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  Winterton-on-Sea In Bloom 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 Sam Larner, 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.

The Village

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

BEACH ROAD PARKING: Norfolk County Council has yet to sign off on year round parking restrictions on the north side of Beach Road despite repeated prompts.

The push for the double yellow lines to be enforced in winter as well as summer came after scenes of chaos last Christmas when cars blocked the route to the beach rather than use the car park. Some drivers even mounted the kerb on the south side of the road and crossed the pavement to park on the dune.

Parish councillors, county councillor Ron Hanton and people in the village have all attempted to pursue the issue with officials, but the parish council heard the approval process for parking restrictions had been changed.

At the full meeting on 28th November Cllr Emma Punchard asked: “How long do we have to wait because people were expecting them to be in place by now?”

Parish clerk Stacey Kent said the application had reached the final stage and a decision was still awaited, but it had been chased up three times.

NOT SO FAST: Drivers caught by police in recent speed checks in the village were all local, parish councillors were told.

The offenders were given words of advice.

NIGHT EXERCISE: Marines cadets will be braving the cold on 30th November when they stage a night exercise.

But should the weather turn nasty or anything go wrong the troop has been given permission to use the village hall as an emergency base.

Troop commander 2nd Lt Rachel Took told the parish council the youngsters would be sleeping out under basha tents in woods but needed somewhere to be taken if the conditions proved too foul or if one of them suffered an accident.

Cllr Mark Bobby, who was chairman for the meeting, said he had no objections but the hall should be left as it was found. The troop was also asked to bear in mind if the cadets did need to use it they should remember many in the village would be asleep.

ALL CHANGE:  The parish council still has three councillor vacancies and no chairman.

John Smithson re-joined the authority when he was co-opted at the full meeting on 28th November. But at the same meeting Linda Cook’s resignation was announced.

Parish clerk Catherine Moore resigned last month and Stacey Kent was appointed to replace her.

Anyone interested in taking on a councillor role can email the parish clerk at for information.

OH CHRISTMAS TREE:  The private donor who paid for the Christmas tree on the green and the neighbour who has allowed the lights to be plugged in to their supply have been thanked by the parish council.

SOCIAL MEDIA: The parish council is to have its own Facebook page. But it has been stressed it will be for information rather than debate.

Cllr Emma Punchard told the meeting on 28th November there had been one for a short time set up by the previous clerk.

She believed the council should have a page that was information driven, without opinion, to inform the village about what the council was doing. She added she was happy to be the admin.

Clerk Stacey Kent said she believed the council had a social media policy and the page would have to be in line with that.

The council agreed to start a page.

SAVE THE DATES:  Parish council meetings are set to change to the last Wednesday of the month from the start of 2020.

There is no council in December and the next full council is on 29th January.

VILLAGE SOCIAL LIFE: Concerns about isolation for some villagers has prompted a move to improve social inclusion by increasing the number of activities available.

Cllr John Smithson said there had been talk about a bridge club and a ‘man cave’ where people could do woodwork projects.  Walking football and a table tennis club could also be set up.

But he stressed parish councillors could not do things on their own and other volunteers were needed to help out.

An informal session for anyone interested in helping to organise different activities would be held before the start of the next parish council meeting on 29th January.

For parish council minutes and much more visit its website.





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Life's a beach

Over the road there is a handy convenience store, Loomes, 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.