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Soft sand, magnificent sunsets, swaying beachgrass, huge horizons and a true sense of peace and quiet, walks around Thornham rank among the best along the Norfolk Coast. From the unique limestone cliffs at Hunstanton to the former smuggler’s haven of Brancaster Bay, there’s so much to discover.
Situated on the western end of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the pretty village of Thornham makes for an idyllic base. The region’s saltmarshes, reedbeds, creeks and dunes are home to a plethora of wildlife and the village is flanked by vibrant nature reserves.
After a day spent exploring some of England’s most unspoilt beaches and admiring the local flora and fauna, hikes around Thornham would not be complete without a visit to one of its ancient country pubs, which await with a warm welcome and good food.
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Seeking serenity on Thornham’s beaches
Hikes around Thornham can take you to some of England’s most stunning, yet serene beaches. Thornham Beach itself requires a short walk from the village and is dog friendly, with no restrictions. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the sands border Holme Dunes, a reserve managed by Norfolk Wildlife Trust, so keep your four legged friend in sight. Holme Dunes is a treat for wildlife lovers, with migrating birds, toads, butterflies and dragonflies.
When exploring any of North Norfolk’s beaches, remember that sandbanks form during low tides, making it possible to walk a long way offshore. The tide can turn quickly and it is surprisingly easy to become stranded. There are no lifeguards at Thornham, so take great care and always check the tide times before setting out.
Vibrant nature reserves
As well as Holme Dunes, Thornham also neighbours RSPB Titchwell Marsh, a glorious reserve consisting of reedbeds, saltmarsh and freshwater lagoons. From the trails you can enjoy huge views across the Wash, while keeping your eyes out for bird species such as avocets, bearded tits, bitterns and marsh harriers.
Titchwell’s freshwater lagoons bustle with birdlife from mid autumn onwards, as migrants arrive from Scandinavia and Northern Europe. You can learn more about the wildlife and the landscape at the visitor centre, which also has a cafe.
Unique striped cliffs and majestic sunsets
Some of the finest hiking routes around Thornham explore the natural sights and Victorian charm of Hunstanton. Known for its unique white chalk and red limestone striped cliffs, as well as its majestic sunsets, the town has been a popular destination for generations. The town gazes out west across the Wash, which is why it is the only seaside town in the east that enjoys the spectacle of a sunset.
Many hikes around Thornham make use of the Norfolk Coast Path, a long-distance trail which starts (or ends) in Hunstanton, passes through Holme Dunes and Thornham, before heading inland on its way to Brancaster. The full route follows the coast for 83 miles (134 km), all the way to Hopton-on-Sea beyond Great Yarmouth.
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