Flapping sails, tingling halyards and launching trolleys fill the harbour, which is now only navigable to small pleasure crafts. Many of the houses here have incredibly long gardens which end at the staithe itself. Bikes, boats and windsurfing boards can be rented in the village. In Old English a 'staithe' is a bank, or landing stage.
This area is known for its shellfish with
tons of oysters and mussels grown in the waters between the staithe and
the sea. Lots of the locals sell fresh mussels from their houses and a
walk down to the harbour takes you through whelk sheds where your feet
will crunch on the myriad of discarded shells from these busy sheds.
Brancaster which is just over a mile
further down the coast has wide sandy beaches for those amongst you who
wish to build sand castles and for the golfers there is the Royal West
Norfolk Golf Club, an eighteen hole course.
Scolt Head Island is a Nature Conservation Area and has the largest breeding colony of Sandwich Terns making it an ideal venue for the bird watcher, the island can be accessed from the harbour by small ferry boats which take visitors out to the reserve in the long summer months.
The village itself has a couple of shops, a
garage, a pub/inn The Jolly Sailor and a local restaurant The White Horse,
both of which serve good food. At Brancaster Staithe there is The Fish
Shed, which sells fresh and smoked fish, they also make meat and fish
pies, pate, potted shrimp, marmalade, jams and fruit crumbles, has basic
grocery items and vegetables. For a further range of shops there is Burnham
Market which lies three miles inland.
Why not take a boat from the Staithe to Scolt Head Island where you can find four species of tern, oyster catchers and ringed plovers. Just under four miles long the Island is continuously changing shape.
William Hotching was a smuggler who ended his days as an honest man selling fish. He had an inn called the Hat and Feathers in the 1860ís overlooking the marshes. He used to smuggle tobacco, amongst other things, which he used to hide in his cellar. When he was planning a daylight smuggling operation he would arrange for bowling competitions at the White Horse pub so that all the villagers would be occupied. He was eventually caught by the excise men at Kings Lynn and spent six months in prison. When he finished his term he decided to go straight and spent the rest of his life as a shellfish merchant.
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