The Village of Horsey in Norfolk

Horsey Norfolk Holidays

A visitors guide to the pocket sized village of Horsey, located on the edge of the Norfolk Broads in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and just over one mile from the beach. This is good walking and bird watching country.

The Horsey Windpump that we see today built in 1911 is a four storey drainage mill owned and managed by the National Trust and open to the public. You can climb its lofty heights where there are fine views out over the watery landscape, where small boats dip and bob. Or just stand and watch the clouds being ferried across the wide empty Norfolk sky. A small shop Staithe Stores sells drinks and ice creams during the summer months.  For provisions you will need to head inland to the village of Martham just over two miles away.  The coast near Horsey has miles and miles of long sandy beaches quite often frequented by seals. 

The 1900 acres that make up Horsey Mere is a wildfowl refuge that attracts thousands of resident and migratory birds with Marsh Harriers and Cranes a regular sight.  People travel for miles around to taste the delicious and now famous Nelson and Steak and Ale Pies at the Nelson Head pub/inn at Horsey. A handy watering hole after a walk to the sea or round the Horsey Staithe on the Norfolk Broads.

Discover the “hidden” Norfolk Broads with Ross' Norfolk Broads River Trips.  A personally guided wildlife boat trips leaving from the staithe by Horsey Windpump. A friendly, experienced, local Broads guide knows just where to take you to see some of the unique flora and fauna that has made this part of Norfolk so famous.

Horsey has always had to do battle for its survival against the sea, back in days past it actually used to be an island in a bay and its name means isle of horses, though whether horses were kept on this island who can say.  Perhaps the name was referring to the rolling white horses that break on the seashore. Back in 1938 the village was once again cut off for four and half months when the North Sea broke through the dunes. 

In olden days Horsey was known as a smuggling village.  Contraband was landed on shore and then distributed by the use of barges and the Norfolk Broads. If word came that the authorities were in the area the alarm was raised by using the sails of the local mills, amongst them the old mill at Horsey. Marshman (men who managed the broads - harvested the reeds etc) were quite often in league with the smugglers and would stop the sails of their mill at the St. Andrews (diagonal) cross. Because of the great height of the mills and the flatness of the terrain this signal could be seen by the next mill along who would also position their sails the same and so on and so forth. So it was that a message could travel from Great Yarmouth to Horsey in a quarter of an hour, much faster than a customs man could ride. To start the sails turning again small boys would be sent up a sail and their weight would start the machines turning again.

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