunch we decided to take a look at the mill and found out that due to one of the sails being damaged in 2011 they had all been removed (the Ordnance Survey Map was incidentally a 2000 edition) and the Norfolk Historic Building Trust is trying to raise £100,000 to have the sails re-paired and re-fitted. We had a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the tea room and had a look at some of the informative notices and photographs in the out-buildings; tomorrow we may visit the windmill itself.
Saturday 19th October 2013
A great night’s sleep and other than the rain on the motorhome roof on occasions, not another sound and we didn’t oversleep today. Before lunch and needing bread we walked around to the windmill to purchase some and at the same time take a tour of the mill. The tours are “on demand” and Jenny and I were the only people on it, visiting each of the four floors with our guide who explained both the history and workings of the mill built in 1835 and replacing an earlier grain mill on the site. Four floors meant four ladders and it was a tight squeeze as we climbed between floors (especially for Jenny with her big bum . . . “Ouch, Jenny that slap hurt”) and each room was obviously getting smaller as we reached the top. After descending back down, we left our guide and went to the tea-room, not to eat but purchase the bread and strong bread flour as Jenny wants to “try” baking her own. We were going to walk up to Denver sluice this afternoon but it started to rain, instead we relaxed in the motorhome, I caught up (yet again) with editing photographs and Jenny knitted.
Sunday 20th October 2013
Decided to stop an extra day, I was going to fish, but the weather forecast wasn’t good and in the end I did make the right decision although I changed my mind several times during the day, especially as mid-morning the sun was shining and the wind had dropped, not for long though in the afternoon the rain was “bouncing” off the pool. Instead I read, watched television and played a few games of cribbage (on the iPhone against the computer), Jenny read and knitted (some more).
Monday 21st October 2013
The Secret Garden Holiday Park, Wisbech St. Mary (26 miles).
Although not having filled with gas since the 10th July, we have only recently switched to the second canister, despite using “gas only” for the fridge and heating water, which would normally be on electric for our 4 Britstops. Our first stop this morning therefore was a LPG supplier en-route to Wisbech, wrong, the garage on “Yell.com” had not sold gas for some time, not for the first time we have found information for LPG stations to be completely out of date. Next stop was Currys/PC World on a large retail park on the outskirts of Kings Lynn to buy some photo printer paper, we have now given up attempting to purchase “satin” finish paper and are going to us “matte instead, it appears on checking several printer paper supplies (Brother, Cannon and Kodak) that “satin” especially the weight we want seems out of favour. We arrived at The Secret Garden just after lunch and Neil the owner showed us a choice of any of the garden pitches (the other being in the meadow), we opted for No 3 it was the most secluded, but not shadowed by trees and it was the easiest for Neil to tow us out of should we get bogged down, as after the heavy rains of the last few days the ground is extremely wet. This camp site we found reviewed on www.ukcampsite.co.uk Click here . . . and was scored 100% on 44 reviews and we can see why, each garden pitch surrounded by bushes and shrubs, an amenities building with all “mod cons” with a television, books and table tennis, free WiFi, onsite wildlife camera’s “Pig Heaven” a wooded area that contains a Gloucester Old Spot Sow with ten piglets and an on-site micro-brewery. Oh, and I almost forgot, Vernon, the ginger tom, who snuck in whilst we were sorting ourselves out, sat on the driver’s seat, we “turfed” him out pretty quickly before I started to sneeze!
Tuesday 22nd October 2013
A lovely comfortable night even with the rain pattering on the roof, glad we decided not to go near the trees though as it was also very windy. We went to pay this morning and met Lesley, Neil’s wife, we wanted to stay for a further 3 nights but unfortunately they are fully booked for the weekend, it being half term and the last complete week the campsite is open before it closes for the winter. We decided to walk into Wisbech this morning, not the most interesting of walks, along Mile Tree Lane with mostly fruit trees growing in the fields and then the length of North Brink which runs alongside the River Nene, but with a 6 foot steel flood defence we couldn’t see the river and it is just a tidal muddy “canal” before flowing into The Wash anyway. The town itself was disappointing just the usual pedestrianised shopping centre, certainly nothing like some of the Norfolk towns we have visited in the last few months. We didn’t stop long, although we purchased some shopping from the Co-operative store and had a nice “cuppa” and pannini at the Café D’licious before returning to the camp site walking a total of 7.06 miles a lot longer than we thought. This evening before it got too dark I had a walk through the woods and fields about 200 metres on the other side of the lane to the campsite which also belongs Neil and Lesley, a place I was told where Muntjac Deer and Foxes are sometimes seen, no luck though. Good News when I arrived back though there has been a cancellation this weekend so we can stay the extra 3 days, that’s great Beer and Sausage tasting on Saturday night.
Wednesday 23rd October 2013-Friday 25th October 2013
3 very relaxed days!
Saturday 26th October 2013
Up early this morning to watch qualifying of the F1 Grand Prix from India, at least at 7:30 it was at a more respectable time than the last one. After another quiet day early evening we went to the Stables to partake in the Beer and Sausage tasting , it also gave us chance to chat to some of the other people that had arrived on the site for the week end. We enjoyed the 4 different varieties of sausage, sage and onion, apple, cumberland and “normal”, the beer wasn’t a type that I would normally taste and not being a connoisseur of beer, I didn’t really know whether I liked it or not, I still prefer the Aspall cider we have been drinking. A nice touch this evening was that Neil had organised a guest to teach the children some “bushcraft”, Andrew from “Fenland Bushcraft” a former soldier of 30 years experience showed them (and us older one’s) the different ways of making a fire, we won’t need to buy matches anymore!
Sunday 27th October 2013
Great the clocks went back and the Grand Prix didn’t start until 8:25 GMT, watched it and still considered we had a “lie in”. Spent the rest of the day relaxing, before battening down the hatches for the forecasted “hurricane” arriving late tonight and lasting until tomorrow, didn’t need to do much other than put the bucket, washing-up bowl and step away so they don’t disappear during the night, depending on what happens tomorrow, we will make a decision whether to stay an extra day.
Monday 28th October 2013
Well the forecasted hurricane didn’t really materialise, we did have some rain during the night and early morning and a few gusts of high wind, but we seem to have missed the worst of it. We have still decided though to stay an extra day here, just to make sure that the road conditions are OK and we don’t get held up by any fallen trees (if any) etc. it just means we will only stop at one Britstop on the way back to the Midlands instead of two. We spent some of the day deciding what to do this winter having chosen not to go to Spain this year and instead spend the time in Dorset and Devon; we have found some good campsites at very reasonable prices, trying to select those that have a leisure centre on site so we can hopefully do some swimming.
Tuesday 29th October 2013
Fardon Fields Farm, (Britstop) Market Harborough, Lat: 52.47055, Long: 0.93321, (62 Miles).
No rush to leave this morning as they were not expecting us at Fardon Fields Farm until mid-afternoon, few chores to do before we left though, including empting the toilet cassette and filling with fresh water. First intended stop was the BP filling station on the Great North Road to top up with LPG, the reason I say intended was that we drove onto the forecourt and found the LPG pump “out of order” and drove out again. We stopped at lunchtime in a lay-by on the A47 and while Jenny was preparing lunch I found another BP station that was directly on our route, I took the precaution this time of ringing them and they confirmed they had, 1) a LPG tank, 2) they also had gas in it. And they did indeed and after a short stop for our top up (having only used 16 litres since July), we continued to the Farm shop at Market Harborough, arriving at 2:45 pm. We found plenty of room in the car park and we made ourselves known in the farm shop, purchasing milk. bread, eggs, naan bread and a bottle of cider, whist we were in there. We then relaxed for the rest of the afternoon and evening, nothing on television, we listened to music.