Blakeney Point is part of the Blakeney Nature Reserve that is owned and managed by The National Trust. It is a shingle spit created by the sea, where nature has taken hold. Many birds breed here, along with both common and grey seals. The shingle spit extends out from Weybourne, and as it grew in a westerly direction, the busy medieval ports of Wiveton and Cley-next-the-Sea gradually lost access to the sea. By the seventeenth century, they'd become all but unnavigable. Blakeney harbour survived and can still be used by small boats today.
Although this is a simple out and back walk along the North Norfolk coast, this is not an easy stroll. It’s walking on the stone shingle that makes this walk difficult, not ups and downs!
To make it even harder, the shingle slopes down to the sea, so when the tide is in, you can end up walking 6-ish miles on a sloped surface (not great for your knees and ankles). We have found that walking at low tide is easier as you get to walk on the sand which is both softer and flatter. However, if we come for a day out, we don’t always get a choice of time to walk!
Despite not living in Norfolk, this has become our favourite walk. So far, we've attempted it nine times, four times during the summer months, and five times in the
winter. Each time, we try to walk to the Lifeboat
House - but we don't always get there. In the winter, grey seals raise their pups on the shingle, and - on two of our winter walks - they clustered in such numbers
near the start of the path through the sand dunes that we turned back so as not
to disturb them. But even if we don't make it to the Lifeboat Station, it's still a fantastic walk with just the sea and the wind for company.
Walking on Blakeney Point has become an annual tradition for us, and we choose the nicest day in the last week of December to drive up from our Northamptonshire home.
Young Grey Seal Pups on Blakeney Point © essentially-england.com
Our walk to the Lifeboat House starts from the Cley-next-the-Sea beach car park. It’s a walk of around seven miles, although you can easily extend the walk around the beach and sand dunes. Depending on the tide and time of year, some parts of Blakeney Point are fenced off. If you would like to see seals, then the best times to go are between June and August for the common seals and November to January for the grey seals.
To start the walk, head towards the sea and turn left. The choice is yours as to where you walk. The top of the ridge is level, but the shingle stones are very small and slide as you walk. Closer to the sea, the stones are bigger, but on a slope. As you walk away from the beach car park area, you'll soon lose sight of people. It takes only a short while for you to find solitude, and enjoy the huge skies and the crashing of the waves.
Keep your eyes on the sea, and - as you walk along - you'll eventually start seeing the odd grey seal popping their head up out of the waves. It's like they are watching you!
Continue walking along the beach until you see the National Trust information kiosk up on the ridge. Here, you'll find the latest information on the birds and seals, and whether any areas are closed off. The kiosk also makes a great hiding place for young grey seals, so make sure you look down as well as at the info boards!
Shortly after passing the kiosk, a clear sandy path veers off to the left. The roar of the waves disappears as you cross the dunes, and the calls of birds take over. Follow this path through the sand dunes to an area of huts, and onto the Lifeboat House. There is a handy bench here which makes an ideal picnic spot, especially if you stopped in the deli in Cley for provisions beforehand.
To return to the car park retrace your steps, although, if allowed, there are wooden boardwalks through the dunes to explore. Depending on the time of year and the tide, you may also be able to explore the great sandy area around the point.
It always feels longer on the way back as limbs start to ache and you start searching the horizon for the roof of the car park hut. When the weather is clear, it’s surprising how far away you can see that roof, and it’s such a pleasure to eventually walk towards the fishing boats and their tackle on Cley Beach. We’re home!
We’ve done this walk in all sorts of weather from scorching sun whilst wearing just tee shirts and shorts, to getting soaked on the return leg one cold December afternoon, to being wrapped up in thermals and scarves to face strong winds and freezing temperatures on Christmas Day 2021. But we always stop and have a picnic somewhere along the beach. Yes, even in December!
We hope you enjoy the peace and solitude of this walk as much as we do. Please ensure you follow all the National Trust instructions to avoid causing stress and harm to the wildlife on Blakeney Point.
For more information, please visit the National Trust website here.
Norfolk has no shortage of fabulous holiday accommodation whether you want to spend time on the beach, love boating or want to explore inland. You may covet a tiny fisherman's cottage like the one in Blakeney we kept returning to. You may like something larger and more modern like a loft overlooking the Norfolk Broads, or the right place for you may be a chic city apartment perfectly placed to explore Norwich...
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