Norfolk Coastal Walks:
Burnham Overy Staithe to Wells-next-the-Sea

On a fine June morning we left our Northamptonshire home for the 125-mile drive to Wells-next-the-Sea to do stage 4 of our North Norfolk Coast Path walk, which is a part of our Norfolk Coastal Walks series. Naturally, as we were still in asparagus season, we stopped at our favourite farm shop in Sharrington to pick up fresh supplies for our next few dinners. We arrived in Wells-next-the-Sea at about midday - just in time to grab lunch from our favourite fish & chip shop, which we ate beside the harbour with its great views across the water and saltmarsh. Wow, I’ve used favourite in the last two sentences, do you think we love north Norfolk?

Once fed, we walked the short distance to the bus stop to catch the bus to the start our Burnham Overy Staithe to Wells-next-the-Sea walk. Now we’re not new to the north Norfolk coast and have done several walks from Wells-next-the-Sea, including walks to Holkham Hall, through the pine tree wood, and along the coast to Morston. However, even though we’ve driven, and possibly cycled, through Burnham Overy Staithe we had never stopped and explored this part of the coast. We got off the bus in Burnham Overy Staithe outside The Hero pub with its Lord Nelson sign swinging in the gentle breeze and were ready to start our next adventure of our Norfolk coastal walks.

The River Burn in Burnham Overy Staithe © essentially-england.comThe River Burn in Burnham Overy Staithe ©

Norfolk Coastal Walks - Burnham Overy Staithe to Wells-next-the-Sea Map

Our walk from Burnham Overy Staithe to Wells-next-the-Sea is just under 7 miles long and almost completely flat. It follows the Norfolk Coast Path, which is well signposted, but we do recommend taking some form of map just to make sure you follow the route correctly. If you use mapping software, then you can follow our route on your mobile device. If you use a GPS tracking device and need the gpx file, then use the “Discover more info about this tour” link on the Komoot map to download the file. We usually carry both forms of mapping on us just in case something goes wrong!

From The Hero pub we walked along the A149 road away from Wells-next-the-Sea, past the War Memorial to turn right onto the Norfolk Coast Path along West Harbour Way. The road passes a few houses and then turns right and alongside the River Burn where there were hundreds of boats waiting for action. We’d only been walking for a few minutes and the views were already opening up. As the road turned right, we continued to the gravelled path that followed beside the river and is part of the sea defences.

The Norfolk Coast Path out of Burnham Overy Staithe © essentially-england.comThe Norfolk Coast Path out of Burnham Overy Staithe ©

This was a lovely stretch of the walk - on the edge between land and sea. On our right we could see deer amongst the grazing cattle and on our left we watched wading birds hunting through the mud. We’re not very good at identifying the birds, but we did see Avocets, Shelducks, and possibly a Little Egret. It was very peaceful, with wide open skies and very little noise pollution. It's one of the things we love about this part of Norfolk.

Heading for the Sand Dunes near Burnham Overy Staithe © essentially-england.comHeading for the Sand Dunes ©

After a few twists and turns, the landscape changed from saltmarsh to sand dunes, and this was where having our GPS device and phone map helped ensure that we stayed on the correct path. The path shown on the map above stays between the sand dunes, which can be difficult to navigate.  So as the tide was out, we walked along the beach which was easier than walking through lose sand. Also, after climbing the dunes we found that the Norfolk Coast Path signpost was right next to the beach.

Peeping over the Sand Dunes to the Beach near Burnham Overy Staite © essentially-england.comPeeping over the Sand Dunes to the Beach near Burnham Overy Staite ©

The next section of the walk - along the beach - was simply stunning. We hardly saw a person and felt like we were the only people left in the world. There was so much empty space!

Walking on the Beach from Burnham Overy Staithe to Wells-next-the-Sea © essentially-england.comWalking on the Beach Towards Wells-next-the-Sea ©

We followed the beach for about 2 miles to the boardwalk at Holkham Gap. Here you have a choice of continuing along the beach to Wells-next-the-Sea or taking the boardwalk through the pine trees to the Lookout café at the end of Lady Anne’s Drive in Holkham. We chose the latter and headed off through the trees. Our Wells to Holkham Hall walk had come this way and we really enjoyed the pine trees. After refreshments at the Lookout - try the excellent home-made ice cream! - we followed the Norfolk Coast Path signs along a gravelled path alongside the woodland back to the Beach Café in Wells-next-the-Sea.

The Holkham Gap Boardwalk © essentially-england.comThe Holkham Gap Boardwalk ©

The final mile along the footpath from the Beach Road back into Wells-next-the-Sea was a little busier than anything we'd seen so far that day. But we'd arrived with the tide, and as we walked we could watch the fishing boats coming in to land their catches. Of all the times we’ve visited here, I think this was only the second time we’ve seen boats going in and out of the harbour.

The latest of our Norfolk coastal walks made a wonderful day out and, on a weekday outside of the school holidays, it was very quiet. This really was one of those great Norfolk coast walks that we love, with its big skies, empty beaches, and peacefulness. What a shame that we had to drive home afterwards…

Wells-next-the-Sea Harbour © essentially-england.comWells-next-the-Sea Harbour ©

Are You Planning a Holiday in Norfolk?

Where You Could Stay

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...

Sea Holly House
Sleeps 6

Ludham Hall Cottage
Sleeps 4

The Old Forge
Sleeps 4

To see other holiday cottages in Norfolk click here. Or check out holiday cottages in other parts of England by clicking here.

Or you could try a family orientated holiday resort in Norfolk. There's plenty of choice...

If you need to find a hotel, then try one of these search platforms...


What You Could See and Do

It's next to impossible to be bored in Norfolk, there's just so much to do and see. The list below includes some of our favourite places

For more inspiration try our Things to do in Norfolk page.

For more walking ideas return from our Norfolk Coastal walks page to the Norfolk page.