Sunday, 8 July 2018

An Evening Under Hunstanton Cliffs

Hunstanton has something for everyone, at least that was the way it was planned when the whole town was built as a resort back in the late nineteenth century. Its wild west end is on flat land and contains the fairground rides, candyfloss sellers and fish 'n' chip shops, while towards the east, as one gradually ascends, it becomes more genteel with flower gardens and a bowling green.

It even has its own archaeological site, the remains of St Edmund's Chapel, which dates back to at least medieval times, though it looks to me as though some rebuilding took place to make it a more pleasing ruin according to Victorian tastes.

But if you continue on, past the coastguard tower and the lighthouse, you can make your way down a sandy track to the beach, a place of natural wonderment that my brother and I had visited when we were children.

It was here that I first discovered, at the age of about five, that the world was not entirely composed of brown mud, as anyone brought up in my neck of the woods might reasonably suspect, but of rocks of wildly different colours. I had recently stumbled upon the power of the question "Why?" but my mother and her friend couldn't give me any explanation for this geological conundrum.

Equally fascinating - and equally inexplicable - was that the tide went in and out. But somehow the waves kept rolling in, even when the tide was going out! And in the rockpools were alien forms of life; not just the worms, caterpillars and spiders with which I'd long been on intimate terms.

High up on the multi-coloured cliffs are the nests of Fulmars. We didn't notice these when we were children for the very good reason that they weren't there then; it wasn't till 1965 that they spread around the coast to nest here, overlooking the activities of the holiday makers.

Despite their similar appearance they are not "seagulls" at all, but are related to albatrosses. They patrol along the cliffs, gliding on stiff, outstretched wings, effortlessly riding the updraught.

Further along, as the beach becomes more rocky, we found these creations. Have the rocks been cleverly balanced by a serious installation artist or are they the work of imaginative children? Is there indeed any difference between the two? A young man was making a time-lapse video of these structures as the tide came in and the sun went down. Which would fall first? The sculptures or the darkness? We decided to wait and see.

We were joined in our vigil by an unlikely companion in the form of an inquisitive duck which seemed to adopt my brother as some kind of surrogate mother and stayed closely by his side!

The sun sank slowly in the western sky. By a quirk of geography Hunstanton is the only place on the east coast of Britain which actually faces west. Check it on a map if you don't believe me.

The rock figures remained, defiant and watchful, like so many stone Meerkats, as we turned to leave.

Take care.


  1. Thanks for the great virtual trip to the shore with you. Would love to have gone back the next day to see if the cairns were still there!

  2. Such a beautiful place! I would love to walk that shoreline there. Your photos are truly grand.

  3. What a beautiful place! I love those rock formations so much.

  4. Hi John - wonderful photos ... and how funny they couldn't answer your questions back then ... but great you've told us a little about the geology of the area - cheers Hilary

  5. Wonderful colours and reflections on image number 5 - it looks as if you were joined by a female eider duck during your evening vigil.

  6. Lovely colourful scenes. I like the houses on the first photo a lot, must be a nice place to live.

  7. Beautiful colourful photos. I love those rock formations, what an interesting find. The sunset is gorgeous. What a lovely area to be able to stroll through.
    Thank you!

  8. I remember our visit there. Would love to have seen the sunset! Les posted a phot that puzzled me until I read your post--how could the sun set over the water on the east coast? Now I know.

  9. Beautiful photos. This one of the many places on the 'to visit' list for me, I always hear nice things about it. I like the photos of the rock towers :)

  10. Hunstanton Cliffs - I remember it well. It is where I saw my first Northern Fulmar.

  11. Thanks for the tour and the walk down memory lane! Your photos are really great and help tell your story.

  12. Thanks for visiting my blog John. I did get a bit carried away with my number of images.

    Love your images especially number 5 and then the ones of the sunset. lovely area.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'll try to answer any questions via a comment or e-mail within the next day or two (no hard questions, please!).