The Village of Blakeney in Norfolk

A holiday guide to the coastal village of Blakeney on the North Norfolk Coast. In the thirteenth century Blakeney was ranked fourth of Englands top ten ports and provided ships to carry the King over to Sluys in Flanders. However, the village thrived as much on smuggling as it did on its naval activities.

Nowadays the estuary is silted up and is only navigable to small pleasure crafts and small fishing vessels with shallow draughts. This is a very popular place at any time of the year, given its picturesque quality and the fact that it is also located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village is sheltered by four miles of sand and shingle known as Blakeney Point which is owned by the National Trust.

Blakeney Point has over 1,000 acres of sand dunes and is a nature reserve, home to the common and grey seal. It is also a bird sanctuary with a wealth of bird life including Terns, Oyster Catchers, Plovers and Redshank. It is possible to walk out to Blakeney Point from Cley but it is a ten mile hike of rough walking. So easier to take advantage of boat trip from either Blakeney and Morston Quay to get to the point.

The village itself is full of pretty cobbled cottages located in narrow streets that lead down to the Quay. On a hill overlooking the marsh stands the church of St. Nicholas, patron saint of fishing. Although Blakeney does not have a beach as such, many people take advantage of low tide to enjoy a paddle in the creek or lounge around on one of the sand banks.

A pleasant walk, starts from the national trust car park next to Blakeney Quay and leads out along an embankment, which heads towards the sea and the point. With marshland on your right, still grazed by cows with salt marshes and small tidal creeks on your left, it is a good place to observe migrating birds with binoculars. The village has a small number of shops including a well stocked store, inn and hotels.

There is an old saying that Blakeney people go up the steeple to crack a small nut with a five farthing beetle OR Blakeney people sit on a steeple eat hazelnuts with a five farthing beetle. 

The famous old Crown and Anchor Inn, were reputed to be the haunt of smugglers, was demolished in 1921 to make way for the Blakeney Hotel. It was affectionately known as the Barking Dickey; the word Dickey being an old Norfolk name for donkey. The Inn was the home of John Curl who every Thursday used to brew his own beer and then sell it for 1 1/2d a pint. Blakeney Hotel was opened in 1923 having been built at a cost of 31,000.

The legend of Old Shuck; the famous huge black ghost dog associated with Norfolk, is reputedly to have been seen in Little Lane, together with a ghostly wagon and horses.
In olden days it was said that there were Hytersprites out on the marshes, long legged spidery creatures. These tales were probably used to keep youngsters in at night and strangers off the marshes, no doubt by smugglers and others not keen to have their nocturnal activities publicised.

The long forgotten Carmelite Friary stood out on the marshes close to the mouth of the river Glaven. Some stone remains of this small church are still visible, on a rise in the corner of the field where the Norfolk Coastal Path veers round to Cley. It was here that vessels going out to sea were blessed. Mariners and fishermen used to put offerings into an iron box fixed to the outside of the building for a successful voyage and a safe return to port.

The Tidal marks opposite the National Trust Car Park on the wall. Which shows just how high the tide has reached in the past!

Home   Other Norfolk Towns and Villages