Following in the footsteps of two of Norfolk’s maritime heroes, this stunning route visits three of the historic ‘Seven Burnhams by the sea’. There are numerous opportunities to enjoy north Norfolk’s famous hospitality, whether you are visiting for the day or making a longer trip.
Salt, Speed and Seafaring
The ports of north-west Norfolk were the transport hubs of their day. For most of history it has been quicker, easier and cheaper to transport goods by sea rather than over land. It is therefore no surprise that these ports developed strong coastal communities around them, or that their inhabitants were often inspired to take to the ocean. A few of them made history. Captain Richard Woodget was one.
Born in 1845, Woodget began his maritime career in 1861. By 1881 he had become master of the Coldstream, a ship built in the year of his birth. The ship’s owner, Jock Willis, was so impressed with the way that Woodget handled that ageing ship that he had no difficulty choosing him as the next captain of the now famous wool clipper, Cutty Sark. Between 1885 and 1895 Woodget set several record-breaking times for the journey between the Australian port of Sydney and London.
Several local features would still be familiar to the sea captain if he were alive today. The remains of St. Mary’s (Norfolk’s first Carmelite Friary), the Union Mill (which could be operated using both wind and water power), the war memorial (erected during Woodget’s retirement) and the historic boathouse on the staithe are all long-time fixtures in the area. He would not have recognised the historic telephone box at Burnham Norton, however: it now operates as a lending library.
The circular walk at The Burnhams follows in Captain Woodget’s footsteps, visiting each of the locations mentioned above, and of course, The Hero public house, named in honour of another local maritime celebrity, Admiral Lord Nelson.
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