Wells next to the Sea and Sheringham.

Wells Travel Blog

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The A149 that runs along the top of Norfolk has to be one of the prettiest roads to drive in England. Along it's course are little gems like Wells Next to the Sea and Sheringham.

Early in the 19th Century, the town of Wells was officially renamed "Wells-next-the-Sea" to distinguish it from other Wellses a name that had to be re-adopted in 1956, because it had become known more by the name on the signs at the railway station: "Wells-on-Sea. The town is actually a mile inland nestling behind a bank of pines and an expanse of saltmarsh reclaimed for agriculture by the Holkham Estate in the 1800s. A narrow-gauge railway runs from the town to the beach which is one of the best along this coast.

The harbour at Wells is overlooked by an imposing granary dating from 1904, with its gantry stretching across the street to the quay. From the harbour, narrow lanes with chic shops, eateries and art galleries lead towards the Buttlands, a large town green surrounded by lime trees and elegant Georgian houses, whose name suggests it may have been used for archery practice in distant times.

This part of North Norfolk forms part of the largest coastal nature reserve in England and Wales, and Wells-next-the-Sea - and indeed the whole of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty  is a haven for twitchers. Bitterns and terns, oyster catchers, avocets and marsh harriers are among the species which make this part of North Norfolk a prime site for birdwatching.

It is quite frankly a lousy day,definately not one for the beach.

So we browse the shops and find a nice cafe for lunch before getting back on the road towards Sheringham.

The Sheringham mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 is the village of Upper Sheringham, which has been a farming community for 2000 years. The village of lower Sheringham was little more than a collection of fisherman’s hovels for hundreds of years.

In 1901 Lower Sheringham gained independence from Upper Sheringham, was granted status as a self governing urban district, and the town of Sheringham was born, now boasting a population of 2000. The main reason for this was the coming of the railways in 1887, when a direct link was provided with London, via Cambridge, a journey which took about four hours. This gave Sheringham a two fold advantage.

Crabs and lobsters caught in the morning, could be in London later that same day, and middle class Londoners discovered the quaint fishing town. As a result fishermen rented out their cottages to visitors, and found that they could earn more money in the summer than they could from the sea in a whole year.

The weather has improved a bit so we go for a walk along the beach. It's still breezy and cool so no dip in the sea for us. Back into town we get a ticket for the North Norfolk Railway,otherwise known as The Poppy Line.Described by the Daily Telegraph as one of the UK's great five heritage railways, The Poppy Line offers a lovely scenic ride from Sheringham along the coast to Weybourne and through the heathland to Holt.

Both Steam and vintage diesel Trains are used and each Station along the route has a Museum, The Weybourne Station is where all the restoration work is done.

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North Norfolk Steam Railway.
North Norfolk Steam Railway.
295 km (183 miles) traveled
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photo by: tj1777