The picturesque quayside and waterfront
is still very much a working port with whelk and shrimp boats berthed in
this small harbour.
The main shopping centre of Wells lies in Staithe street, a narrow mostly pedestrianised lane with surviving Victorian and Edwardian shop fronts, that runs from the waters edge all the way back up into the top part of the town. Here you will find a good range of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
At the quayside are stalls selling locally
caught mussels, dressed crabs, cockles and samphire. Or you can partake of
a portion of fish and chips whilst overlooking the harbour and checking to
see if any of the small children and lets be honest, adults as well, have
managed to catch any crabs on their baited lines along the harbour wall.
Sailing is a popular pastime at Wells, especially during the long summer months, with walking and bird watching providing all year round interest. The beach is around a mile from the quay and can be reached by road, or by a narrow gauge railway which runs from the quay during the season. Or if you fancy a leg stretch and a wonderful view, then you can walk along the causeway which runs parallel to the main shipping channel to reach the beach, giving you the opportunity to admire the many colourful boats. At the beach there is a caravan park, which offers pitch and putt a canoeing lake and also refreshments. The large sandy beaches of Wells are flanked with colourful beach huts and surrounded by a pine tree forest and nature reserve with miles of winding sandy footpaths.
Back in the centre of the town is the
Butlands a large rectangular green lined with late Georgian and Victorian
houses as well as an inn and hotel. The Butlands is where locals in
medieval days used to practice their archery. Nowadays, the green is
traditionally where the towns fetes carnivals and bonfires are held.
An old granary at the bottom of Staithe Street has been converted into a community hall and theatre, which is administered by the community association and used for many local events, such as exhibitions and craft fayres. Holkham Hall with its 18th century Palladian architecture and three thousand acre deer park is just along the coastal road from the town.
In 1970 a Miss May Savidge moved from Ware in Hertfordshire to Wells, which in itself may not sound that extraordinary, particularly given the pretty location of Wells town. However, Miss Savidge brought with her, her own house from Ware, which she had dismantled brick by brick and then had reassembled in its new location.
In the floods of 1953 and 1978 the embankment was breached and the marshes flooded. You can see these high tide marks on the wall opposite the harbour. In 1978 a heavy tide deposited a large ship in the middle of the streets, much to the embarrassment of its owners. Wells has now installed flood barriers which can be moved across the road if extreme high tides ever threaten again.
The name of Wells is derived from the fact that it used to tap the springs of fresh water held by the underlying chalk on which Wells is built. The addition of 'next-the-Sea' was to distinguish the town from other places in Norfolk of the same name. It was known as Wells-next-the-Sea in the early 1800's but with the coming of the railway in 1857the name 'Wells-on -Sea' seems to have been used. The town council made the decision in 1956 that the name 'Wells-next-the-Sea' be adopted, and this has been used since then.
how many streets and alleyways, whose names end with 'Yard'
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