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Wells-Next-The-Sea, Walks In Norfolk, England, UK

Wells-Next-The-Sea - Walks In Norfolk

Wells-Next-The-Sea walk was about 8 miles in distance. The terrain of this route was flat, easy walking and included: a long sandy beach; hard surface paths and road section; paths and tracks through woodland and across fields. There were no stiles to negotiate.

The walk begins in Wells-Next-The-Sea, a traditional fishing port, named after the many springs and wells in the town that supplied fresh water from the underlying chalk. Past industries included shipbuilding, shipping, fishing and malting. Today tourism is the major industry but there is still fishing and a lifeboat station.

The walk traverses the vast West Sands beach to the west of Wells-Next-The-Sea and through sand dunes and pines in the Holkham National Nature Reserve at Holkham Gap. After traversing Lady Ann’s Drive, the later part of the walk passes through the deer park and estate of Holkham Hall, an eighteenth-century country house located adjacent to the village of Holkham.

Starting from Wells-Next-The-Sea Youth Hostel, leg one headed north on roads and footpaths to West Sands Beach. Leg two went west on West Sands Beach, curving to the south at Holkham Gap.

Leg three headed south on a boardwalk through sand dunes and trees; then on St Ann’s Drive to a junction before Holkham Hall car park. To complete the walk the fourth and final leg zig-zagged east via parkland, woodland and fields on paths, tracks, a drive and roads back to Wells-Next-The-Sea.

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Wells-Next-The-Sea Walk Route

The Wells-Next-The-Sea walk route was circular in an anti-clockwise direction with four legs.

Leg 1

On this first leg we started from outside the Wells-Next-The-Sea Youth Hostel and headed north through the town on roads and footpaths and along the footpath of The Bank beside Beach Road to West Sands Beach.

  1. With Wells-Next-The-Sea Youth Hostel on our left, we headed north towards the coast, along Church Plain which became High Street.
  2. At the T-junction with Station Road, we turned left then first right along Staithe Street.
  3. At the end of Staithe Street, with the Harbour in front of us, we turned left and follow the quayside round to the right towards the Harbour Office.
  4. We then followed the Norfolk Coast Path, with the narrow gauge Wells Harbour Railway and Beach Road on our left and the navigation channel on the right.
  5. We passed a camp site on our left, then a car park and a café on our left.
  6. After passing a coastguard station, we walk along a raised wooden walkway to the West Sands Beach on our left.

Leg 2

Having walked about 1.5 miles to this point, the second leg headed west on West Sands Beach, curving southwards at Holkham Gap.

  1. Here we left the official Norfolk Coast Path and followed the West Sands Beach for about 2 miles.
  2. We made our own path across West Sands, beside the trees. If you want you can paddle in the sea but please watch the tide!.
  3. When the edge of the belt of trees fell away to our left, we followed it to Holkham Gap, passing a seat with a good view across Holkham Bay, to arrive at an inclined path through the sand dunes, enclosed by fences and a hand rail.

Leg 3

At around the 3.5 miles mark, the third leg headed south on a boardwalk through sand dunes and trees; and along St Ann’s Drive over the A149 to a junction before Holkham Hall car park.

  1. Here we followed the path through the dunes and along a board-walk through trees to cross the route of the official coastal path.
  2. Now walking South we followed the tree-lined Lady Ann’s Drive, which doubled as a car park for the beach, towards the A149.
  3. After carefully crossing the main road (A149) we proceeded ahead on a road towards the ornate main gates of Holkham Hall which were flanked by alms houses.
  4. After passing through the left side of the gates, we continued ahead along the main drive towards the car park until we reached the first junction which was a sharp left.

Leg 4

Having walked about 5 miles to this point, the fourth and final leg zig-zagged eastwards via parkland, woodland and fields on paths, tracks, a drive and roads back to the start in Wells-Next-The-Sea.

  1. Here we turned sharp left and soon after we took a left fork and headed across the parkland.
  2. At a cattle grid we went through a metal gate and soon after at the next fork we took the right fork.
  3. At another cattle grid we went through a wooden gate to enter woods.
  4. We went ahead and then turned left along the first dirt track.
  5. Following this track which was enclosed by bushes and left the wood, curving to the right, left and right again before going along a straight section across open ground to re-enter woods again.
  6. Here we turned right to walk along a permitted path and headed towards East Gate.
  7. We exited the park through a metal gate and walked along a splendid avenue of trees to meet the A149 on a bend.
  8. Here we turned right and walked South along a track, skirting round a house and then beside a hedge on the left and a field between on the right.
  9. At a crossing with another track we turned left onto a bridleway, enclosed by bushes, which came out onto the B1105.
  10. We turned left along the B1105 and then first right onto Burnt Street (A149) and followed it until turning left by the church onto Church Plain, back to Wells-Next-The-Sea Youth Hostel on the left.

When Done & With Whom

I did this hike with my partner Anne whilst on a Norfolk hiking holiday during November 2014. As our holiday accommodation was in Wells-Next-The Sea, Norfolk we were able to walk to the start of the walk which was outside Wells-Next-The Sea Youth Hostel on Church Plain, just off the A149.

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