A Small Selection of Autumn Colours

Click on the image for more Autumn Colours.                                                             All photographs © David Packman

HampshireCam Travels ~ Norfolk Odyssey

The Norfolk village of Wells-Next-The-Sea isn't. In fact its located a mile or so inland from the sea, with a small channel allowing access for fishing boats and yachts to the harbour. Like many other villages along the north Norfolk coast silting up over many years has limited their access to the sea. In the late 16th century the town had much easier access to the sea, it was one of the major ports for the area and reached its peak in the middle of the 19th century, when the quay was built. At that time there were three shipyards in Wells and between 1801 and 1860, over 60 ships were built in the yards.


One of the oldest sailing ships still afloat is moored in Wells harbour, the Dutch clipper the Albatros. Built in Rotterdam in 1899 it's thought her owner at the time and through to the Second World War was a Captain Rasmussen. He used the Albatros as a cargo ship exporting grain from Denmark to Sweden and even assisted Jewish refugees to escape from Nazi Germany. It's also thought he delivered weapons to the Danish Resistance. In 1983 Tonn Brouwer purchased the ship which has since been fully restored. During the 1990s she was used to carry Soya beans from Belgium to Wells-Next-The-Sea for a Norfolk agricultural merchant. Today the ship appears to be a restaurant, see the menu below.




An impressive feature of the harbour is the large granary building with its distinctive overhanging gantry. Built in 1903, the granary has now been turned into luxury flats with magnificent views over the harbour. In the mid 19th century the primary trade was the import of coal, timber and salt, and the export of corn, barley and malt for breweries.


The Old Custom House was built in 1560 and served as a Custom House until about 1910.


Fishing also was for centuries a mainstay of Wells. A small handful of fishing boats still go crabbing, shrimping and whelking to this day.






The small estuary that leads from the sea to the harbour. Click on the image for a larger picture.


The RNLI lifeboat station is on the beach, the yellow and red building in the distance, and houses a collection of items illustrating the history of the lifeboat. In October 1880 a severe storm blew up and the lifeboat Eliza Jane was launched twice that day to help shipping. During the return from the second launch eleven of the thirteen crew lost their lives after being hit by a giant wave. A memorial to the crew can be found by the the old lifeboat house, now the Harbour Offices on the quay, Wells has been served by a lifeboat for over a hundred years.


The sandy beach at Wells is a mile from the harbour. Bordered by pine trees, sand dunes and colourful beach huts it stretches for miles towards Holkham, and was featured in the film "Shakespeare in Love".

All photographs © David Packman

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All Photographs copyright David Packman © 2002 - 2009 (All Rights Reserved)