Norfolk Walk: Brancaster Beach
Spring is a particularly good time for this surprisingly varied walk along the beach at Brancaster, with its shorter option, because of all the water fowl on the salt marshes.
Start: At the Beach Car Park on Beach Road, Brancaster (tides permitting)
Map: Explorer 250 G/R 772451
Distance: 7.5 miles (or 4.25 miles)
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Public Transport: The Coast Hopper bus travels through Brancaster along the Coast Road (A149) between Cromer and Hunstanton.
Timetables: 0871 2002233, travelineeastanglia.co.uk
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Spring is a particularly good time for this surprisingly varied walk, with its shorter option, because of all the water fowl on the salt marshes.
Although lots of the tracks and quiet lanes are very straight, they are certainly not boring and there are wonderful views over the undulating countryside. The lovely sandy beach is always a pleasure to visit.
St Mary's Church, also well worth visiting, is a typical 14th century church, but has earlier origins. There is evidence of Christianity at the site from before Saxon times. Some Roman stone, probably from the nearby Roman fort of Branodunum, can be found in the building. There are also two Norman windows, and of particular note is the intricate 15th century font cover.
The permissive path is available until 2020. There is a refreshment hut near the car park that is open each day from Easter until October 10am-5pm. There is also the Ship Inn on the A149 in the village.
Note that the road to the car park floods on big high tides in the spring. Check the tide tables before starting. (brancasterstaithe.co.uk/localinfolist.asp). If the road is flooded the walk can be start from the Church, at the junction with the A149, and then finish the walk back along the banks before the dunes and beside Beach Road.
? From the car park, go back to the road. There are two notice boards near the golf club house with information about the area and the wildlife. Cross the road and go left in front of the public conveniences and up onto the bank that runs parallel with the road going away from the beach. Ignore all the steps to the road and follow the path as it goes right away from the road.
? At a crossing track go left then, on reaching the road, turn right towards the village, now on the Norfolk Coast Path, to reach the crossroads with the Brancaster Church on the left. Cross the main road (A149) and continue into the road (Mill Road) opposite. After a few metres, bear right into Choseley Lane and go uphill past the cemetery. Then follow the track as it bends right and left and goes past School Farm. At a finger post turn right, still signed Norfolk Coast Path.
? For the short walk: After about 300m turn right, just after gaps in the hedges on either side, onto a narrow path past a DEFRA permissive path sign, then follow the instructions below.
? For the longer walk: Continue ahead along the track and, at the crossing lane (Chalkpit Road), turn left for nearly a mile. Then, at the T-junction, turn right. After about three-quarters of a mile, just before reaching a cream house and the staggered crossroads at Choseley Farm ahead, turn sharp right into a lane on the right. On reaching three wind turbines, a mast and some barns, turn right into a signed track – again part of the Norfolk Coast Path. On reaching Chalkpit Lane again, continue ahead back along the track walked earlier. Then, at the narrow path with a DEFRA permissive path sign on the left just before the gaps in the hedge on either side, turn left into the narrow path (where the short walk goes).
? For both walks, continue along this field edge permissive path, downhill with a hedge on the right. There are lovely views to Titchwell village and on to the coast. At the main road (A149), carefully cross rightwards to the enclosed path opposite. Go along this nice path and then along the bank with views over the salt marshes with all its wildlife.
? If there is a very high tide, turn right along the bank to the lane and back to the car park. Otherwise, if the tide permits, where the bank bends right, continue ahead towards the dunes then turn right towards the buildings, walking on either side of the dunes, depending on the state of the tide. Continue past the golf club house — if on the beach, turn right up the slope to the car park, if not keep ahead to reach it.