Blakeney Point

North Norfolk's Amazing natural phenomena

There is an incredible geological history to north Norfolk, going back to ice ages and when dinosaurs roamed the planet. There are five natural phenomena which provide a great insight into how north Norfolk was made, how it evolved and where you can see these wonders today. (And we can’t include the Broads National Park as the Broads were man made!).

 

Discover Unique North Norfolk:

The Great Chalk Reef. Just off the coast of Sheringham and Cromer, a few feet under the sea, is the longest chalk reef in the world! Stretching for over twenty miles, the reef is part of a chalk stream that reaches right back to the white cliffs of Dover. At 100-million years old, the reef formed at a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth and is now an ideal feeding ground for the famous Sheringham lobster and Cromer crab, which makes gives them a unique sweet taste.
Cromer Calk Reef

Blakeney Point. Part of the National Trust’s National Nature Reserve, Blakeney Point is home to the largest seal colony in England during the winter when it’s the season for grey seals to have their pups. Blakeney Point is made up of a four-mile long sand and shingle spit which you can reach on foot from Cley-next-the-Sea (when it’s not cordoned off to protect nesting birds).

Blakeney Point, within the Norfolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, was created by a longshore drift process which is when the wind and tides from the north-east impact directly on Cromer. The pressure is then pushed west and south which moves sand which resulted in the creation of a ‘spit’ across the River Glaven estuary mouth.

Seeing the seals and their pups is a wonderful sight, and the safest and best way to see them is by boat from Morston Quay.

HOW TO SEE THE SEALS IN NORTH NORFOLK

Blakeney Point

Cromer Ridge. Beacon Hill, behind West Runton, is the highest point in the whole of East Anglia and forms the pinnacle of the Cromer Ridge. This is a nine-mile stretch of upland dating back to the last ice age and was caused by a terminal moraine. A moraine is formed accumulation of glacial debris and a terminal moraine forms the snout of a glacier at which point debris, that has accumulated, is pushed by the front edge of the ice and dumped in a heap.

This has left behind what we now see as unique landmarks including Beeston Bump, a round hill on the cliffs at Sheringham, the heathland lanes that are quiet and therefore great for cycling and finally, the elevated points at the National Trust’s Sheringham Park, which provides spectacular views of the coast all the way to Blakeney Point.

Cromer Forest Bed. The Cromer Forest Bed runs all the way from Weybourne to Kessingland in north Suffolk and was created between half a million and two million years ago; a fossil-rich area, that has revealed some incredible finds. The oldest and best-preserved mammoth skeleton in the world was discovered in the crumbling cliffs at West Runton. A 500,000 year old flint axe was found in Happsiburgh, and human footprints were unearthed dating back 850,000 years making them the earliest evidence of mankind found outside the Great Rift Valley in Africa.

This part of the coast line, now called the Deep History Coast, was also the very last part of Britain joined to the Continent up until around 7,000 years ago, when the link, called Doggerland, was finally submerged.

DEEP HISTORY COAST

BEST PLACES TO GO FOSSIL HUNTING

West Runton Beach

Hunstanton Lines. The striped colourful cliffs at Hunstanton and lines of boulder stones, showcase two linear themed phenomena. The cliffs at Hunstanton show clear tiers of colour, caused by layers of different-coloured rock formed from Carrstone and chalk. The brown Carrstone layer consists of sandstone, the white is chalk and the red layers are coloured by iron from brachiopod fossils. 

At the North Beach in Hunstanton, at low tide, the beach is covered in huge moss-covered stones, which extraordinarily lie in symmetrical lines. It is not known why this has happened but it’s a sight not to be missed.

Hunstanton Cliffs