A short and very accessible route, the Heacham circular often provides sparkling views across the Wash. On clear days ‘Boston Stump’, the tower of St Botolph’s Church in Lincolnshire, can be seen. As well as a long and interesting history, you’ll also find great fish and chips at Heacham.
Sand, Sea and Sea Defences
Heacham existed long before the development of Hunstanton, its Victorian neighbour. The parish church has its origins in the 1200s and the village has long celebrated its connection with Pocahontas, the Native American who was married to and brought to England by Heacham resident John Rolfe in the early 1600s. The rise in popularity of seaside holidays during the mid 19th Century lead to an expansion of Heacham, particularly after the railway station opened in 1862. It closed in 1969, but the village is still a popular venue for seaside visitors.
On 20 June 1929 beachgoers at Heacham had an unexpected visitor. The endurance swimmer, Mercedes Gleitze, emerged after 13 hours and 17 minutes at sea, becoming the first person to swim the Wash. She had intended to land at Hunstanton but was driven off course by strong currents. It was her second attempt that month, having been pulled from the water after 8 hours during the first.
During the Second World War the coast was heavily defended against invasion from the sea. Several anti-tank defence positions can still be seen around Heacham.
Heacham Circular Walk runs to and from the shore at Heacham and the southern tip of Hunstanton. It passes a plaque commemorating Mercedes Gleitze’s historic swim, the Jubilee Bridge and a monument to local victims of the 1953 East Coast Floods. The top of the extensive modern sea defence forms part of the route.