Norfolk Rambling – 2nd – 5th May 2011
De Vere Dunston Hall Hotel – how very grand! This was a red brick Elizabethan mansion tucked away in 150 acres of parkland just south of Norwich. This was definitely not normal Ramblers accommodation. I arrived early to take advantage of the indoor swimming pool, steam room etc. and this was really relaxing.
The first of our three eight mile walks was from Halvergate to Great Yarmouth along the Weavers Way. Finding the way was a little challenging for our leader, Ted, but the going was flat, the sun was out and there were pretty windmills along the way. The recent lack of rain meant that we were not ankle deep in mud. Herds of bullocks paid us close attention and we saw the odd swan. Finding the Berney Arms open we were delighted and took advantage of its ale and beautiful position for our midday break.
Having lost a couple of people on the edge of Great Yarmouth they did turn up at the bus departure point of Britannia Pier and it was good to have some time for tea in the seaside cafes before returning. This was a brash seaside town without the crowds of high season.
Our second walk was supposed to be along the River Bure but work on the river defences meant that we were diverted into fields nearby. This meant that it was less interesting but still lovely to walk in really good weather from Acle to Potter Heigham. A stop at the Red Lion along the way for some alternative refreshment along the way was welcome.
Potter Heigham was a tacky sort of seaside town but inland. I remembered its giant ultra-cheap store selling practically everything from a former visit. Here were ducks and swans galore to amuse us before we left.
Walk number three started at Cley on the Norfolk coast at a visitor centre which introduced us to the varied birdlife in the area. Staggering along the shingle next to the sea gave us a good view of both sides but was uncomfortable for walking. There were some protests and so we descended to more comfortable terrain later on.
Before arriving at Sherringham we actually walked on the top of some cliffs, the first elevation since we started! Sherringham was a really attractive town in which we were let loose for an hour at the end of the walk. Here was the terminus of the Poppy Line with its working steam trains.