An Outsider's View of
Heacham's Sunset Coast
 
Stella of Heacham-On-Line would like to thank Mike Thorn (fondly known as Skippy)
for writing this feature and Malcolm Diggins for contributing the photographs


Click here to see a wider selection of our fabulous sunsets in our Sun Gallery
 

This is my fourth Summer in North West Norfolk and each year I find this area more captivating.  As an Australian born and bred (no convict heritage!) I can be somewhat objective about what the Heacham area offers the holidaymaker.

Being based at Heacham is, for me, the best location for a holiday in this region.  It is conveniently located, yet tucked away so you do not feel like you are in a big resort town.  The A149 from Kings Lynn gets you to Heacham quickly but once you turn left you enter a traditional Norfolk village that is both quiet and safe.  Most of the holiday accommodation in Heacham is provided close to the seaside so if a Park/Caravan Resort is your preference there is plenty to choose from.  

One of the greatest surprises for me has been my growing appreciation for the beachfront at Heacham - especially South Beach.  I was brought up on the beaches around Perth and the South Coast of Western Australia - reputedly some of the best beaches in the world.  But NO Australian beach can equal the sunsets regularly on offer in Heacham.  Surprised?  Let me tell you why ...

In Oz the difference in sunset times for the longest and shortest days of the year is about 2 hours.
In Heacham it is 5 hours!!  This means that, during mid-Summer, the sun takes ages to set.
So when it is a great sunset (which is very common in Heacham) you have hours
to enjoy it.
In Oz you literally have minutes. Once the sun goes below the horizon in Heacham it remains light for hours after - often aided by a beautiful moon rising from the East.  

The Heacham beaches face West looking across a huge bay which is 20 miles wide - almost the width of The English Channel.  Yet this is shallow, sheltered water - not open sea.  It is often like a millpond with just the odd breeze rippling through the shimmering water, giving the beaches a sheltered safe feeling and providing an essential ingredient for fabulous sunsets.  If the sun is out you are guaranteed a memorable "highway to the heavens" - a reflection of the sun in a golden and silver road across the water.  This phenomenon is what makes Heacham sunsets world class.

Another essential factor in creating these fantastic sunsets are the tides.  When the tide is low there will be a stretch of shimmery, rippled sand with a light covering of water.  The reflected sunlight forms breathtaking colours and patterns.  This goes on for hours after the sun has set when the reflection turns deep indigo, crimson and deep silver blue.  At times it is almost surreal in its effect.  But why is there light on the water hours after the sun has set?  Because the upper atmosphere is still bathed in sunlight and from a higher altitude the clouds and ice crystals act like billions of tiny mirrors on high.  Ah, the magic of our planet!

Talking of clouds - it is well known that Norfolk has big skies.  This is because there are no mountains and valleys to limit the horizon.  On any day you can look skywards above the setting sun and marvel at the delicate wisps of cirrus clouds and feel truly close to nature.  That is really it in a nutshell for me - being close to the beauty of nature - the water, the sun, the clouds, the tides, the moon, the breeze.  It is real soul food - get your soul food at the Heacham beaches now.

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