5 Family Walks Along the Deep History Coast
Woodland Holiday Park is ideally situated along the Deep History Coast and is an ideal place to stay to explore this wonderful historical stretch of coastline. The unique Deep History Coast is home to some of the earliest evidence of human British civilisation with footsteps left by the UK's first tourists nearly a million years ago. You’ll also find the world's largest mammoth skeleton remains at West Runton and a 550,000 year old flint axe was discovered in Happisburgh.
You can reach the Deep History Coast stretch from Woodland Holiday Park and enjoy walking the Discovery Trail. The trail has nine sections that can be walked in single parts or as longer distances. We’ve picked five which would work for families with younger children. Don’t forget to use the Deep History Coast App which can be your guide along the way.
Sheringham to Weybourne:
Start your walk at Sheringham and enjoy a steam train back from Weybourne as an added attraction. The walk is three miles so still a hike for younger children, although this walk is doable with a pushchair. You’ll be able to spot the ancient chalk reefs, Robin’s Field - just offshore at Sheringham -and walk along the Cromer Forest Bed further along towards Weybourne on the crest of the cliffs.
East to West Runton:
This is a short route at just 1.25 miles along flat paths, tracks and pavements, with a short section along the road. Along this section, from East to West Runton, there is the promise of some rock pooling once you get there, and there’s a café for ice cream too. From East Runton, there’s a short section along the road, before the path heads across a meadow. The rest of the route follows the clifftop edge. Here you can see the brown, fossil-studded layer at the base of the cliffs, called the West Runton Freshwater Bed, which is 720-650,000 years old. Once you’ve reached West Runton, children will enjoy rummaging among the rock pools and sand and hopefully be lucky enough to find fossils of sea urchins that are over 90 million years old.
East Runton to Cromer:
This 1.25-mile section has grassy paths, tracks, and brief roadside walking. Start at East Runton and just east of the junction, along the A149, the route forks left and leads through a caravan park before dog-legging along another short section of the main road then returning to the cliff tops. As Cromer comes fully into view, the grassy path joins the start of the promenade that leads into the town itself, and down to Cromer Pier’s entrance.
Mundesley to Walcott:
This slightly longer route at three miles, is full of fun with the promise of ice cream and chips at Walcott and crazy golf in Mundesley. If you like walking on the beach, there’s firm sand most of the way plus sea wall promenades, and it’s completely flat. Please check tide times as the route is not accessible at high tide, with no official alternative route. There are breakwaters along the route with gaps and low sections where you can cross, although you may have to weave across the beach between them as they don't always follow a straight line.
Walcott to Happisburgh:
This route is 1.75 miles of pavements, with a grassy cliff top path that can be muddy, but is virtually flat. This part of the coast has suffered serious erosion so prepare for some potential diversions where the cliff has fallen. There are plenty of places to park in Walcott plus a café at Walcott and a pub at Happisburgh. The route goes through Walcott and a small housing estate on its way to the now-low cliff tops. At Happisburgh, the path goes through a caravan site on the western edge of the village, then crosses meadows to reach the car park and toilets at its eastern end. The candy-striped lighthouse at Happisburgh has open days during the summer.
At Happisburgh, in 2000, a 500,000 year-old, skilfully carved hand axe – the oldest ever found in north-western Europe was discovered. Then later, in 2013, the sea stripped away the sand to expose the footprints of a Hominin family that had strolled along, over 800,000 years ago.
To find out more about the history of North Norfolk go to https://www.visitnorthnorfolk.com/Deep-History-Coast/.