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The Natural Beauty of Thornham and Holme The North Norfolk Coastline
As I sit in the motorhome, parked for the night here at Thornham, alone in the dark and surrounded by natural salt marshes, I often wonder why but when all you can hear is the wind, the odd bird and the waves crashing on the beach in the distance I then know why I have changed my life.
Thornham is about 8 miles from Hunstanton, its a small village like most of the coastline village here, one of the main attractions is the church, it is full of magnificent architecture and has an elegant 14th-century painted chancel or rood screen.
The village buildings are typical Norfolk types, either flintstone or red brick carstone I guess, many of the buildings picture postcode perfect. Thornham’s main attraction is the coal barn that stands on the saltmarsh. A building that has stood the test of time and tides and one that has been photographed by many from around the world (I remember one man photoshopping a tornado crossing the marsh behind the old barn, ohh really lol, Hollywood hits Norfolk!). The barn stands next to well creek, the largest creek at Thornham, it has old boats that are slowly rotting away, its a strange place, of bland yet stunning beauty, I kind of like it when the weather is rough, it gives off that old-world look and feel.
Like all of the marshes along this coast, it is tidal, on certain days and nights, when the tide meter measures over 7.5 the wetlands takes on what only can be described a stunning show of natures power, when the sea takes back the marshes, it turns the salt marsh into one giant lake, it really is stunning to watch, no matter the weather.
As the tide rises, the water creeps towards the old coal barn, it slowly covers the road, so any unknowing motorists caught may well see the vehicles set sail out into the north sea. Is it dangerous? No its not if you use common sense and know the tide times and heights, I’m now writing this from the cab bedroom with the window overlooking the marshes, it’s just gone 21.42 which was the high tide, it was a 6.3 m tide, the tide hasn’t covered the road but is 8 feet from the motorhome and still in well creek but to the top of the bank almost, I can clearly see the stars shining brightly with the moon now appearing from the clouds. Anyway back to the tides, over 7 m will see the road covered and around the eight marks become trapped on the small carpark that’s at the end of the road along the track past the old coal barn. It is well worth parking there and becoming trapped for the experience, knowing mother nature has stopped the rat race for around 2 hours, I often got to get stuck, and it is even better if you on your own at night, just you and nature!
Walk along the riverbank; you will have views of the marshes and Holme nature reserve and the church, plus the dunes in the background, the walk is about a mile and is excellent in the summer months, often people will not walk that far to reach the beach so often you will be the only person there. Once there the grasses dunes are beautiful, it’s full of birds and look out for the odd toad and maybe crawling across the sand between the grasses. The beach is stunning, its a mix of sand, shingle and of course mud. Its been one of my favourite places since a child and I asked my x partner to marry me on the beach, but things didn’t go right, I managed to escape a fate worse than death.
For the artist, it offers a range of styles, from colourful sunsets to moody black and whites, a long lens works really well here for landscapes and of course for the wildlife too, loads of birds, I have heard bittern with their deep booming calls, it shocked me to listen to them here. There are barn owls ofter seen over the nature reserve. Titchwell nature reserve a pay to watch nature place!! just down the road and why pay when you can see it all here, also for me there are far too many people, and it feels too well kept, not very wild at all.
Wrote on the 18th November 2019 from Thornham.
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