Bacton
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Telephone code: 01692
Postcode: NR12
Population: 1150
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Walcott Beach in Norfolk. Halfway between the kiss-me-quick front in Great Yarmouth and the Chelsea-on-Sea atmosphere of North Norfolk is the hidden gem of Walcott. It is a tiny place, though next door is the North Sea gas terminal at Bacton. Walcott has a wonderful beach that rarely has more than a handful of people on it. It is a great beach for strolling on, head down and looking for sea glass and the occasional sea anemone fossil – when you do find one of these it is a real bonus, they are made of hard stone, and somehow have kept the markings, so the fossil is almost black grey, and the markings very white. The sands are clean, and there are lots of pebbles for contrast and treasure hunting. It is worth lifting the head from the beach, however, as there is a good chance of spotting a curious seal watching you watch it. They are feeding on the abundant fish off Walcott, which is a very healthy stretch of shore – if you are really lucky you may come across the occasional small fish driven onto the sand by the seals or the predators like mackerel that panic them. Back above the sea defences there are all the necessities for a good day at the seaside. The chippie is brilliant, with more than just the usual cod on offer, and picnic benches outside so you can enjoy the ‘catch’ in the sea air. There is a small general store with beach goods – we got a stunt-kite that for once worked, and kept a ten-year-old happy for hours. And at either end of the village there is a pub, though the one to the south is a fair distance away. Just getting to Walcott is a pleasure. The quick way is taking the A149 and then cutting across country. The slow way is dawdling through the rolling country on the back roads, taking in the villages nearby – Happisburgh (pronounced Haysbro’) falling into the sea to the south, or historic Paston to the north.

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Battle of the Boyne - 1690, First Day of the Somme - 1916, Disaster at Chilwell Shell Plant - 1918, Oxfam Opens its First Charity Shop - 1948, Wade wins Jubilee Wimbledon - 1977, Britain hands back Hong Kong to China - 1997, Smoking Ban in England - 2007
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