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Sep 2017

Landscape park and woodland garden with miles of stunning coastal views.

National Trust Logo

It's only just been realised that the 1,000 acres of North Norfolk parkland that's walkably west and south of Sheringham is National Trust™ run so that'll be £5 for the parking then?

Sheringham Park - Car Park

Unlike Dunwich Heath, this isn't late afternoon so there's nearly the full day to fill and advising trippers speak very highly. It still sounds a little steep for a gazebo but more on that in a minute.

Humphry Repton was seen as the natural successor to Lancelot '  Capability' Brown, he of landscape gardening on a grand-scale fame. Repton designed the layout of the park in 1812 but unlike Brown, Repton didn't call for the contractors.

He simply provided detailed plans in a big 'Red Book' and left it to the wealthy Upcher family to go and get the diggers in. That's how it's understood and you can read all about it in the small Visitor Centre while you're waiting for a frothy coffee.

There's a disappointing start as it's seen that the fiver's-worth's not going towards filling the birdfeeders. Things perk up, however, in the 'Bower', a relaxing area with two gardens, one sensory and one for wildlife.

Sheringham Park - Empty Birdfeeders Sheringham Park - The Bower Garden Sheringham Park - The Bower

Bower, of course, from the Germanic Bauer through Old English and in this context used to mean a birdcage so you can see what Repton tried to do here.

Not that these two caged canaries can hang around here too long. There's less than  24 hours to track down a tearoom but a heavily-armed but badly-injured man called Jack Bauer is trying to stop it.

The broad woodland path runs for less than a mile north-west and along with the dog-walking nodders, there's some visibly voluntary evidence of the estate actually being managed.

A number of numbered points of interest on your leaflet but no key to tell any non-botanical types what's what? The rhododendrons might be recognisable but there's no idea what this is?

Sheringham Park - Rhododendron?

Hang on! Isn't that a big old rhododendron?

One of those points of interest is a wooden viewing tower that gets you just about above the canopy.

Sheringham Park - View from a Tower Sheringham Park - Buteo buteo

It's not quite high enough, however, to tickle the buzzards, probably, that have been seen buzzing about.

When the trees run out, Repton's path deliberately reveals and heads towards Sheringham Hall.

Sheringham Park - Sheringham Hall

Former family home of the aforementioned Upchers, when Thomas Upcher died in 1985 he was the end of the line and within a year the pad had landed up in the National Trust™'s lap.

They won't let you in since they rent it out privately but a big bonus for the tenants is that the Trust are handy for helping out with the gardening.

If you've a keen eye, you might spy some wildlife hanging around the fence out front. The unmistakeable muntjac deer, of course, and there are 3 species to be found in the grounds.

Sheringham Park - Muntiacus reevesi

The muntjac, the much rarer red and the third one? Man, what's its name again? Aargh, can't remember. No idea[1][2].

[1] Roe.
[2] © the 1930s.

Behind the hall, they're advertising a gazebo and you might well be giving a similarly sarcastic 'whoopee!' This ain't any gazebo, though, the SAS[1] use this one for training!

Forget those misconceptions about Norfolk not being that hilly, there's an unexpected lug up a path to its base then at least five wooden flights that might well bring on the wobblies and yes, that'll be the old vertigo.

Sheringham Park - To the Gazebo Sheringham Park - At the Gazebo

HRH Prince \ King[2] Charlie cut the ribbon on this in 1988 when he shouted up the Sandringham stairs... 'I'm just nipping out to open a gazebo pet.'

[1] Sheringham Army Soldiers.
[2] Delete as appropriate.

Not unreasonably, there are reasonable views up there and this one's looking nearly 10 miles north-west to  Blakeney Point, it's thought, although that's a little too far to see the seals.

Sheringham Park - Up the Gazebo

You might also catch the  North Norfolk Railway's chuff-chuff down below as it choo-choos its way to Holt and back.

It's less than a mile away from the park to Weybourne Station, the next stop for that North Norfolk Railway chuff-chuff.

Near Sheringham Park - Weybourne Station Near Sheringham Park - Weybourne Station

If you're lucky, both the steam-powered BR 4MT 2-6-0-76084 and the classic, Class 40 Diesel Locomotive[1] 46-D182 might pull in together.

There's a proper old-skool café that will let you sit outside and share your sandwiches with the chaffinches but the main attraction here has to be the 'gents'.

There's, literally, a steady stream in there so gathering evidence was a bit awkward but these were the best bogs that this one's ever been in, and he's been in a few.

Weybourne Station is culturally significant in that the period detail provided the location for occasional platform scenes in Dad's Army. There are some out there who claim that was Wymondham but that appears to be a load of chuff and if you're ever confronted, don't tell them your name!

[1] We are honestly not that interested in these things, honestly, they just keep following you around.

Returning back to the park, there's a path to the right so you don't have to retrace the same steps back to the car park. Here is also unexpectedly hilly and what with the pines, this feels and looks like Scotland, say.

Sheringham Park Sheringham Park - Woodlands Caravan Park

Just like most of your visits there, you'll end up lost, emerging at the back of a caravan park and that's added at least a mile.

No Trespassing says the warning... 'Violators will be shot survivors will be shot again' ha-ha-ha! Is that someone playing the banjo in the background?

The last point of interest is a temple that was designed by Repton but not put in place until 1975 to mark Thomas Upcher's 70th birthday.

Sheringham Park - Upcher Family Temple Sheringham Park - Macrolepiota procera?

There's more unexpected up and down to reach it but it frames the hall perfectly and they'd have to had laid off these things[1] to keep their perspective and line it up correctly.

Today has been a watershed moment because for 2 years now this pair have had it in for the National Trust™ after Dunwich Heath. They might have  gazumped local farmers in Cumbria and some volunteers aren't too  LGBT friendly but that fiver has represented pretty good value for money so what can be railed against now?

Where can the self-righteousness be directed at for what's really already everyone's anyway? Right then English Heritage™, it looks like it's your turn.

[1] Not so, harmless and actually quite tasty, they say.