If you are willing to drive an hour out of the city towards the North Norfolk Coast, you’ll be spoilt for choice at the expanse of countryside and endless water to gaze out into longingly and forget yourself for a while.
The adventure to the water along winding country roads cannot be compared to the grid-locked office commute, however my drive essentials are a podcast or a (sing along) Spotify playlist.
The route that brings fond memories is the stretch of Norfolk Coastal Path between Blakeney and Morston, and although only about 2.5km each way (or 1.5 miles if that’s more relative), the distance is ideal for a casual Sunday evening stroll. I took the trip out to Blakeney to capture photos of the golden glow at dusk, halouing the wild heathland and water trails that belong to the National Trust Nature Reserve. Now before you dismiss the trail for not being a challenging enough distance for a vigorous trek, you can adapt this route accordingly depending on the time you wish to invest. The route could be extended by starting at Cley-Next-The-Sea, following the coastal path deep into the marshes toward Blakeney, and returning along the pathed coastal road between Blakeney and Cley to add variation to the otherwise linear walk. The taunting sea remains in sight beckoning you over, however the River Glaven will prevent you from reaching it, I therefore suggest finishing at Cley beach where you can pop yourself down on the shingles and admire the view.
For a shorter Sunday evening golden-hour stroll, start in Blakeney at the Village Hall, accessed from Langham road and sign posted as free parking. This avoids navigating the narrow lanes and prevents congesting the quant village. Once on foot, take ‘the pastures’ lane through the green and down to the waterfront. In the peak of summer, prepare for the Quay to be lined with families and excited children in search of crabs.
If you aren’t one to pack a thermos and comforting snacks, there is a deli in Blakeney and a popular lunch spot ‘Wiveton Hall’ between Blakeney and Cley.
Now before heading off along the coastal path, stay a while and explore the Quay and the beautiful stone buildings. Pick up the narrow dirt footpath at the far west end of the Quay which diverts away from the River Glaven and tucks mysteriously behind a hedge out of sight. It is here where I looked back towards the boats in the hazy glow, as my dog frolicked in the heathland, captivated by the smell of the muddy marsh that cradled the overturned fishing boats.
The red sand trail paves through the green verge providing ultimate views across our flat Norfolk, it is also sturdy and wide enough for wheels and passing fellow walkers.
When you arrive at Morston Quay, along with peaceful bobbing boats, you will be greeted with the absolute delight of a toilet block and the ‘Norfolk Trust Kiosk’ tuck shop. I scrambled round the muddy yard admiring the colour palettes of the beached boats in their unique forms as the lowing sun beamed through between the sails. It was the last evening before the clocks went back, and it felt quite special. In front of the kiosk is a row of benches, and if you take the walk at dusk like I did, you will have a front row view of the boats returning to land beneath the setting sun. The final groups of passengers disembark from the seal trips further along the Quay, and as the excited squeals of children start to fade you will be left in silence. The bright moon will guide you back to the now deserted Quay in Blakeney, lined with warm light from the windows of cosy old buildings. Take in the complete stillness and ghostly silence of the night, other than the faint tinkering of chains against the water’s edge. If you were to ask me what my ideal Sunday is, well now you know.
About the Author
Sunrise chaser and sunset seeker Natasha Collaretti moved to Norfolk 3 years ago. Natasha is happiest in the countryside or by the coast, with her dog by her side and camera in hand.