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Wells-next-the-Sea >  Google™ Map Sep 2016  Norfolk Coat of Arms

wella Anglian (a) spring. Population - 2,165.

England-Norfolk Flag UK > England > Norfolk

Sep 2016

Norfolk Coat of Arms

10,000 people a day can visit here in high season and with a population of less than a quarter of that, two words... gridlock!

Parking can be problematic and a new one[1], just west of town, should alleviate that. This will save you time even trying to bother on the quayside or down by the Buttlands or in Stearman's Yard before you head off to Hunstanton, instead, in a huff.

[1] It was so new, the Tarmac™ was still warm and it didn't even show up on Google™ Maps, yet.

Up here in North Norfolk, it's not 'on-sea' or 'by-the-sea' but the clue is in the name. It should really be 'fairly-near-the-sea' since the salt water's nearly a mile from the fish and chips, even more when the tide's oot.

The North Sea does visit occasionally, down the East Fleet Channel, and in 2013 the highest ever recorded tide saw this area under two foot of seawater.

Wells-next-the-Sea - East Fleet Channel
Wells-next-the-Sea - The Granary

The safest place to be that night was in the gantry of the old granary. This turn of the 20th-century structure didn't stop supplying the cereal until 1990 and is now given over to the residential or 'Luxury Apartments' if you'd rather.

The bad weather prompted a visit by David Cameron, no less, and a new, glass flood defence has been installed to prevent a repeat performance. That's good news for those who dwell luxuriously, no longer having to worry about plodging to the paper shop.

It's fairly standard fayre down on the front and don't even think about trying to park here.

The quayside's the place for a spot of 'crabbing' and you can stay overnight on the Albatros, just shown, an old Dutch schooner so those pancakes served onboard aren't nearly as random as first thought[1].

Wells-next-the-Sea - Quayside
Wells-next-the-Sea - Salt Marsh

Nice views over the salt marsh, which dominates the local landscape. If you're not from these parts and you're visiting for the first time, this alien looking terrain really is quite captivating.

You can walk out to most of it where it looks to be mainly inhabited by dog-walking birdwatchers and dog-watching birds.

[1] This used to be true. They've since shipped it down to Maldon for restoration and it may or may not return.

  The Golden Fleece (The Quay)

Down on the quay with a beer garden out back although it's not known what the Indian elephant and the Chinese dragon are supposed to signify?

Wells-next-the-Sea - The Golden Fleece

The Fakenham Tandoori or the Fortune House takeaway at last orders, perhaps?

The streets behind the quayside retain a traditional fishing village feel and there's quite a throng along Staithe Street today.

Wells-next-the-Sea - Staithe Street

Why, It's only the annual Wells Pirate Festival weekend although some people's attempts are a bit more half-har-har-ted than others.

It isn't thought that guitar playing pirates were a thing but put a little more effort into that strumming man! It's mid-afternoon and it's not as if it's too earl-eye in the morning, eh?

There's a green area surrounded by some smart-looking, Georgian houses behind Station Road and it's now known that parking around the Buttlands is limited to two hours.

Wells-next-the-Sea - Buttlands Park

So, that's the quayside and the 'musements, done, knick-knack emporiums, done and now the village green, done.

If only there was something else to do here? Some sand say?

The beach is around a mile away, just past the rifle-firing pirates and much to the amusement of today's crowd.

Wells-next-the-Sea - Beach Road
Wells-next-the-Sea - Beach Road

Access is along a purpose-built path or atop the slightly raised sea defence that's expected to stop the new car park from flooding.

The boats that you pass are there to service the offshore wind farm and have no problem getting parked unlike yourselves. Not wanting to bang on too much about the parking, but we will, here's the evidence next to the Pinewoods Holiday Park.

Wells-next-the-Sea - Beach Road
Wells-next-the-Sea - Beach Road

This was once your best bet when town was full and that's the best part of a mile away, remember?

It's strictly one-in, one-out today and they're backing up on Beach Road. Somebody needs to tell them about that new car park[1] but it's so new, even a bloke with a walkie-talkie doesn't seem to know about it.

[1] Enough with that new car park already!

  Abraham's Bosom

Fun for all the family at a biblically named bit of leisure that's part of the Pinewoods Holiday Park. It's largely a boating lake but with a small sideline in trampolining.

Admittedly, most of them are here for the beach today, which is, quite frankly, ridiculous. That's meant in a good way, beach-wise, and even that vast, Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm isn't particularly off-putting.

Wells-next-the-Sea - Beach
Wells-next-the-Sea - Beach
Wells-next-the-Sea - Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm

If you're not from these parts and you're visiting for the first time, you'll know what all the fuss about the North Norfolk Coast is now.

There's a chance that an alarm might start sounding and no, that's not because someone's freed up a space in the car park[1].

Wells-next-the-Sea - Beach Huts

The tide can turn quite quickly here and it's there to tell you to get back in off the sandbanks and head back to your hut.

[1] Why don't you give the parking a rest?

The Pinewoods Holiday Park is a clue and just behind the beach you'll find just that. It's not a vast tract of woodland but it leads into the much larger Holkham Nature Reserve, which is mostly salt marsh with a posh house further south.

Wells-next-the-Sea - Pine Woods

That's for another day, there's a long drive north needed so just head towards the Holiday Park and the path back to town.

  Holkham National Nature Reserve

Part of the larger Holkham estate who seem to own all the land around here including the bit that new car park now occupies, oh just let it go man! You can get at the pine woods and the salt marsh from behind the beach although you'll have to pay if you make it all the way to take in Holkham Hall.

There is a time-saving option and the Harbour Railway will take you back to Wells with no need to change but... what's that you ask?

Wells Harbour Railway

Of course SlyBob did! Hey, we were in a hurry. Choo-choo!

Not that it's an option on the next visit. Seems it's gone the way of the Albatros to be replaced with an electric bus and some people call that progress, eh?