is not on the fashionable end of North Norfolk. To the east of Cromer, it does not attract the rich Londoners who flock to Brancaster and Burnham Market. This is a factor which can only work in its favour. The little lanes round Sidestrand are largely deserted, and if you do come across road transport, you are more likely to meet a tractor towing a trailer load of potatoes than a flash four by four.
For seven or eight years while the children were growing up we had a caravan in a wood at Trimingham. From bluebell time through to the falling of the autumn leaves and the chestnut crop we were in touch with the changing seasons. Owls hooted at night, swallows swooped through the day and at dusk the bats appeared for their feast of flying insects.
The beach was down a path that led one onto the collapsing clay cliff. Sometimes it was relatively easy going, but at other times the ceaseless falling mud made the descent almost impossible. Once you had reached sea level the beach was quite sandy, if the tide was out. Trimingham beach is namely for its fossils. There are an awful lot of them. There is the odd sea urchin and ammonite, but the majority are belemnites. These are like bullets and they fall down the receding cliff where they are washed clean by the encroaching tides. They disappear out to sea in an apparently never ending supply.
There are no ice creams or stalls selling buckets and spades on this beach. For that the nearest place was Overstrand, where Trillo’s van sold cornets at the top of the cliff. A hundred years ago Overstrand was the heart of fashionable North Norfolk. Winston Churchill holidayed here and the leading architect of the day, Edwin Lutyens, built houses and the Methodist chapel. This was Clement Scott’s Poppyland and his romanticised view of the falling cliffs attracted the rich and famous. Those days are long gone, and the area has returned to moderate obscurity. As I said earlier fashionable visitors has moved west.
Until 1953 Trimingham was on the railway line from Cromer Beach Station to Mundsley. Railway bridges punctuate the landscape around the caravan site, although the location of Trimingham railway station has been turned into a small housing estate. The nearest existing station is now at Gunton Road where we sometimes went to catch the train to get to Norwich. On one occasion we made a grand circular trip from there to Ipswich, Felixstowe, Beccles, Lowestoft and back.
Trimingham Railway Station in the early 20th century.
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