Starting Point of the Burnhams Circular Walk
It was a beautiful sunny day during January and I had been keen to do the Burnhams Circular walk for some time. Wrapping up warm and with Red by my side, we drove the short journey from Wells-next-the-Sea to Burnham Overy Staithe to start our walk.
We parked on the south edge of the hard at the harbour, so as to avoid the high tide from coming up to the car. It is always worth checking the tide times to make sure it is not going to be a particularly high tide whilst you are off walking and finding your car full of water when you return.
Parking is free here which is great and it takes the pressure off rushing the walk.
Burnham Overy Staithe to Burnham Overy Town
With dog treats in my pocket and whistle around my neck, we set off southwards up the street from where we drove in. On meeting the main road, we crossed over and continued walking southward up Gong Lane. Towards the top, this turns into a dirt track and took us in between fields.
At this point it was safe to let Red off the lead. The fields on either side are arable so there was no risk to any livestock. Soon Burnham Overy Town came into view. The track took us down to where we turned off to the right, through a tree-lined grassed track and not as defined as the one we had just walked down.
This brought us out into the hamlet at the back of St Clements Church alongside the graveyard. If you have time, it is well worth taking a look inside St Clements. It is an unusual church originating from the Norman era. The central tower has been lowered and is now topped with an attractive bell turret. It was here that I returned Red to his lead as we walked through the lane.
Visit the Burnham Norton Carmelite Friary of St Mary
We continued through the small hamlet to the main road. Take care at this point because it is on a tight bend with no paths. We crossed onto the south side of the road and a narrow path lead us past the Grade 2 listed water mill, which has been converted into domestic dwellings. We continued on the main road towards the village of Burnham Market but just as we reached it, we turned right up Friar’s Lane.
The first Carmelite Friary to be established in Norfolk
This lane leads to the village Primary School but also to Burnham Norton Carmelite Friary of St Mary. The first Carmelite Friary to be established in Norfolk, this site was occupied by the friars in 1253. The remains of the gatehouse and other buildings remain standing, and the rest of the friary complex is visible as earthworks and foundations on the ground. It is an interesting site and worth a short detour to take a look.
Through Fields to Burnham Norton
Just before the Primary School on the left is a narrow pathway leading alongside the school grounds on the right and field on the left. It is quite a tight pathway, particularly if it has become overgrown, but safe for Red to be off his lead. It brought us out at a lane at the top where we turned right towards the church of St Margaret’s in Burnham Norton.
Just before the church is a turning off to the left which took us through fields and out onto Herring’s Lane. We walked a short distance along here and then just as the road went round to the right, we took a pathway across the field down towards the village of Burnham Norton and the main coast road. This is a busy main road so take care when crossing over.
Almost directly opposite we picked up Norton St and headed north through the village of Burnham Norton. Here we passed an old phone box full of books and games for the community and passers-by to help themselves to and to replace in return.
Picking up the North Norfolk Coastal Path
At the end of the village, as we approached the Saltmarsh, we picked up the North Norfolk Coastal Path and followed it along the bank for a short distance to a waymarker post. At this point we left the coastal path and followed the path up towards the Tower Windmill in Burnham Overy Staithe. A Grade 2 listed tower, and now owned by the National Trust as holiday accommodation.
The path took us alongside the top of the field in line with the main road so I kept Red on the lead to be safe. The path eventually comes out onto the road for a short distance before turning left into Burnham Overy Staithe and along the front of the harbour, back to the car park where we started.
Useful Information for the Burnhams Circular Walk
The Burnhams Circular Walk is 4.5 miles altogether and has everything you could want from a countryside walk. It was great for Red as there was plenty of safe ‘off the lead’ time. You can download the map from here.
The walk can be started from our Burnham Market holiday cottages – Coopers Cottage, Plum Tree Cottage, and Wild Strawberry Cottage by walking from Stonegate Yard to Friar’s Lane and picking the route up from here as a starting point. The route can also be easliy accessed from any of our other holiday cottages by taking the Coasthopper bus if you prefer to leave the car behind. A current timetable can be downloaded from here.