A large village conveniently located midway between the Norfolk Broads and the North Sea.
An Introduction to Martham and West Somerton
Martham, a large village with a population of over 3000, is conveniently located mid-way between the Norfolk Broads and the North Sea. The centre of Martham has plenty of attractive properties, a village green (and pond), a post office, a couple of pubs, a supermarket and a variety of other shops. The village also has a large historic church. A short walk from the village is the River Thurne and Martham riverbank, which has a row of riverside bungalows. The river here is much quieter than other areas of the Broads as boats need to navigate below Potter Heigham bridge to get here. Nearby West Somerton is a lovely quiet backwater, ideal for fishing, walking, messing about in boats or just lazing around. There is a windfarm near the village and a lovely ancient church.
We start our tour of Martham by the village pond, which is surrounded by grass and loads of ducks!
Martham Village Pond
Martham Village Sign
The pond is adjacent to the village green and there are
some lovely cottages surrounding the green.
Thatched cottages around the village green
The Old Granary, Martham
Among the shops in Martham are a flower shop and a thatched chip-shop! (I wonder if this is the only thatched chip-shop in Britain?)
Martham flower shop
Martham thatched chip shop
There are two village pubs, the Victoria Inn and the Kings Arms -both very close to each other.
The Victoria Inn Martham
The Kings Arms Pub Martham
A short walk from the village centre is the lovely church
of St Mary, which stands on a gentle rise, surrounded by trees. The tower, complete with clock, can be seen for miles!
The church has great detail in the flint stonework, especially the "checker board" under the main window.
Martham church of St. Mary
Martham church clock
Flint brickwork at Martham church
Inside, the church is well looked after and has some interesting stained glass. The east window of the chancel is by Hardman of Birmingham and was put in when the chancel was rebuilt in 1856-7 as a memorial to the Revd. Jonathan Dawson. The windows in the east end of the north and south aisles are medieval stained glass.
Inside Martham church
Stained glass window in St. Marys church Martham
The church is in a lovely setting, with large church grounds and some thatched cottages in the road nearby.
Martham church doorway
From the church, if you head down Staithe Road, you come to a dyke that leads to the River Thurne.
Staithe Road Martham
Boats moored in Martham Dyke
At the end of the dyke you will find a run down boat yard and one of the few remaining vehicle ferries on the Norfolk Broads. The ferry is hand operated and takes farm vehicles over the water.
Just behind the boatyard is a path that leads along Martham Riverbank, which gives access to the row of riverside bungalows, and it also makes a lovely walk.
Martham riverbank bungalow entrance
Mid-way along the path is Martham Mill, the remnants of an old windmill, now a private residence.
The path also gives views of the church tower back towards Martham.
Views of Martham church tower
Eventually we come to the boat sheds of Martham Boats, who hire out traditional timber Broads cruisers and yachts, including half-deckers. These boats are a great way to explore the Broads in traditional wooden craft.
Traditional wooden cruiser at Martham Boats
Wooden Half Deckers at Martham Boats
West Somerton Guided Tour
The ancient parish church of St. Marys at West Somerton is one of the best in Norfolk, partly due to its location, perched on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside and views to the coast at Winterton. People have worshipped here for over 900 years and the building contains craftsmanship from various dates and periods.
West Somerton Village Church
St Marys church tower, West Somerton
Inside the church at West Somerton
Evening sunshine on St Marys church
West Somerton is a lovely small village, with a village green and a dyke leading to the main river.The green has some lovely cottages grouped around it and a footpath leads along the bank of the dyke, giving access to the boats moored further up and is a great quiet spot for a little fishing or to launch a canoe.
West Somerton village sign
Cottage at West Somerton
Footpath at West Somerton
Dyke at West Somerton, leading to the River Thurne
Nearby, is one of the first windfarms in the UK at Blood Hill, mid way between West Somerton and Winterton on Sea. The site currently has 10 wind turbines, generating approximately 2.25 megawatts of electricity, enough for around 1,400 homes. Debate rages regarding their appearance, we ask you to judge for yourself!
West Somerton windfarm
Wind turbine at Blood Hill
Blood Hill Windfarm
Renewable wind energy turbine
Martham and West Somerton summary of what to SEE and DO
Wander the village centre and shops of Martham
Feed the ducks on the village pond
Enjoy a refreshment in one of the village pubs
Walk along Martham riverbank and find the mill
Hire a day boat (sail or motor) from Martham Boats
Visit the impressive church at Martham
Visit nearby West Somerton and view the windfarm
Walk along the dyke at West Somerton
Martham and West Somerton are contrasting villages - one has plenty going on and the other is remote and isolated, but both are beautiful in their own way. A walk along the river path is not to be missed.