What better way to begin a day trip than with a meandering drive through the Norfolk countryside. Our ultimate destination was Horsey, a small village on the North-East coast and on the edge of the Norfolk Broads National Park, famous (locally at least) for its windpump.
This was a day out with my Dad, and I’m pleased to say that even though he’s a Norfolk boy born and bred, we stopped off at a couple of places on the way that he hadn’t known about before, but I’m fairly sure he (and we) will be back!
I had come across Itteringham Community Shop through Twitter (@ItteringhamShop), and as our route took us through Aylsham and it was around coffee time, all the signs seemed to be pointing towards a detour to Itteringham for coffee. We weren’t disappointed. The shop, which is run by members of the community, is tiny but amazingly well stocked with local products and everyday essentials – and incredibly welcoming. There are a couple of tables in the shop, and on sunny days there are seats outside. The coffee and tiffin were also delicious, so our stop was a really relaxing break – I’d definitely recommend a visit!
Next stop was Stalham, where we visited another Twitter discovery – ‘Truly Local’ (@trulylocalcic). Truly Local is also a community run shop, and lives up to its name. All of the produce sold in the shop is from within a 35 mile radius, which is a wonderful concept. Given that Stalham is close to the coast, this also means that they stock fresh seafood. Another really friendly shop, which is well worth a visit. It’s amazing how wide a range of produce is available within such a small area.
From Stalham we drove the final leg to Horsey, and headed to the Nelson Head pub so that we could work up the energy for a good walk. The pub is full of Broads and farming related memorabilia, including a massive ‘Punt Gun’ used many years ago on the broads for duck hunting. We were amazed that the boats remained intact with that being fired on board, let alone the ducks! We were welcomed by a roaring fire, and a range of local beers (although sadly I was driving!), and a menu that uses local ingredients where possible. We both had fish in Nelson’s Revenge beer batter and chips, which was beautifully fresh and delicious.
Our walk took us from the pub across to the windpump. The windpump is now owned by the National Trust, but up until being struck by lightning in 1943 was used as a water pump for drainage of the surrounding land. It’s a great circular walk that goes past Horsey Mere, across farmland, and on a day when it doesn’t start raining half way round, you can also do a stretch along the beach, where you can often see seals.
It’s so lovely to see community shops doing so well and strongly supporting local producers. Long may it continue!