It has taken four months to open the North Norfolk Coastal Path after the winter storm surges and there remain some diversions from the original route but this glorious walk along one of the most beautiful and nature abundant coastlines in the UK is well worth taking, detour or no detour. Pack some lightweight rainwear and remember that outside of the warmer days, the winds can give you a bit of a frozen jaw; a collar that turns up and warm hat will never be a bad idea. An all terrain buggy is advisable or use a backpack or wrap for smaller children. It is ideal for families though and can be broken down into shorter walks with the promise of a beach acting as lure for more reluctant walkers.
Back in earlier times, this part of low lying Norfolk would have been clotted with silt which eventually cut off Salthouse from the sea and life as a port but now Salthouse Channel has been reclaimed by careful landscape and nature management, resulting in a half mile of marshes, threaded with creeks, lagoons and brackish water and teeming with life. Many families walk with pockets stuffed with sandwiches, flasks and binoculars (it is a bird watchers paradise) but for those of you wanting to stride unfettered, Cookies Crab house looms at the journeys end offering the most unctuous of crab and seafood delicacies, pulled from the waters barely hours ago.
From Salthouse to the beach you will find pathways radiating outwards and those aforementioned storms mean that turning left atop the shingled bank that guarded the marshes is not an option at the time of writing (July 2014). The Norfolk Coastal path now runs along a lower bulwark demarking the line between sea and sky. A mile later, you will arrive at Cley Marshes Nature Reserve where the bird life gets even better- an embarrassment of riches in the form of Bitterns, Marsh Harriers and every winged feathered creature of the sea and coastal margins. From here the coastal path turns inland, looping around the windmill at Cley next the Sea and you can take your choice of footpaths that shadow the coastal roadway back to Salthouse.
Walk the beach road from the A149 just east of Salthouse to the shore, then follow the coastal path west all the way to Cley village. Take the main road east for a mile, then head along a footpath south at Snipes Marsh and fork left over Sarbury Hill back to Salthouse.
Cookies Crabshack serves a mean lobster, crab or mixed seafood platter alongside other sandwiches. Sit in the garden or take onto the beach- what’s a crab sandwich without a bit of sand too? Having had to close after the December storms, Cookies is now thankfully open for business until at least 7pm every day although if you notify them in advance, they will stay open later. Not licensed to sell alcohol, they are happy for you to bring your own wine or beer.
The Salthouse Dun Cow is a bit of a foodie destination although they define themselves as first and foremost a pub.