Burnham Overy Staithe circular walk near Brancaster, Norfolk
Wander through Burnham Overy-Staithe and enjoy beautiful sights of the North Norfolk coast and its wildlife. There is the opportunity to visit Burnham Overy Town and see the National Trust Tower Mill.
Burnham Overy Staithe lies on the North Norfolk coast between Holkham and Burnham Norton. 'Staithe' is an Old English word meaning 'landing place', and 'overy' meaning 'over the water'. The original settlement was Burnham Overy Town which lies a mile or so inland and was once a busy port situated on the navigable River Burn. Burnham Overy Staithe has really only been in existence since WW2. From the harbour, there is the opportunity to catch a boat trip to Scolt Head Island National Nature Reserve. Like many of the North Norfolk rivers, the River Burn has since silted and declined.
The Hero Bar and Restaurant.
From the Hero, turn right, then immediately left down East Harbour Way until you reach Overy Creek. Turn right next to a black-painted house. Go through the gate and then bear left along the waterfront. The raised bank you are now on is part of the Norfolk Coast Path National Trail.
Where path along embankment goes 90 degrees left, turn right through gate into marshy meadow of long grass. This area is a Natural England reserve (part of Holkham National Nature Reserve). Go through second gate; cross a stile and then continue along track until reaching the A149. Cross to the lane opposite, and follow this until you’ve passed two fields on the right.
Go through gap at entrance to the third field, which is marked as a footpath. Keep to the right of hedge until reaching a way-marker pointing left, across the middle of the field. Keep going in a straight line, through gaps in the hedges following circular markers with yellow arrows until reaching a dirt lane. Cross the lane, and continue down the track opposite with hedges on either side, towards the Norman tower of Burnham Overy’s Church of St. Clement.
Burnham Overy’s Church of St. Clement
St Clement’s was a large cruciform building, begun in the Norman era. The central tower has been lowered and is now topped with an attractive bell turret. The interior of the church is unusual, as the area beneath the tower arches was blocked off during the long centuries between the Reformation and the Victorian revival; the nave was used as a church, whilst the chancel became among other things a village school. The two parts are now reunited but still only connected by a narrow passage. The decorated organ pipes are worthy of inspection, the organ dating from 1750.
Turn left at end of track onto Mill Road, and take a grass track to the right called Marsh Lane. Go through the gate and into field keeping the River Burn to the left, with the round Saxon tower of Burnham Norton in the distance also to the left, and Burnham Overy Tower Mill straight ahead.
You might be lucky enough to see a River Kingfisher in this area. When walking down a gurgling river, one is sometimes lucky enough to be graced by the teal blue flash of a kingfisher speeding busily past. This incredible little bird feeds on small fish and invertebrates at a voracious rate, consuming its entire body weight each day. During the mating season, the kingfisher will catch 5,000 small fish to sustain itself and its young.
Cross the A149 with a pond on your left, and take the public footpath into the next field. Cross a stile and keep the hedge to your right.
In the distance you will see the sails of Burnham Overy Windmill. Cross another stile and turn right onto Norfolk Coast Path until reaching the A149.
The Burnham Overy Tower Mill is now in front of you. The mill is now a National Trust Holiday property and is not usually open to the public.
Burnham Overy Tower Mill
Burnham Overy Tower Mill was built in 1816 for Edmund Savory, a miller who was running a watermill on the River Burn known as the Lower Mill. Savory worked the mill until his death on 9 February 1827, when it passed to his son John. The premises comprising a steam mill powered by a 16 horsepower (12 kW) steam engine driving four pairs of millstones, the watermill driving three pairs of millstones and the windmill, also driving three pairs of millstones. As well as the mills there were maltings, granaries and various other farm buildings, together with over 40 acres (16 ha) of land. It last worked in 1919 and was eventually given to the National Trust in 1958. It is now used as one of the Trusts’ Holiday Cottages and can sleep up to 19 people.
Turn left at the A149 and follow path beside the road to East Harbour Way on the left until reaching The Hero public house and the end of your walk.
The Hero Bar and Restaurant.
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