The iconic mill towering over the saltmarshes at Cley-next-the-Sea isn’t the only attraction – it’s also a great spot for sea fishing.
“I saw your face in a crowded place…” crooned singer songwriter James Blunt. Clearly, he wasn’t thinking of characteristically uncrowded Cley-next-the-Sea, a place close to his heart. James spent many a childhood year at Cley-next-the-Sea windmill, the village’s famous landmark, which was in the Blount family for generations (the singer dropped the ‘o’ for ease of pronunciation, the nice chap that he is). While we’re at it, ‘Cley’ is apparently pronounced ‘clay’, although even the locals debate this. It’s a place about as emblematic of Norfolk as you can get – an ancient, white-sailed windmill beside a row of flint cottages, the backdrop to a stretch of tranquil salt marshes. You’ll want to linger awhile here, taking in the spectacle of it all, pottering around the narrow lanes of the village, savouring a slower pace of life. There’s a smokehouse, an independent bookshop, a handful of tea shops and, if you’ve forgotten your Harper Hamper, an award-winning deli for picnics.
Across the marshes on Cley-next-the-Sea beach, with its fishing nets and briny tang, anglers take advantage of the steep drop in the shingle to fish for sea bass and mackerel. Like the village, it’s pleasantly devoid of crowds. You can also pick up the Norfolk Coast Path from here, which joins the Peddars Way National Trail at nearby Holme-next-the-Sea (Peddars Way cycling is a great way to see the area on two wheels). Or, for a shorter walk (and great views), just climb to the top of the windmill. Instagram awaits.
Image courtesy of visitnorfolk.co.uk