Discover the Norfolk Broads
A guide to 12 great days out in the unique environment of the Norfolk Broads compiled by people who live there

Discover the Norfolk Broads - A guide to 12 great days out in the unique environment of the Norfolk Broads compiled by people who live there

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and Events
Where are the
Norfolk Broads?

Day Three: Walk / Seal watching – Horsey Mere & Beach / The coastal fringe of the Norfolk Broads

While predominantly an area of freshwater, the Broads National Park extends to the coast at Horsey, providing an opportunity for an undemanding walk around this intriguing area, viewing the only community of seals living in the Norfolk Broads! Our suggestions will take you to Horsey, the site of several extensive flooding episodes in the twentieth century, for a circular walk of approximately 8 miles around the varied landscape of the area; the opportunity to view the large community of seals living along this part of the coast; a climb up Horsey Mill providing striking views over Horsey Mere; lunch at a traditional Norfolk pub; followed by an afternoon visit to Waxham Barn, a restored barn now housing a museum of local life.

Start: Nelson Head public house, Horsey
Ordnance Survey Explorer map OL40; grid reference TG462228
SatNav postcode NR29 4AD

Cost Guide: £ - ££

Our recommended itinerary is as follows:

•   Drive to Horsey, signposted off the A149 from either Martham or Stalham and park near to the Nelson Head public house (1)

•   Keeping the pub on your left, walk east towards the sea, following the track until you reach the dunes, before turning left (2)

•   Optional seal watching detour : if you have plenty of time, you could walk onto the beach, turn right and walk for up to a mile, where you might be lucky enough to spot some of the seals that live along this part of the coast

•   Having turned left, continue for three quarters of a mile behind the dunes, keeping an eye out for marsh harriers and other smaller birds of prey, until you reach a National Trust car park

•   Turn left here (3), following the rough track back to the road, turn right onto the road for a short distance, before turning left onto a footpath between two fields (4). At the field break, turn right across another field, and at the unmade road, turn right and then immediately left between the houses

•   Follow the path around the field edge and along the dyke to a ruined mill (5). Turn left along the stream and follow this path around the edge of Horsey Mere, one of the very few expanses of water in the Broads owned by the National Trust

•   The path will lead you to Horsey Windpump (6), which is well worth a visit for the view from the top and the display of historic photographs of the local area. There is also a small friendly café here, selling teas and snacks, including toasted teacakes and bacon rolls


•   Acquired by the National Trust in 1948 from the Buxton family, who continue to manage the Horsey Estate, the 5-storey windpump has been fully restored and now also has a wheelchairaccessible nature garden, with raised ponds for pond-dipping

•   Opposite the entrance to the car park is a permissive footpath which will lead you back to the Nelson Head, a traditional Norfolk pub. There are no fruit machines, a roaring real fire in the colder months, and children are welcome in the attractive family room. It serves local Woodforde’s ales and homemade food

•   After lunch, why not continue a little way up the road to visit Waxham Barn, a recently renovated barn converted to a museum of rural Norfolk life. It also houses a café if you are still in need of refreshment

Young Family Option

The walk can feel quite long for younger children, so to shorten the trip, try just walking down to the beach and along to spot some seals. You could take a picnic along and eat your lunch in the dunes overlooking the seals, before returning to Horsey to explore the windpump.

Useful Norfolk Broads Contacts

Below you will find suggestions for accommodation, activities, attractions, food & drink and shopping.  All useful contacts while visiting the Norfolk Broads.




Food and Drink


St Benets Holiday Cottages

Self catering cottage adjoining Ludham Hall, with wonderful south facing views over grazing marshes towards the ruins of St Benets Abbey.

Stalham Circular Walk

There is an attractive 5 mile circular walk around Stalham and the surrounding countryside. The town itself is interesting, with many Georgian buildings and an inn dating from 1380. The walk goes past todays holiday boatyards, as well as the old staithe.

Norfolk Windmills Trust

The Trust is responsible for twenty mills within Norfolk, and is financially and technically supported by Norfolk County Council.

Susies Coffee Shop

Pop in from from 9.00am for freshly baked bread and croissants, along with tasty breakfast baps and delicious Italian coffees. Lunchtimes we bake fresh pizza to order along with a selection of baguettes and homemade cakes and treats.

Linda H. Matthews Artist

Working artists studio & gallery, in the beautiful northern broads. Paintings & gifts from Lindas work. Also offering structured painting courses and private tuition, for individuals & groups, with an experienced tutor & art materials for sale

Day One Day boat trip Wroxham to Coltishall – £££££
Day Two Walk / Wildlife watching Ranworth & Fairhaven Gardens – ££££
Day Three Walk / Seal watching Horsey Mere and Beach – £/££ - YF
Day Four Guided boat trip / Wildlife watching Hickling Broad & Sutton - ££££
Day Five Canoe trip Wayford Bridge to Neatishead, via Barton Broad – £££ - YF
Day Six Cycle ride and Picnic Clippesby to How Hill – £/£££ - YF
Day Seven Day boat trip Ludham Bridge to Neatishead via How Hill – £££££
Day Eight Walk / Wildlife watching Salhouse & Cockshoot Broads – ££
Day Nine Canoe trip Martham to Horsey – £££
Day Ten Learn to Sail from Hunter’s Yard at Ludham - £££££
Day Eleven Walk / Boat trip Barton & Alderfen Broads – £/££ - YF
Day Twelve Cycle ride Discover the Norfolk Broads in a Day - £/££
YF - Young Family option available

A cost guide is included for each day out, ranging from lower cost (£: free or up to £15) to higher cost (£££££: £80 up to £100). These costs are based on a family of 4
undertaking all the activities suggested and are accurate as at the date of publication.

"The numerous windmills visible in
the Broads were
actually mainly wind
pumps, helping to
drain the low-lying

Wildlife Fact File
Halichoerus Grypus

Half of the world's population of the grey seal is found on or around the British coast and it has doubled in number since 1960.
Grey seals mainly feed on fish, but will also rarely take squid, octopus and crustaceans.
Grey seals come ashore to breed on exposed rocky shores and can be found around the coastline between Waxham and Winterton-on-Sea.

1. Wear walking boots or shoes, as parts of the walk can be muddy. As a result, the walk is not suitable for pushchairs and the seal watching detour can make it a bit too long for very young children
2. You stand a much better chance of seeing the seals between November and April, when there are fewer people around
3. A good map is useful, ideally the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL40
4. If you take your dog, please keep him/her on a lead as you approach the seals on the beach and try not to get too close as the seals are easily disturbed
5. The windpump and tearoom are open from March to October, although times vary throughout the season. There is a small charge for entry to the windpump. For more information see the National Trust website
6. There are toilet facilities at Horsey Windpump and customer toilets at the Nelson Head pub
7. For a low cost option why not take a picnic? Walk around the end of the staithe at Horsey, by the Mill, and follow the path along the dyke towards the Mere where there are bench seats and great views across the Mere as you munch your lunch!

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Accommodation Activities Attractions Food and Drink Shopping What's On
and Events
Where are the
Norfolk Broads?

Discover the Norfolk Broads - A guide to 12 great days out in the unique environment of the Norfolk Broads compiled by people who live there