Mad Ideas: Long Walks: King's Lynn to Cromer along the shoreline

other mad ideas: long walks

To my father, who taught me the joy of walking.


Date Distance Whither Accommodation Route
day 1 17 miles? Hunstanton ? along the dikes and flood defences to Snettisham, then along the beach
day 2 15 miles? Wells-next-the-Sea ? along the beach. channels at Thornham, Brancaster, Burnham
day 3 20 miles Cromer ? along the beach. channels at Wells and Blakeney Point
Total: 52 miles?

General notes

This is a different sort of walk. The Norfolk coastline is beautiful and features huge empty expanses of sand, punctuated by channels which drain the saltmarshes behind. I have waded the channels at Brancaster (to the wreck of the SS Vina) and at Wells, at low tide, and the heightened sense of isolation is amazing.

There are five channels worth mentioning: at Thornham, Brancaster, Burnham, Wells, and Blakeney Point. None is wider than 100 metres at a really low tide. The currents in the channels can certainly be very dangerous, especially as the tide is going out; I estimate that they peak at 5-15 knots and do sometimes sweep swimmers out to sea. However, there is a long period around low water when they are easy to swim or even wade. I asked a boatman at Morston and he told me that even the Blakeney Point channel was wade-able at low tide. That is the widest and most challenging channel (it drains and refills a huge area, from Stiffkey to Cley).

There may be nowhere sensible to run to between Wells and Blakeney Point (about 5 miles), so one would have to do both at a single low tide. There is dry ground, with trees, at the East Hills. The 25,000 scale map shows a path through the saltmarshes at Stiffkey; that would have to be researched.

Ditto the pair at Brancaster and Burnham (i.e. along the length of Scolt Head Island). There is dry ground on the island, and a path marked which is presumably only passable at low tide.


Volunteers very tentatively sought. Must be strong swimmer, good walker, good company, and have loose grip on sanity.

Day 1

Accommodation: ?

Day 2

Accommodation: ?

Day 3

Accommodation: Davy Jones' Locker.