KEEPING IT REAL ON THE NORTH NORFOLK COAST
Published 22 July 2022
As the mercury hits record levels this week, and the schools break up for the long summer holiday, those of us who call north Norfolk home are bracing ourselves for the seasonal influx of visitors right along the coastline.
Of course, tourism plays a huge part in the local economy, and holidaymakers bring welcome extra custom for pubs, cafes, shops and other local businesses. Most of our coastal towns and villages would be unemployment blackspots without the tourist sector.
Nevertheless, it can sometimes feel – especially in the height of the summer – that the north coast of our county is suffering something of an invasion. Spare a thought for those for whom north Norfolk is home, and who keep its wheels turning all year round. It is for these people that the availability of somewhere affordable to live is rightly in the spotlight.
Imagine, then, my surprise to read a headline in the travel section of last weekend’s Sunday Telegraph which read ‘The 22-mile stretch of British seaside that has it all – except tourists’. The writer, one Sarah Baxter, was referring to the stretch between Weybourne and Happisburgh – hardly a tourist desert.
My first thought was that Ms Baxter must have visited on a wet Wednesday in January, but more detailed reading of her article suggested that while the headline was hyperbole, there is a nugget of truth in what she writes. ‘Stay away from the crowded, comely resorts here, and you’ll find there are plenty of overlooked patches that are worth seeking out’, is her advice.
The journalist reckons that this stretch of coastline strikes a happy balance between what she calls the ‘smashed avocados’ of the coastline further west and the ‘slot machines’ of Great Yarmouth. ‘Neither dominates’ in this stretch of coast, she says, ‘it feels a bit more real.’
While journalists is search of a headline can sometimes overstate a case, I reckon Sarah Baxter has it right about what she calls Norfolk’s ‘Deep History Coast’. This is part of the county which has avoided the worst excesses of ‘Chelsea-on-Sea’, and it’s why this area is increasingly attractive to those seeking a coastal home.
Whilst the Blakeneys and Cleys have seen prices sky-rocket, homes on this stretch of coastline are more affordable, and the communities in which they stand are arguably more ‘real’. No surprise, then, that this stretch of coastline, along with the triangle formed if you join it up with North Walsham, is seeing sustained demand amongst buyers.
Whether the character of this stretch of coastline will remain largely unspoilt as journalists such as Sarah Baxter wax lyrical about it remains to be seen. But it’s a part of our county where the property market combines vibrancy and real-ness – and that’s all too rare in our coastal region.
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