Norfolk has miles of wide sandy beaches and dunes (the green shoots provide habitats for natterjack toads and endangered seabirds), so always follow paths to avoid stepping on dunes and don’t drop litter or light barbecues). Many seaside resorts are home to pretty pastel beach huts (originally designed for people to discreetly change into their bathing costumes, if they weren’t rich enough to be wheeled into sea in bathing stations). Too expensive to buy for most, but easy to rent in low season, to enjoy a pot of tea looking out over the mild seas.
This is also a main spot to view seals. But for the most part, leave seals well alone (they give vicous bites and disturbing seals can cause them to spook and abandon pups), Also keep dogs away from them (pups are often hidden in sand dunes). If you find an injured seal pup, never put it back in the sea (it could drown or freeze), as blubber is not thick enough. Call British Divers Marine Life Rescue for help.
One of the least-populated areas of England, here you’ll find more ancient churches and spires than anywhere else – perhaps due to monks and nuns fleeing here during the Reformation (when Henry VIII banned the Catholic religion so he could divorce) but perhaps some other reason?
Norwich is the main city, but you also have the Norfolk Broads – a manmade waterways made by pouring water into excavated sites hundreds of years ago, that now provide not just leisurely boating holidays, but important homes and breeding grounds for many endangered mammals, birds and insects).
On the Marsh is the story of a journalist who rewilded 8 acres of Norfolk marshland, after buying a property in a conservation area, fearing it would be at risk from developers, if he didn’t get there first. The marshy land behind his family’s garden then brought back Chinese water deer, otters and hedgehogs, along with two marsh harriers who used the marsh as hunting ground. And also turned to be a place of calm and inspiration for his son, who has Down Syndrome. Yet there are also disappointments, as chemical run-off from neighbouring farmland creates a nettles monoculture.
A Line in the World is a book by one of Denmark’s most acclaimed writers, who spent her childhood growing up amid the storm-battered trees and windblasted beaches of the North Sea coast. This ‘line’ that stretches from Denmark to Holland looks at how people settle in these similar wild landscapes on a sea we share with our European neighbours. A story of storm surges and shipwrecks, sand dunes that engulf houses and power stations leaching chemicals into the water.