We started the Walk at the rather expensive car park at the end of Beach Lane (£6 for 4 hours!). It was a beautiful day. The sun had come out, the sky was a rich blue, and it felt like a proper spring day for once after a winter that seemed to go on forever. We set off west along the coastline, enjoying the seaside scenery but finding it difficult to walk fast on the pebble beach.
After a short distance, up to the left, we saw the anti-aircraft guns – relics from the Second World War when Weybourne was a highly secret military site and an Anti-Aircraft Artillery range. During the war, the coastline became a controlled zone by the British forces. Defences were constructed around Weybourne as part of British anti-invasion preparations, and the beaches were blocked by landmines and extensive scaffolding barriers. Further inland there were pillboxes, barbed wire entanglements, a long anti-tank ditch, and various other defences. The site is currently home to the Muckleburgh Collection – the largest privately owned military museum in the United Kingdom. The anti-aircraft guns that we could see now belong to this collection. At the north-western corner of the site, just before the area labelled ‘The Quag’ which appeared to be a wetland area and possibly a nature reserve, we took a sharp left and continued to follow the boundary of the Mickleburgh Collection site gently uphill towards Muckleburgh Hill.
Muckleburgh Hill is a small hill with a height of 68 metres. Despite its modest height, the views are fantastic from its summit, looking out over the Muckleburgh Collection below and a section of North Norfolk coastline. Like most heathland on the east coast, the earth is sandy and mainly vegetated by gorse. This is controlled by the grazing of cattle, and the main paths are usually well maintained.
We made our way over the hill, crossed the road, and continued heading north to Kelling Heath. This little area was much of the same as the last hill in terms of feel and vegetation – just larger. The north-east corner of the heath is labelled Telegraph Hill on the map and is the site of a trig pillar. It’s always a novelty when you come across one of these in East Anglia.
We continued heading north and eventually came to the North Norfolk Railway Line where, if you’re lucky, you can see one of the old steam trains come by on its journey from Sheringham to Holt. We were lucky and a train was coming past just as we got to the railway banking, however my camera wasn’t quite so lucky and my photo was somewhat ruined as I was facing the sun. Better luck next time!
We followed the line south-west for a short distance then crossed at the keeper’s cottage. Once across, we followed the path north-west, following the railway but this time on the other side of the tracks. The small station of Kelling Heath station was passed shortly before we arrived at a large pond on the right. Immediately after the pond, we turned right and proceeded to pick a path through the Kelling Heath holiday park, eventually emerging onto Sandy Hill Lane.
After a brief spell of road walking, we headed off down another path that led us through Weybourne Wood. We passed some horrid eyesore holiday lodges that really had no place there. Big triangular A-frame constructions which I guess are supposed to look Scandinavian but just looked plain wrong. After a short walk through the woodland, the trees eventually gave way to the open green space that surrounds Sheringham Hall. Sheringham Hall is a Grade II listed building that was completed in 1817 and stands in the grounds of Sheringham Park, which is in the care of the National Trust.
We took a turn to the left before we got to Sheringham Hall, and followed a path that ran between the steeply sloped Oak Wood, and an open crop field that appeared freshly ploughed and waiting for the next batch of whatever crop to grow. As we walked down this path, we saw a sign pointing up some steps that led up the steep slope of the woodland, and saying ‘Viewing Platform’. It sounded interesting and it was another excuse to exercise the legs on a steep slope, and therefore we started to climb to take a look. The steps were indeed steep and went on for quite some time. No match for my hillwalking legs though! At the top was a wooden tower with yet more steps that needed to be climbed to obtain the viewing platform – known as the Gazebo. It was well worth the detour as the view turned out to be quite splendid. It looked out over the whole section of coastline that stretched from Sheringham to Weybourne, and of course the sea beyond.
We came back down the steps, which were much easier in descent, and continued following the line of the woodland towards the coastline. There really wasn’t anything else worth mentioning between here and the coast. It was just a nice easy straight path that cut between fields. I tell a lie, there was one more point of interest. An old World War 2 bunker that amusingly had a picture of a soldier with binoculars in one of the side holes. Looked quite realistic as you can see from the pictures below:
The walk finished simply with a final stretch of coastline that led back to the car park at Weybourne. It had been a really great day out with the kids and the weather had been absolutely perfect. Already looking forward to the next walk.
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