Daily Archives: July 13th, 2018


What a lovely scene.

A garden border could not be more beautiful, but this was all designed by nature!

Cliff and the North Sea at West Runton

We went to West Runton this summer and it was a hot day. The sea breeze however made the extreme heat less oppressive. So where is West Runton? Well it is a village on the North Norfolk coast, between East Runton and Beeston. As you can see from the picture above, cliffs descend to the sea. I have been through the village many times as it is on the coast road from Cromer to Sheringham. Many years ago I went to the Links (though not to play golf at the famous course); but I had never seen the sea from West Runton before this year. There is no promenade nor amusement arcade but there is a cafe and a huge car park by the sea. West Runton was developed as a holiday resort in Edwardian times as one can see from the elegant villas that form the village. It still has a number of shops that cater for the residents as well as the passing trade. This including a post office.

Runton Hill was a former boarding school for girls. It closed over twenty years ago, but during my schooldays it was the closest girls’ school to Gresham’s. Gresham’s was a boys’ school in those days, and the two establishments frequently cooperated, particularly in science lessons which were not a strong point of Runton Hill’s curriculum. The fate of Runton Hill was sealed when Gresham’s went co-educational in the 1970s; who would send their daughters to a seaside village, even a delightful one like West Runton, when an ancient Public School was available for them a few miles away? The buildings still have an educational use however, being the site of Kingswood which hosts school trips throughout the year. The most famous Old Girl of Runton Hill School is the Duchess of Kent whose great love and proficiency in music was established at the school.

The West Runton Elephant is the fossilised skeleton of a mammoth that was revealed in the cliffs in the 1990s. Almost the entire skeleton was removed by archaeologists and it is now being restored in Norwich Castle Museum. It is planned to return the animal’s bones to West Runton where they will be put on display.

West Runton has a railway station which has the distinction of being the only former M&GN Railway Station that remains approximately in its original condition on Network Rail. Of the other two stations that were built by the Eastern and Midlands Railway (forerunner of the Midland and Great Northern), that at Sheringham has been moved a little way down the line, while much of Beach Station at Cromer is now Morrison’s car park. I have been through the station at West Runton many times (though not for years) but I have never got out there. It has a single platform as the line is single track and there is now only a modern shelter there. The station is kept in good order by a group of local volunteers and flowers are tended throughout the summer. The village is incredibly lucky to have a regular railway service that connects it hourly with Norwich and the rest of Britain’s railway infrastructure.