North Norfolk's deep history coast

The unique Deep History Coast in north Norfolk is home to the earliest evidence of humans in Britain with footsteps left by the UK's first tourists nearly a million years ago. The UK’s biggest mammoth skeleton remains were found at West Runton and a 500,000 year old flint handaxe was discovered in Happisburgh. Discover more about this fascinating coastline steeped in millions of years worth of history.

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Discover the deep history coast

Imagine taking a journey back in time to a day when early humans roamed the land and encountered amazing megafauna as part of daily life. Well, you can experience exactly that along north Norfolk’s Deep History Coast.

When you explore the Deep History Coast, you will come across wonderful beaches between Weybourne and Cart Gap, ideal for fossil and artefact hunting. Follow the Discovery Trail with fact revealing Discovery Points along the way. Take a step back in time when you see a mammoth come to life and then stroll along Happisburgh beach where a flint handaxe was found and footprints were discovered of the first visitors who walked in Norfolk hundreds of thousands of years ago.

For water adventures, go rockpool rummaging and fossil finding at West Runton beach. Some of the creatures you may come across are really not much different from the creatures living here millions of years ago. And it's common to find a fossil along this stretch ranging from a belemnite to hyaena coprolites (fossilised dung!).

Good swimmers can snorkel to an underwater chalk reef between Sheringham and Cromer, dating back to a time when huge wild animals roamed the earth. You can even see how the ancient, now submerged, Doggerland could have looked through amazing technology while letting a Hominin family be your guide!

How the Deep history coast story evolved

The modern-day story of early life in north Norfolk began in 1990 when a local couple discovered a large bone partially exposed at the base of the cliffs in West Runton. Norfolk Museums Service confirmed the find as the pelvic bone of a large Steppe mammoth and further excavations in 1991 and 1995 revealed 85% of the mammoth’s skeleton. The find was not only awe-inspiring for being the largest nearly complete mammoth skeleton known in Britain, but it is also the oldest found in the UK, providing a new understanding of the landscape.

North Norfolk’s beautiful beaches have revealed many other hidden secrets along this 25-mile of cliffed coastline. Fascinating archaeological finds and natural assets have been discovered here and continue to be unearthed, providing an experience of the deepest depths of history! Norfolk has always been shaped by the sea and with every storm comes an artefact waiting to be found, telling a new story from the eroding geology; all of which has provided palaeontologists with evidence of how society evolved.

Exploring the Deep History Coast today, visitors can now see and learn about the life of early humans in Norfolk and the giants who shared this landscape. Experience history first hand through a Discovery Trail, events, exhibitions and exciting new technology, developing history for future generations. So, what are you waiting for? Start your journey back in time today!

West Runton
Deep History Coast App

exploring the deep history coast

The Deep History Coast trail covers 36km of coastline from Weybourne to Cart Gap along the clifftops of the north Norfolk coast. With eleven discovery points along the way, you can find out what the landscape looked like hundreds of thousands of years ago.

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