Friday, 17 June 2022

A Day In Sunny Hunny

Every year, at about this time, the people of land-locked Cambridgeshire are seized by a sudden urge to visit the coast. Hunstanton is the nearest and most obvious place to go. From early forays with buckets and spades, to teenage adventures sleeping in beach huts, to later excursions taking elderly parents out for the day, right through to recent visits in search of shorebirds and seabirds - most of them came up for discussion during the course of a recent visit with my brother to "Sunny Hunny", as Hunstanton is less formally known.

St Edmund's Point

St Edmund's point is at the north end of Hunstanton's famous cliffs. There are miles of flat sands to explore, though our usual walk eastwards has been somewhat hampered and restricted by recent changes in the water channel, which drains out the last dregs of the tide.

Hunst'on Beach 

Despite there being a clear line of cliffs at Hunstanton, just a little further east the division of land and sea becomes very indistinct. Twice a day the sea comes in and covers everything, then it withdraws in a half-hearted sort of way leaving pools and channels all over the beach and sandbanks way out to sea.

Over The Dunes And On To The Beach or
"Look at the lully blue sky!"

"Look at the lully (lovely) blue sky!" was first excitedly uttered by my mum's great friend Agnes on an early bus-excursion to the seaside - it's been a catchphrase in the family ever since and must have been repeated every time we've been here.

Beach Colours

The beach huts here are more subtly painted than elsewhere (though there is one pink and purple one among them), but none more tastefully than the sand and sky blue one pictured here.

The Lighthouse

The lighthouse has long since lost its light and is now used as holiday accommodation. It dates from 1840, though a wooden lighthouse stood on the same spot before that. Lights may well have been displayed from the nearby St Edmund's Chapel in the more distant past. This most recent lighthouse was still known as "Chapel Light" in its early days.

The South Beach

The South Beach can be reached by descending a short flight of steps from the amusements, fish and chip shops and candy-floss stalls on the promenade. Later in summer it will be crowded with families with small children, but for now it's the site for school students involved in a surveying exercise.

Fulmar heading north

That "seagull" is not a "seagull" at all. It's a Fulmar, which is more closely related to albatrosses than gulls.

Fulmar heading south

For centuries they were confined to the islands of St Kilda, far out in the Atlantic, but spread into the rest of Scotland in the nineteenth century and into England by 1930. It took them till the 1960s to reach these cliffs.

Wave-Cut Bench

The cliff-line at Hunstanton recedes every winter as storm waves undercut the cliffs and rock topples down. The "wave-cut bench" is the geologist's term for the rock that's left once the seas have done their work and the cliffs have retreated further inland. The flat rocks that remain really do make comfortable benches for the weary wanderer.

Coloured Cliffs

The red colouration is entirely due to iron impurities in the rock.

It's Written In Stone

Where the red and white rocks meet you sometimes get some interesting patterns. I remember being fascinated by these rocks when I was a little boy - and I still find them interesting today.

The Wreck Of The Sheraton

The S T Sheraton was built as a steam-powered trawler, but served in both world wars as a patrol vessel. At the end of WWII it was moored offshore here to serve as a target for trainee bomber pilots. In 1947 she broke free from her moorings during a storm and ran aground beneath Hunstanton cliffs, where she remains to this day.

The Sea As Sculptor

A small part of the Sheraton forms this unintentional free-standing piece. I really should have spent more time photographing the colours and textures of the wreck's rusted carcass. But that will have to wait for another day in Sunny Hunny.

Take care.


  1. Hi John - looks quite gorgeous ... I've been there a couple of times in my life ... and the colours are just beautiful - reminding me of some beaches in Cornwall. Wonderful change in geology ... and yes delightfully beautiful iron spattered stones. Thank you - 'my beach' here in Eastbourne isn't quite as lovely ... but good to be by the sea. Cheers Hilary

  2. It looks absolutely blissful. Thank you.

  3. I've been out with a couple of Sunny Hunnies in my day, but that's a whole other topic. They would have enjoyed this tranquil spot, however.

  4. Great to see, and I'd certainly enjoy splashing over the many channels to get to the real ocean. What lovely cliffs, which have been forming that beach for centuries! Now I've learned a new bird too!

  5. Lovely, John, and interesting. I too was amazed by the colored cliffs you showed! Thanks!

  6. That was such a beautiful walk. It reminded me so much of the minus tides we would walk in Capitola. The beauty of the sands and the cliffs, all the colors. Love this.

  7. I enjoy seeing photos from coastlines in other countries. Great photos and as always great historical comments about the places you visit.

  8. What a fabulous beach. And the cliffs are amazing with the colour variations.

  9. merci pour ce paysage maritime anglais !

  10. Love the coastline, it's beautiful. The lighthouse is a beauty, people will love it as a holiday accomodation. The scenery is pretty.

  11. Sunny Hunny one year and Beautiful Brid the next - our destinations for the Sunday School outings John - I always liked Hunny best because we could row round the harbour (in our best coats!) Occasional visits to Scarborough which I think was a bit further (from Lincoln) but it was always so busy. In any case the fish and chips were best fron Hunny and we were allowedthem on the bus home if we held on to the papers until the organiser came round with his bag and a cloth to wipe hands.

  12. It's fun how those kinds of catchphrases get embedded into family history. It was certainly a lully blue sky the day you went.

  13. Haven't made it to the beach this year and don't think I went last year either. Lots of neat things to explore where you are. Catch phrase used around here: "A Miss Morris short cut" or "Around by Nellie's" to describe taking the long way to a destination.

  14. Yes! Those rock strata make me want to read more geology of the area. And I don't even live there!

  15. Hunstanton looks a great place to take the family. I don't understand why I haven't been there. Must rectify thag next time I'm in Norfolk.

  16. I had never heard of of the Fulmar...learn something new every day. If I could only remember it all.

    I would love those rocks. I have loved rocks for at least 60 years. I have a neighbor that when they go on vacation, they bring me a rock or two. They know that they could not spend $100 dollars and get me anything I liked better.

  17. Lovely day at the beach. The two-tone cliffs are impressive. I'm having trouble with the comments publishing. Probably my computer. Great post as always. Jenny


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