In Mark’s second “travel postcard” he explores the North Norfolk coast around the lovely town of Cromer…
After a day and a half photographing the big city of Norwich I was in need of a breath of sea air and a trip to Cromer seemed in order, so on a pleasant late summer’s morning I found myself heading north from Norwich on the Bittern Line. The line extends just past Cromer to Sheringham so I decided to explore here first and spend the afternoon at Cromer. At Sheringham the busy High Street runs down to a small shingle beach and a seafront protected by a huge concrete sea wall which could be a huge eyesore, save for the sympathetic murals painted on the town-side depicting historical fishing scenes alongside informative text. The area around the station was just as busy as the beach, as next door to the network rail station is the heritage North Norfolk Railway (or Poppy Line) station which operates steam services from Sheringham to Holt. The pretty station was heaving with steam fans as 60163 Tornado was in town, getting ready to haul the next service.
Back in Cromer I strolled from the station into the centre of town and arrived at the impressive Church of St Peter and St Paul, boasting the tallest church tower in Norfolk from which (the sign said) fine views of the town and beach could be had. I was prepared to part with the nominal fee to find out and after a short discussion on whether my camera rucksack would fit through the narrow staircase at the top of the tower I set of up the stairs (with bag). I was glad I did take the bag, as it was easy enough to duck down to get through the narrow opening out onto the roof but I didn’t fancy the idea of walking up the stairs carrying a camera as both hands were needed on the way up! And leaving it at the bottom of the tower would have been as mistake, as the views along the coast were indeed very fine in both directions.
From the church it was just a short walk to the main reason for my visit – the magnificent pier, complete with the Pavilion Theatre and lifeboat station at the end. I had a good look round before treating myself to a late lunch of Cromer crab salad (lovely!) sat outside on the pier. The pier made a great photographic subject, but I really wanted to capture it at dusk, so I decided to walk along the coast to Overstrand in the afternoon and return as the sun was setting. I headed back through town to The Gangway – the old ramp running down to the beach which was completed in 1902 when no doubt the first sound in the mornings was the clumping of horses hooves down the cobbled street, ready to haul goods up to the town. From here I picked up a well trodden path along the coast to Overstrand Lighthouse and beyond to the village of Overstrand itself.
The cliff path overlooked a long stretch of quiet sandy beach with just one or two dog walkers along the way, so when I arrived at Overstrand I made my way down to the bottom of the cliff as there was plenty of time, and the tide was far enough out, to wander back to Cromer along the beach before sunset. Arriving back in Cromer, I passed lines of fishing boats at the top of the beach along with rusty old tractors used to haul them up from the sea. At the pier I set up the tripod as dusk approached and was rewarded with some fine twilight as the lights came on to get the images of the pier that I was after.