January 29th, 2023
Ever since my previous outing to Kings Lynn I’ve been itching to try to get all the way to the coast. I decided to head for Hunstanton and get the bus back but there didn’t seem to be an obvious path along the coast. Thankfully I Googled around a bit and found this very helpful post by someone who’d done the same route. Apparently there really is no public right of way and the sea wall is surrounded by menacing PRIVATE KEEP OUT signs. Being of a rather timid disposition and not wanting to get caught trespassing I decided to take the inland route, basically the one described in the last comment. That went through Sandringham (I didn’t bump into the king) and from there out to the sea.
Hunstanton’s claim to fame is that it’s the only town in the east of England where you can watch the sun set over the sea. And I was very lucky on this incredibly clear winter day to experience exactly that!
The sun setting over the sea, a rare sight in East Anglia
As for the town itself it seemed to have all the usual seaside attractions. However I would not recommend visiting after dark in January.
January 9th, 2023
I recently continued my journey north from Ely towards the sea, ending at the port of Kings Lynn (although it isn’t exactly next to the sea). I split it into three smaller walks using the convenient railway line that runs down to Cambridge. Although you could do it in in one very long day, the challenge would be more mental than physical owing to the interminably flat and featureless fen landscape.
Typical fenland scenery
There were a few highlights along the way though like this ruined church at Wiggenhall St Peter, and the lock and pumping station near Downham Market where I learned about the “gentlemen adventurers” who drained fens and fought with the local fen folk and their geese.
Remains of the church at Wiggenhall St Peter
My mum told me Kings Lynn was rubbish and not worth visiting but I found the quayside very picturesque. There’s plenty of information boards explaining the town’s history as a port and whaling hub, and its subsequent decline with the coming of the railways. I think I’ll come back again for a final push to the sea. Onwards!
Kings Lynn port
December 10th, 2022
I made a return visit to Berkshire last weekend to do one of my favourite walks, the Beeches Way between Cookham and West Drayton on the outskirts of London. On the way there I got to ride of the Elizabeth line for the first time ever which was super exciting. Only ten years late?
Leaf-strewn path near the start at Cookham
Near Fulmer, it was cloudy nearly all day
November 28th, 2022
I’ve been meaning to go back to Ely ever since I walked there a month or so ago but arrived after dark. Well I finally did this weekend and went inside the cathedral, and very impressive it is too!
It seems a bit silly having enormous cathedral in such a tiny town (one of England’s smallest). You can see it from miles around too owing to the fens being completely flat. The entrance ticket is a pretty reasonable £8.50: take that, York Minster!
November 6th, 2022
It was my birthday last weekend so we took my niece for her first ever trip on the Romney, Hythe, and Dymchurch railway which has been feature multiple times previously on this blog.
The train is indeed minature
It rained a lot in the morning but still a great day out. And I found something interesting! Here we see an earlier version of your correspondent standing next to engine number 12 in the distant past:
Around 1988 ish
And in exactly the same location, here’s number 12 again! (It’s the same engine, I asked, they just painted it black at some point.)
2022, note the platform refurbishment
October 23rd, 2022
Another surprise relocation! I’ve moved to Cambridge after being turfed out of my parents’ home. Earlier this month I set off northwards on an initial exploration towards the city of Ely.
I ended up doing this over two days due to illness (not covid) but still I somehow didn’t manage to arrive in Ely until after dark so I didn’t really see anything of England’s third smallest city.
Oh, how flat and featureless the fens are! Flat terrain can sometimes be interesting to walk through if there’s some navigation challenges or other obstacles (see my recent adventures on the Romney marsh) but as I was along this river for most of the journey the middle section after leaving Cambridge was really boring. The scenery picked up a little bit towards the end though when I could see Ely cathedral in the distance from miles away.
September 16th, 2022
I went for another walk along the Kent coast a few weeks ago, this time around the back of Folkestone near the Channel Tunnel and on to Dover.
Channel Tunnel terminal
I thought maybe I’d get a good view of the tunnel entrance from the hills above but it wasn’t as impressive as I’d imagined. Back when it first opened there was an exhibition centre somewhere around here but it must have been demolished.
A precipitous drop near Dover
The section of cliff-top path between Folkestone and Dover was awesome, I’ll give it 9/10 for walking experience. Dover itself doesn’t seem to have a lot worth visiting except the castle and the port. I dimly remember a family trip to the castle, but might warrant a repeat visit.
August 3rd, 2022
I went for a walk last weekend near Folkestone and to my surprise I discovered a castle!
It’s Saltwood castle and is, somewhat incredibly, someone’s private residence so you can’t go inside which is a shame.
July 22nd, 2022
A little walk I did recently along the South Downs Way near Eastbourne.
Nothing really remarkable happened but I got free tea and cake from a church (thanks Jesus!) and the scenery was nice. I missed these open chalk downlands.
June 30th, 2022
As promised I went out to explore the nearby wind farm and in doing so made another crossing of the Romney marsh!
The place is called Little Cheyne Court wind farm and it was built in 2008 after a lot of local opposition. There’s a public footpath running right through it so you can get up really close to the turbines. It’s actually pretty scary standing underneath them with the blades spinning.
After that I plodded over the marsh to Dymchurch. Dymchurch is lovely! It’s a very stereotypical slightly-tacky British seaside resort, like a time capsule from the 60s or 70s. I had a 99 with a flake from an ice cream van, it was wonderful.