Walk to Cley Next the Sea
We were staying in Blakeney for a week. Mostly, this was lovely, though a couple of things were unexpected.
The quay at Blakeney is very pretty, with a few boats, and views of the river meandering through the salt marshes. It’s a wonderful place for watching birds, and even has a duck pond (my kind of place). The duck pond is surrounded by a tall electric fence, which keeps the ducks safe from foxes. The pond was full of exotic ducks (much prettier than the ducks on my own pond) but also had a lot of wild mallards who flew in for a holiday. There were ducklings too—but not for long, as the seagulls swooped in and ate them.
Anyway, next to this, leading away from the quay, is a footpath, which looks as if it’s heading for the sea. When I booked the house, I thought Blakeney was next to the sea. Every day, a long line of hikers set off to walk this footpath, complete with woolly hats and leather boots and binoculars (for bird spotting). We decided to join them (though we don’t own binoculars, and my family is way too noisy for bird-spotting).
The pathway bends towards the coast, tantalising you with sand dunes in the distance. You walk along the raised footpaths, above the boggy salt marshes, and then, just as you feel you’re almost at the sea, the pathway curves back, away from the beach. You can see dunes, and fishing boats, and hear the whoosh of waves, but you never actually reach the beach because a river winds alongside the path, cutting between the town and the beach.
Instead, you pass acres of rushes, golden brown and hissing in the breeze, tall as a man; and fields of cattle grazing, and the river—green brown and sluggish, sitting in a valley of mud with long-legged birds busy on the banks.
Eventually, the pathway takes you to Cley Next the Sea. (People in Norfolk have an aversion to prepositions, which I don’t really understand.) As you approach the town, there is a windmill. You can admire the scenery, and breathe the salty air, and discuss (at length) why there is no ‘to’ in the name, and what it is like to sleep in “a coffin” (see previous blog, Bea was not impressed with her bunk-bedded child’s room…)
We had drinks in the garden of The George, and then we walked back to Blakeney. But we never actually saw the sea.
As we returned to the house, we noticed several signs on Blakeney quay, advertising boat trips to see the seals. We decided to book one, and hoped that unlike our walk to the sea, we might actually see some—though if I’m honest, I expected to see tiny black dots in the distance which someone would tell me were seals. I’ll tell you about the trip tomorrow.
Thank you for reading. Hope your day is not disappointing.
Love, Anne x