The closest Broadland village to the coast, with a magnificent windpump on the banks of a windswept broad.
An Introduction to Horsey
Horsey is the closest Broadland village to the coast - it is only about a mile from the sea. A magnificent windpump (owned by the National Trust) sits on Horsey staithe and is open to visitors. The dyke leads to Horsey Mere, a windswept broad which is only open to the public spring to autumn. The village itself is small and has a church with round tower and a lovely country pub (partway down the track to the beach). A gap in the sea-defences allows access to the almost deserted beach. In summer, a kiosk at the staithe car-park sells refreshments. Between December and early February, the beach at Horsey is home to hundreds of seals that come to breed.
We start our tour of Horsey at the magnificent Windpump. This five storey windpump was built in 1912 to pump water out from the surrounding land so that it could be used for agriculture. It was operational until 1943, when it was hit by lightning.
Horsey Dyke and Windpump
The National trust took ownership of Horsey Windpump in 1948 and restored it. It is now open to visitors on certain days in season. You can climb the floors of the pump and see the workings, with steep steps taking you up to the top for a great view back over Horsey! For more information see the National Trust website.
Cogs in Horsey Windmill
Workings of Horsey Windpump, managed by the National Trust
Steps to the top of Horsey Windpump
View from the top of Horsey Windpump
One story tells how the operator at Horsey found himself entangled in the pump's machinery as he tried to secure the building against the storm in 1943; his cries are still said to be heard on windy nights as the ghost of his mangled body continues to be dragged around by the windpump's huge, wooden sails.
A sign by the car-park gives an overview of the area.
There is also a refreshment hut on Horsey Staithe.
Horsey Estate Map, managed by the National Trust
Refreshment hut on Horsey Staithe
The Buxton family continue to manage the surrounding 2000 acre estate. There are paths that lead along both sides of the dyke leading to Horsey Mere.
One path leads along the banks of the Waxham New Cut to the remains of Brograve Drainage Mill. The path the other side of the dyke is a much shorter and leads to a view point over Horsey Mere. All paths offer fabulous views over the reeds, marshes and glistening water.
Horsey Dyke footpath leading to Horsey Mere
Brograve Drainage Mill, Horsey
View over Horsey Mere
Reeds at Horsey Mere
WALK - Horsey Windpump to the Beach - 3 miles round trip approximately.
For a lovely walk, take the National Trust path that leads from the windpump over NT land towards the coast. This short walk gives a lot of variety, from Broadland, flat countryside, to a windswept beach. The path does get a little muddy in winter.
National Trust land leads to the beach at Horsey
Footpath to the beach at Horsey
Mid-way between the windpump and the coast is the Nelson Head Pub - a great place to stop for a pint or a pub lunch (well behaved dogs allowed inside).
The Nelson Head pub at Horsey
Pub lunch at the Nelson Head in Horsey, Norfolk
The track leads on towards a gap in the sea defences. The sand dunes are a nature reserve and another path leads up and down the coast - you can walk for miles!
The beach is over the sand dunes as usually deserted.
Sea defences at Horsey
Horsey sand dune nature reserve
Horsey Beach, a great place to see grey seals
The beach between Horsey and Winterton on sea is home to a colony of grey seals. You can usually see their heads popping up above the waves. In December and January they have pups and come out of the water for several weeks. Around 100 pups are born each winter. The pups are white, the females light grey and males dark grey. It's a great opportunity for the whole family to see seals close up (no dogs on the beach at this time of year please).
Seal Pup and its mum at Horsey
Grey Seal Colony at Horsey
Seal asleep on Horsey Beach
Seal Pup at Horsey
Returning back to the village itself, we find the church of All Saints, which has a Saxon rounded tower and is a lovely remote and peaceful church. The remainder of Horsey is made up of pretty cottages and leafy lanes.
Between December and February, come to see the seals breeding on the beach
If you like remote places, where all you can hear is the sound of the countryside, then Horsey is for you. It has lovely views of Horsey Mere and its windmill and then you can walk over fields and enjoy a remote beach. To finish, enjoy a pub lunch in the one and only building in the area!
Thomas Smithdale land drainage engineers were responsible for many of the Windmills in Norfolk back in the late 1930's, my father being one of the sons carrying out work on many of the mills. He told us many stories about the work which was undertaken in those days, we also visited many of them when I was a child. I remember the very harsh weather the men had to work in. Yours sincerely Jacky (nee) Smithdale
Researching days out during the school holidays, I found the pictures a great help as they give a good overview of the mill and surrounding area. Will definitely be visting in August. Kim from Lowestoft.