Sancastles on the beach
Once a busy fishing village it has become a holiday favourite for those in the know.
Backed by the beautiful dunes - a nature reserve and a site of special scientific interest - the beach offers acres of golden sand and even on the hottest summer days there is always plenty of space for children to build their sandcastles. Here you can enjoy the sound of skylarks singing against a background of waves lapping against the shore. Sometimes you'll catch sight of a seal bobbing in the water or lazing on the sand. If you feel peckish there is the Dunes Cafe, which is popular with visitors and locals alike all through the year.
Overlooking the beach are the eye-catching colourful African roundhouses of the Hermanus holiday centre. The thatched buildings, modelled on huts at Hermanus Bay in South Africa are part of a complex with a bar and restaurant that are open to the public.
Turning back from the dunes you will see the tower of Holy Trinity and All Saints church, one of the biggest landmarks in the village. In summer the tower, which at 132ft is the third highest in the county, opens to the public every Saturday. Views from the top are stunning on a clear day.
As well as the lighthouse, which is now a holiday home, the village once had its own lifeboat. The last one, the Edward Birkbeck, saved dozens of lives between 1896 and 1925 when the lifeboat station closed down. The foundations of the building along with remains of the wartime coastal defences, can still be seen in the dunes near the cafe while the boat, rescued decades later from the harbour in Conwy, Wales, is now back in the village and under the care of the Winterton on Sea Lifeboat Restoration Group.
The village is also blessed with a post office stores and a tea room run by Jeanne and Gino Farace. They took over the shop in 2016 and revamped it, adding the tea room three years later. They sell cakes, crafts, cream teas, freshly-brewed Lavazza coffee and specialist teas.
Adding to the charm of the village are the spectacular flower displays, created and tended by the committee, businesses and residents. In 2016 the village won a gold in the Great Yarmouth in Bloom Awards.
Fishing boats still go out from the village, but the days of being able to buy fish from the huts on the dunes are gone. Herring fisherman , who found a national following in his 80s, is remembered in the village with a blue plaque on the cottage where he lived near the church. Famed folk singer Ewan McColl wrote The Shoals of Herring after interviewing Sam for the radio in 1960. One of the pubs where he often sang was the Fisherman's Return. Still a popular watering hole, the 300-year-old freehouse has only changed hands four times in the past century. Current landlord Darrin Winter took over in 2009 from Kate and John Findlay who had it for many years.
WINTERTON is a little oasis on the East Norfolk coast. There is none of the brash razzle dazzle of other resorts nearby, but what it does have in buckets and spades is charm, history and the benefit of being next to a fabulous unspoilt beach.
News from the Winterton-on-Sea Parish Council & the village
NEW COUNCILLORS: The parish council, which just weeks ago was on the verge of handing over its duties to the borough because the number of members had fallen to three, now has a new councillor.
Norman Parcell was co-opted to one of three vacant seats at Wednesday’s meeting in the village hall.
But the council still has no permanent chairman.
Mark Bobby, who was elected temporary chairman for the night, said others were waiting in the wings.
“It is common knowledge that we have had a bit of a rocky time. Last year we were down to three. We were at the point where we were on the verge of handing it back to the borough council,” he said. “I am pleased we have come through that.”
The meeting followed an open evening aimed at encouraging people to chat with the councillors and learn more about the authority.
Cllr Bobby was delighted with the turnout of around 40 people and said one member of the public had shown an interest in joining the council. “That’s very positive. The more there are of us the more effective we can be.”
PARKING PRAISE: A call has been made for a joined-up approach to dealing with parking problems in Winterton.
The move comes after new rules banning drivers from parking on the northern side of Beach Road all year round came into force a matter of weeks ago. But it was at the end of a drive by the parish council that started more than two years ago after chaotic scenes over Christmas 2017 when cars blocked the road and were driven over the pavement onto the dunes.
Meeting chairman Mark Bobby said: “The process started several years ago with the parish council that was in place then. The chairman was Eric Lund. He had the drive and enthusiasm, just the determination to get that.”
The council is currently gathering information about parking and congestion problems that saw tailbacks out of the village on New Year’s Day.
Cllr Bobby said it was a destination and the issues were not just parking, but people eroding the dunes and disturbing the seals. A joined up approach was needed involving the beach car park, the seal wardens, police and villagers.
Asked about the possibility of asking to use the school site for parking, he said all options, including the 10 spaces at the recreation ground should be considered.
He warned efforts to deal with parking and speeding were likely to take time to tackle.
Police and county council enforcement officers have been out ticketing illegally parked cars on Beach Road and calls have been made for a warning sign to be installed advising drivers of the change.
MOVING OUT: The village marine cadet unit has a new dedicated base at Caister Academy.
Rachel Tooke told the parish council this week that the 901 Troop had been given a permanent home in a brick building on the campus and it had been given a £3,000 refit with the help of grants from organisations including Caister Community Fund.
Work to create the new HQ had been going on every weekend since 19th December.
Members would have the benefit of the school’s music room and tutors would be brought in to give instrumental lessons, including drums.
They will meet in Caister on Mondays but return to the village hall on Fridays for activities like map work.
DROPPED KERB: A new dropped kerb is to be installed on Somerton Road near the entrance to the playing field.
Norfolk County Councillor Ron Hanton told the parish council that the spot was extremely dangerous for disabled people, including wheelchair users because of speeding traffic coming round the corner.
The work is to be paid for out of his councillor’s grant fund and should start on 2nd March.
FOOTPATH UPDATE: A bid to reopen a popular path between Winterton and Hemsby is set to move a step forward in the next few weeks.
The Norfolk County Council case officer working on the application, which was lodged after the route between the village and the Long Beach Estate was suddenly shut more than five years ago, is making the final additions to his report, the parish council was told.
COUNCIL TAX: Councillors have agreed a 3per cent increase in the parish share of the council tax.
They were told it was the minimum to cover the rise in inflation.
PLAYING FIELD PAVILION: Basic work will be done to the dilapidated pavilion on the playing field to ensure the village cricket club can play this coming season.
The roof will be made watertight at a cost of £50 and an electrical inspection is to be carried out in March.
In the meantime longer term plans to replace the building, which has been described as no longer fit for purpose, are being drawn up, although an ambitious £150,000 proposal has been scaled back to around £50,000 on a like-for-like replacement basis.
The parish council was told no funding would be offered towards the project without a consultation in the village.
ZUMBA RUMBLE: Calls have been made for better communication from the village hall team.
Parish councillors were told there was uproar after a second Zumba instructor was able to book the facility on Tuesday nights when the instructor who already runs sessions there was planning to add more of her own at the request of villagers.
Hayley Dugdale, who has held classes there for some time, said the hall needed to be used and she was not against another instructor coming in. But when the village was asking her for another course it was unprofessional of the committee not to let her know it had accepted another Zumba hirer.
Dog trainer Holley Mayhew who runs a puppy class in the slot before the new Zumba session said: “I think it’s great that we have these extra hirers coming to the hall.”
But she pointed out there was a very short gap between the end of her hire period and the start of the next. People taking part in the exercise class were arriving and coming in before she had finished her session and tidied up.
She was worried a pup could escape through the open door and cause an accident.
She asked if she could put up a sign on the door asking people to wait outside because “its not just a safety issue it’s a training issue.”
SCHOOL’S UP: Winterton School, which was on the verge of closure in July 2018, has almost doubled the number of pupils on roll.
A delighted borough councillor James Bensley told the parish council there were 47 youngsters registered at the school – up from 21.
He said: “We’ve been working closely with the school over the last year or so, hopefully we’re going to get a real good positive press release when we hit the magic 50. With encouragement to use the school as an asset to the village, that can unlock a lot of solutions.”
The school was taken into the Consortium Multi Academy Trust in September that year with the aim of attracting more pupils and developing the site as an outdoor education resource for other schools. See our story here https://www.wintertononsea.co.uk/blog/Entries/2018/9/saved-by-the-bell.html
DUMPED NAILS: Nails that are thought to have been thrown down in Beach Road could have been put there by a villager, parish councillors were told.
They were picked up by dog walkers including Cllr Nigel Coe who reported the incident to the police. “Whether it was by a disgruntled villager, who knows. The police were surprised at the number,” he said holding up a large bag. “They thought it was a few nuts and screws. It’s a lot more.”
Chairman Mark Bobby said: “I know we’ve got parking issues but that’s probably not the best way to achieve a result.”
SEAL SEASON: A group could be set up to discuss the way the seal pupping season and visitors were managed this year and to look at ways of dealing with the issue next winter.
Cllr Emma Punchard said it was important to get all the key people and agencies involved. She was happy to lead it but the job was bigger than just one councillor.
She had spoken to Natural England which was keen for the council to take a more pro-active role.
ACROSS THE SEA: Proposals to form a twinning with a village on the other side of the North Sea appear to be drifting.
The parish council was told there was no update on the project which was started last year in the wake of a visit by people from Camperduin in the Netherlands, who discovered Winterton was exactly opposite their community and had many similarities.
BALLOON WON’T GO UP: Winterton Parish Council is to sign up to a new charter against the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons.
Organisations and individuals are being urged by Norfolk County Council not to send up the lanterns, which have been linked to fires involving buildings and land, including valuable coastal marram grass.
The balloons are also harmful to livestock and wildlife.
The authority has banned their release on its own land for the past five years but wants to encourage others to choose safer ways of celebrating.
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Life's a beach
Over the road there is a handy convenience store, , taken over in 2008 by high school teacher Sathees Vethanayakampillai, it runs with help from his wife Kamaliny, brother-in-law Thajee and assistant Vicky. It has also undergone improvement work and more products are being introduced.
A few doors away is the Fish Bar which is just as popularwith the residents as it is with visitors. A family business run by Debbie and Mark Cox, who have been in the village since 1991, it has a five star hygiene rating and was named one of the five best chippies in Norfolk. It is open seven days a week in the summer and five in the winter.
Inside the 12th Century church Winterton's maritime heritage is evident with fishing nets on the walls, a fisherman's corner under a First World War cross from Flanders and a memorial to a rector who gave his
life saving a choirboy from drowning.