Spring is in the air or at least today it seems like it,in the front room its warm as toast as the sun beats though the window. Even up here in the bedroom its warm enough to have all the windows open. Since my last post I’ve been suffering a little with my knees and a trip to the doctors has revealed that I’m suffering too from high blood pressure. Exercise,no salt,salad etc etc…. and hopefully that may see it returned to normal. To be honest I’ve felt fine just the winter blues and the endless rain that have got to me a little bit. Last weekend was the BN Blackpool weekend which unfortunately we couldn’t attend,but hopefully it means that the winters over with and the naked season can begin any day soon. Last week I had to ferry Ginny to Norwich once more,then after that I had the day to myself enabling me to wander around and explore Norfolk. I headed straight for the coast to see what damage the winter tide surges had had on the coast and in particular to the seaside village of Hemsby.
Hemsby is a village, civil parish and seaside resort in the English county of Norfolk. It is situated some 7.5 miles north of the town of Great Yarmouth.In the 2001 census had a population of 2,973 in 1,221 households. Hemsby borders the villages of Winterton-on-Sea and Scratby.Hemsby along with much of the Norfolk coast was targeted by the Vikings, who initially raided the area in search of precious materials and slaves. The village was founded at some point during this time. The settlement grew steadily and is listed in the Domesday Book under the name of Haimesbei with a description of “a hamlet covering 43 meadow acres with 50 households, 3 slaves, 2 salt pans and 160 sheep.” the beaches are one of the major tourist draws in the village, with miles of sandy coastline. Large sand dunes form a natural barrier between the beach and the village behind it. One of the more unusual features of the beach is a scattering of anti-tank blocks across the beach, and a concrete bunker, left over from the World War II coastline defences.
Erosion is a major problem in the surrounding villages of Winterton-on-Sea and Caister where sandy cliffs are being destroyed by the forces of the sea. Hemsby’s dunes are also being eroded, previously the wide beach has made the effect less noticeable, but the rate of erosion has increased significantly in the past two years, threatening homes, the local lifeboat station and the villages tourist industry. In 2013 a campaign was started to ‘save hemsby beach’ as of October 2013, ‘DIY’ Sea defences are being built in attempt to stem the erosion.I visted the beach and took some photos of the damage,i also visited the town of Caister and the beach,then went to California, passed by Winterton and stopped finally at Sea Palling.
At Caister i saw the lifeboat station and went on the beach,at California i took some shots of the beach and the improve defences and at Sea Palling i was most impressed with the beach,which would make a wonderful naturist beach.Its story has been inextricably linked to the sea since pre-history. The town of Waxham Parva disappeared under the waves together with its church and the large estate of Gelham Hall.One of the earliest accounts was written by John of Oxendes, a monk at nearby St Benet’s Abbey, in which he relates the destruction wrought by the great storm of 1287:
“the sea, agitated by the violence of the wind, burst through its accustomed limits, occupying towns, fields and other places adjacent to the coast … it suffocated or drowned men and women sleeping in their beds, with infants in their cradles … and it tore up houses from their foundations, with all they contained and threw them into the sea with irrevocable damage”
Several more incursions occurred over the centuries and by 1604 neighbouring Eccles on Sea had lost 66 houses and more than 1,000 acres of land. Three years later Palling’s defences were breached and Waxham was flooded in 1655 and 1741. Lack of proper maintenance of the dunes led to continuous breaches and it was not until the nineteenth century that a programme of sea defence work was started. The North Sea flood of 1953 took the lives of seven villagers – some of the 100 who perished in Norfolk alone. A memorial plaque is in St Margaret’s Church.
(Sea Palling 2014)
Following this tragedy the sea wall was extended in 1986 and in 1995 the Environment Agency undertook a multi-million pound project erecting nine barrier reefs.The sea also provided opportunities for the villagers – smuggling being one which reached its peak in the mid-1770s. Revenue cutters patrolled the coast and there were seizures of tea, Geneva and other spirits on several occasions and it is reputed that Palling was the headquarters of a band of armed smugglers. To counter this a Coastguard service was established in 1822 and a station built at Palling, which contributed to a decline in smuggling. Alongside this there was also salvage work. Local fishermen became organised into companies and bought themselves fast sailing yawls. There were two beach companies based at Palling, known locally as the Blues and the Whites.
(Sea Palling 2014)
It was a perilous occupation and the demands for exorbitant payments may be excusable given the dangers involved. The companies prospered with the increase in maritime shipping and by 1838 had brick built sheds for storage and a lookout built to watch over the Haisborough Sands. On 16 December 1842 one of the boats was lost with five crew and a few weeks later a yawl went down with the loss of seven crew. The impact on the village was immense as most of the drowned were young men with families.The coast is still hazardous and in December 1948 a steamer “The Bosphorous” was ensnared on the offshore Haisborough Sands and its cargo of oranges was jettisoned. To a populace emerging from the privations of war, the sight of the beaches strewn with loose and crated oranges was “miraculous” and revived another Palling custom that of plunder.
The inhabitants of 1948 could trace this pastime back for centuries when the scavengers of wrecks were known as “pawkers”, despite the attempts of the Lords of the Manor to claim all shipwreck. Perhaps the greatest coup was the wreck of “Lady Agatha” in 1768 with a cargo valued at £50,000 – none of which was recovered by authorities.Away from the sea, the villages maintained an agricultural existence.There was also, for a time, some brick making. The bricks were transported by wherry along the New Cut to various Broadland staithes. The industry ended around the start of the 20th century and the kilns dismantled.
(Sea Palling 2014)
Sea Palling Lifeboat Station is a voluntary-manned and charitable-funded lifeboat station located in the village. First established by private funds in 1840, it was taken over by the RNLI from 1858 and operated until 1931,closed down in a rationalisation of regional lifeboat stations. During its 91 years of service, the lifeboat station had one of the best rescue records of all the lifeboat stations in the UK. In 400 launches 795 lives had been saved, a record bettered by only three other UK stations.
Crews had gained four silver gallantry medals, for which a replica of the one awarded to Tom Bishop is still on show at St Margaret’s Church.Revived by local people through monies raised from private, business and charitable donations in 1974, today the charitable Palling Volutary Rescue Service runs a single 5.7 metres (19 ft) Ocean Pro RIB, covering the area between Eccles-on-Sea and Winterton-on-Sea. Between mid-May and mid-September each year, the RNLI maintains a lifeguard station on the beach at Sea Palling,located just below the PVRS lifeboat station.Winterton beach i didnt venture onto because we’d stopped off there before and stripped off breifly back in 2012.I like our trips to Norfolk,most probably because i was born there just over 50 years ago and to me it still retains the openess that Essex,espeically the south of Essex has lost in the last 40 years from over developement.