This post was to be christened “Overstrand and Poppyland”, but I realised as I was writing it that I had no decent photos of Poppys from our trip to Norfolk!
This week I was on holidays in Overstrand. Overstrand is a village on the North Norfolk coast, between Cromer and Mundesley. It was once (or a part of it was) a small fishing station known as Beck Hythe. In the latter part of the 19th century Overstrand came to prominence, and became known as “the village of millionaires”.
All of this followed a visit of the London journalist and travel writer Clement Scott to North Norfolk (including Overstrand). In 1883, the Daily Telegraph printed an article which Scott had written about his visit to the north Norfolk coast.
In his writings, Scott gave the wider area the name Poppyland. His writing was responsible for notable members of London society visiting and investing in homes in the area. Ironically, Scott was unhappy at the results of his popularization of this previously pristine area.
The Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens worked at Overstrand, designing Overstrand Hall (though this was in his early Arts and Crafts style rather than the neoclassical style for which he is famed) for Charles William Mills, 2nd Baron Hillingdon, The Pleasaunce for Cyril Flower, 1st Baron Battersea and the Methodist Church in Overstrand (a very striking building which just happened to be opposite the beer garden of the local pub).
We stayed in a small cottage about 5 minutes walk from the beach, which is lovely but entirely disappears at high tide. At low tide, which coincided with the end of the day when we visited, the beach is great and the bonus was the colours and light which were amazing.
While we were there we spotted half of the foundations of a house, jutting from the cliff edge. As with much of the Norfolk coast, erosion continues to be a major problem. The soft boulder clay cliffs slump because of the water running through the clay, and the loose material on the beach is removed by high tides. A number of cliff drains and boreholes have been built to try to reduce the erosion this process causes. Overstrand has a sea wall that gives way to timber revetments. It is expected that major repair works will be needed in the near future to maintain these defences.
It’s a very relaxed little village, and is happy in itself with its position as a tourist destination. Sea fishing and crabbing still goes on, but tourism is clearly the major industry and employer in the area. I sometimes found myself wondering if I had slipped into a little bit of Spain or Australia in the UK, partly down to the weather, partly the clear seas and pristine beaches and particularly the colours. Our son certainly enjoyed running into and out of the sea, though his was very concerned on one visit when it was high tide. “Beach gone!”
I can heartily recommend the local pub, the White Horse, which serves great fish and chips, crab and other seafood. I plan to return at some point – while I enjoyed our last visit to North Norfolk, nothing beats being able to walk to the sea.
We made time for a short walk along the sea front on our last night and I’m glad we did, the light was simply outstanding and while I would have killed to have had a wider lens with me the 35mm in the RX1 did a great job with minimal flare (which was easily removed in post).
These pictures were taken with my Fuji X cameras, my D800E and my RX1.
Lenses used include the Zeiss Touit 32mm, Zeiss Touit 12mm, Nikon 14-24mm and the Nikon 50mm F1.8G