Scratby – Martham Walk – 13.06.2013

Despite the cloud that hung over the sea, it did not stop us from enjoying the seaside views along the cliffs. The view included huge wind farms further down the coast, which do dominate the view somewhat! Our stroll was taking us away from Scratby, a pleasant and peaceful little seaside village, to explore the hamlets of Hemsby and Winterton. We took what is known as the “Promenade”, which was more of a coastal road than a what I know as a traditional coast path. Eventually the road turned off into a residential area, but we discovered a small dusty path, which was to take us behind the houses and into what seemed to be the “dunes”. The path finally caught up with a broad stone path which was to take us through the rest of the sandbanks.

As we wandered along the path, it took us past a myriad of houses built amongst the sand. I am not sure if it was disturbing to see houses appearing out of the sand or very pleasant! I know I would not live in the sand, as I would feel unsafe, but what a great place to be so near to the beach! As we reached the end of the path we discovered that we had reached “Hemsby”. As we had been walking along the path we had seen many notices stating that the dunes were “closed”, I was quite bereft as to why, but on reaching Hemsby, we spotted a poster “Save Hemsby Coastline”. The reason the dunes had been shut off to the public was due to “coastal erosion”. Sadly, over time, the dunes have been slowly eaten away and nearly 8ft of beach has disappeared. The lifeboat station has also suffered as it’s launch ramp was swept away during high tides… Lets hope with local help and with funding that this can be tackled, I can’t even begin to imagine the poor home owners in the dunes if the erosion was to continue šŸ˜¦

From 13.06.2013 – Scratby – Martham Walk

The villages in this region, have names which are of Danish origin, particularly as “By” in Viking meaning Farm/home, therefore Hemsby would have been “Hems Home” or “Hems farm”. This is because during C1th the whole area was under threat by Vikings, they attacked the district and eventually settled here. Hemsby is now a nice little coastal resort attracts tourists, rather than marauding vikings for gold or silver! We continued on our walk past Hemsby along a coastal path which ran parallel to the beach. As I glanced up in the distance we saw a lighthouse which seem to stick out like a sore thumb amongst the trees and houses. Upon deciding to look at the lighthouse we immediately took a detour away from the sandy footpath, which unfortunately led us onto private property, so we had to find an alternative route to find the house. Further along we discovered find a wooden stairwell, which had been built as part of the “north Norfolk country circular walks”, which we both hoped would take us to the Lighthouse.

Upon reaching the top of the stairs, we were rewarded with some lovely views :-). We could see a small boat out at sea, when one of us remarked“Oh Look a Pirate Ship”, I did point out it was just a fishing trawler, however a pirate ship would have been more exciting! The path was a little narrow to walk as it was not well cared for as there were large number of stinging nettles to negotiate! We finally managed to reach the tall lighthouse tower, which we then realised was a private residence and not currently in use. The building was constructed in the mid C19th, with the tower standing nearly 70 feet high and I can imagine when illuminated that it would have been quite powerful. Walking away from the lighthouse we found ourselves amongst country lanes, which was to eventually lead us into the small village of “Winterton On Sea”.

From 13.06.2013 – Scratby – Martham Walk

As we walked through the village, we passed by a small garden where I spotted a lovely invitation is given by the local residents to “sit and watch the world go by”, but we strolled on by to discover more instead tempting as it was. A little notice board highlight that an artist and poet “Francis Mary Ellen Currie” lived in a local cottage in the early C20th. I cannot find out much information about her, I presume she was a local artist? Somehow the name “Winterton” conjures up images of snow and ice to me, but the name is related to farming. The village has throughout the years held fairs, markets and even races, what a very lively place to be :-). Just past the village green is the local parish church, whose tower is currently under renovation. Following the road further on we found a public footpath which took us to the side of the church. Further down the path, we spotted some ponds which were “taped off” for some reason? The path then became more of a lane taking us past farm and up and along the “Low Road”.

As the road took a turn, I spotted a tumbled down ruin through the trees just off the path. I fought my way through the undergrowth, so I could find out what the building was, I could see that it was an abandoned church. This had been “St Mary’s” a church which had fallen into disuse after the C17th. The Church had been used as the “Chapel of Ease” by the local Hall up until this time, the parish was moved over the Winterton after the Reformation, so it had not been used as a Parish Church for quite some time. The whole building has a large sense of Melodrama and I feel that it could be the occasional horror film. I rejoined the path once again, where it became a lane, which was eventually bring us out on the main road. We were now in between two places East and West Somerton, we did not seem to be in either according to the Road signs! We headed towards West Somerton along the roadside, but it was not a particularly good place to walk as their were no pavements šŸ˜¦

Further on down the lane, we passed by a neatly kept War Memorial, which did strike me as strange to find it a bit odd in the middle of a road and rather than in a village? Eventually we reached a junction, where we followed the road round towards the village of Martham. This stretch of road, despite not having any pavements either, was a little easier to negotiate, as we were able to walk along the field banks on the side of the road. We did not spend much time here at this lovely village, but the Village name did intrigue me, it derives from “the ham of the martens”, the home of the polecats. Apparently these creatures were found through the Marshes until about C20th. Perhaps we need to return to discover more of this place! It was here we finished our walk for the day and took the bus back to home for the weekend šŸ™‚

All the photos taken for the walk –

13.06.2013 – Scratby – Martham Walk

One response to “Scratby – Martham Walk – 13.06.2013

  1. Pingback: Clacton On Sea – Walton On the Naze Walk – 03.08.2013 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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