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.
Life's a beach
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. 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.
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, which was taken over in 2016 by Jeanne and Gino Farace and given a revamp as well as a new name, Poppy's.
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 popular with the residents as it is with visitors.
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.
Jeanne and Gino
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
OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Rumours that the village hall is set to close have been debunked.
And plans for improvements that will make it more attractive to hirers are moving ahead.
The statement came after the parish council was asked at Wednesday night’s meeting for clarification over the building’s future.
Gino Farace said: “We’ve heard that its going to be closed. If it is closed, what’s going to be done with it?”
Chairman Eric Lund responded: “It is not closing. We are just about to spend a lot of money putting new floors in.”
He also quashed suggestions that the marine cadets who meet there every week were going to be thrown out.
“The village hall committee, because it is a decision-making committee, is open to the public. Anybody is invited to come. If you want to know anything about the village hall come to the meeting next Thursday at 11am.
A representative of the Friendship Club questioned why it had been asked to move its crockery and equipment out of the kitchen and store it in a cupboard. Several of the members were in their eighties and there was concern at the idea of them having to carry it to the cupboard after every meeting.
Cllr Lund said they were welcome to use the new crockery bought by the committee.
He explained the plan was to make the village hall more viable and to open it up to occasional hirers for events like parties and christenings as well as regulars. But the kitchen was likely to put them off. “It was a mess. We decided to clear everything out and put everything in where someone can come in and use it. That’s the plan, because if we don’t we are not going to attract these customers.
Work already undertaken in the kitchen included fixing a hole in the roof and treating mould.
“At the moment it does not make any money because not many people hire it,” he said. “We are on a mission here - and it is not going to happen overnight - to make this facility much more viable and much nicer. We’ve already had some good comments from regular users about improvements so far, not least the smell.”
But he stressed the building did not make enough money for it to be extended.
Questioned over an increase in hiring charges, he told the meeting it was a decision made by the previous committee and was under review.
FRISBEE CAMPAIGN: Rescue groups are launching a campaign to educate people about the danger flying rings cause seals.
It comes in the wake of a series of incidents where the animals have suffered serious injuries after getting the popular toys stuck around their necks.
Only recently a seal named after natural historian Sir David Attenborough was released back into the wild on Winterton beach after months of care at the RSPCA’s seal hospital. Three of the beach owners at Winterton have already said they don’t want to see people using flying rings on their beaches.
See our blog here: https://bit.ly/2LaJpcT
Now the Friends of Horsey Seals, who rescued Sir David and other injured seals, have joined forces with others including the RSPCA, Sea Changers and Marine and Wildlife Rescue back a poster campaign at the beach on July 24th between 11am and 1pm.
The posters will explain the dangers and how people can avoid causing them. They will also urge people to take part in beach cleans.
A LONG WALK: Efforts to reopen a popular footpath linking Winterton with neighbouring Hemsby may soon bear fruit.
The route between the village and the Long Beach estate was blocked five years ago where it passes over a short stretch of private land. Local people got together to prove it had been in regular use for more than 70 years and to apply for it to be made an official right of way.
The only alternative routes for pedestrians are through the Winterton Valley dunes or walking along the Hemsby road.
See our blog here: https://bit.ly/2O13p3Z
“It is in the hands of Norfolk County Council,” said chairman Eric Lund told Winterton Parish Council. “We have been told it is progressing. It has not been dropped so we are hoping for a decision soon. The legal department at the council is not prepared to share any detail on it.
He added: “It is a major issue for lots of our residents.
TWIN VILLAGES: An approach has been made to Winterton’s Dutch doppelgänger to see if a formal twinning could be set up.
The move follows the discovery by a group from Holland that the village is exactly opposite the seaside resort of Camperdown on the other side of the North Sea - a community that also faces erosion problems.
Similarities highlighted in the group’s film and photo presentation, screened at the last Winterton Cinema Society night, made a big impression.
See our blog here: https://bit.ly/2YcT2he
Parish council chairman Eric Lund said officials in Camperdown were being asked to consider a formal link.
Endure, a £2.1m project partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund that is working to develop sand dunes as living sea defences in the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, has offered financial backing for a twinning.
“On the surface it seems like a good idea to me and worth exploring,” he said.
CRICKET PAVILION UPDATE: A converted shipping container could replace the dilapidated Winterton Cricket Club pavilion on the playing field.
At about £60,000 the option is less than half the cost of the parish council’s original proposal to build a new facility.
But the council’s full meeting on Wednesday heard the bid was unlikely to attract the necessary grant funding needed for it to go ahead.
Chairman Eric Lund said they had been told one of the reasons applications would probably be turned down was because there was no football club or other group making use of it.
So the council was looking at the shipping container idea.
“We don’t have to knock it down because in the next few years it will fall down,” he said. There was the option of a portable building, but the council did not want to get something that would last only 10 to 15 years.
YELLOW PERIL: Enforcement officers will be touring the village to ticket illegal parkers, not just Beach Road, in a bid to tackle what has been described as the biggest problem in the village at the moment.
“We are getting more and more visitors who won’t pay £1.50 to park in a car park,” said chairman Eric Lund.
He said there was a push to identify dropped kerbs so they could be marked up to discourage motorists from parking across them.
The issue of worshippers and visitors parking over the footpath by the church and too close to the junction with Somerton Road, causing difficulty for buses, will also be investigated.
SPEEDING: Different speeding hot spots in the village could be targeted if the parish council succeeds in getting a new fixed flashing sign installed in Bulmer Lane.
Chairman Eric Lund, who was responding to a plea to target Somerton Road, said if the council was able to have a permanent vehicle activated speed sign it would free up the current mobile unit to be used elsewhere.
And he urged people to come forward and suggest problem areas where it could be set up. “The idea of a fixed sign is to get the worst place covered permanently, then we can use the other one to cover other areas,” he said.
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