A holiday guide to the coastal village of Blakeney on the North
Norfolk Coast. In the thirteenth century Blakeney was ranked fourth
of Englands top ten ports and provided ships to carry the King over
to Sluys in Flanders. However, the village thrived as much on
smuggling as it did on its naval activities. Pictures of
Blakeney can be found in our Gallery Section.
Nowadays the estuary is silted up and is only navigable to small
pleasure crafts and small fishing vessels with shallow draughts.
This is a very popular place at any time of the year, given its
picturesque quality and the fact that it is also located in an Area
of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village is sheltered by four
miles of sand and shingle known as Blakeney Point which is owned by
the National Trust.
Blakeney Point has over 1,000 acres of sand dunes and is a nature
reserve, home to the common and grey seal. It is also a bird
sanctuary with a wealth of bird life including Terns, Oyster
Catchers, Plovers and Redshank. It is possible to walk out to
Blakeney Point from Cley but it is a ten
mile hike of rough walking. So easier to take advantage of boat trip
from either Blakeney and Morston Quay
to get to the point.
The village itself is full of pretty cobbled
cottages located in narrow streets that lead down to the Quay.
On a hill overlooking the marsh stands the church of St. Nicholas,
patron saint of fishing. Although Blakeney does not have a beach as
such, many people take advantage of low tide to enjoy a paddle in
the creek or lounge around on one of the sand banks.
For Holiday Accommodation in Blakeney - Self Catering - Holiday
Cottages - Hotels - Bed and Breakfast check out our Holiday
A pleasant walk, starts from the national trust car park next to
Blakeney Quay and leads out along an embankment, which heads towards
the sea and the point. With marshland on your right, still grazed by
cows with salt marshes and small tidal creeks on your left, it
is a good place to observe migrating birds with binoculars. The
village has a small number of shops including a well stocked store,
inn and hotels.
There is an old saying that Blakeney people go up
the steeple to crack a small nut with a five farthing beetle OR
Blakeney people sit on a steeple eat hazelnuts with a five farthing
famous old Crown and Anchor Inn, were
reputed to be the haunt of smugglers, was demolished in 1921 to make
way for the Blakeney Hotel. It was affectionately known as the
Barking Dickey; the word Dickey being an old Norfolk name for
donkey. The Inn was the home of John Curl who every Thursday used to
brew his own beer and then sell it for 1 1/2d a pint. Blakeney Hotel
was opened in 1923 having been built at a cost of £31,000.
legend of Old
Shuck; the famous huge black ghost dog associated with Norfolk,
is reputedly to have been seen in Little Lane, together with a
ghostly wagon and horses.
In olden days it was said that there were Hytersprites out on the
marshes, long legged spidery creatures. These tales were probably
used to keep youngsters in at night and strangers off the marshes,
no doubt by smugglers
and others not keen to have their nocturnal activities publicised.
long forgotten Carmelite Friary
stood out on the marshes close to the mouth of the river Glaven.
Some stone remains of this small church are still visible, on a rise
in the corner of the field where the Norfolk Coastal Path veers
round to Cley. It was here that vessels going out to sea were
blessed. Mariners and fishermen used to put offerings into an iron
box fixed to the outside of the building for a successful voyage and
a safe return to port.
Tidal marks opposite the National Trust
Car Park on the wall. Which shows just how high the tide has reached
in the past!