The Sheraton And Hunstanton Cliffs


Hunstanton is one of the main resort towns on the North Norfolk Coast, located on the east side of The Wash, about 15 miles north of Kings Lynn.  For the photographer, the main attractions are the beach and seafront.  The promenade and sea defences run for about 2 miles south to Heacham with numerous groynes running out into the beach.  To the north, the beach is backed by the red and white striped Hunstanton Cliffs which rise to a height of about 60ft.  The cliffs are made up of three layers – brown sandstone (The Carrstone Formation), red limestone (The Hunstanton Formation) and white chalk (The Ferriby Chalk Formation). The cliffs were laid down during the Cretaceous Period, and are an abundant source of fossils, however they are quite unstable, so can be dangerous .

The other star attraction of the beach is the wreck of The Sheraton.  This was a trawler built in 1907 at Hull and operating out of Grimsby.  During both World Wars it was requisitioned by the Navy as a minesweeper and patrol boat, and even had a gun turret fitted during WW2.  After the end of WW2, it was decommissioned and moored in The Wash to act as a target for the RAF, but during a storm in 1947 it broke free and was washed ashore under the Hunstanton cliffs.  Efforts to re-float it were unsuccessful, so it was sold for scrap, stripped down and the remains left to decay. We tried to photograph it on a receding tide and it was quite eerie watching it gradually emerge from beneath the water.

Under the cliffs there is also an area of interesting rounded rocks covered in barnacles, and the entire beach area is host to numerous wading birds such as Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers.

Location and Parking

Postcode: Hunstanton: PE36 5AJ, Old Hunstanton: PE36 6EL

Access to the beach is restricted by the cliffs which stretch between Hunstanton and Old Hunstanton to the north.  There are numerous car parks close to the front in Hunstanton, so the Hunstanton post-code above is roughly central, giving access to the promenade to the south and the beach and cliffs to the north.  The Old Hunstanton postcode is for a cliff top car park, where there is access to the beach at the north end of the cliffs.  Note that at high tide, parts of the beach become cut off, so be aware of tide times if walking along the beach between Hunstanton and Old Hundstanton.

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