Anita and I are now part of the camper van world and got our converted van just before Christmas (it started life as a people carrier in Japan before we got it). We couldn’t wait to road test it and decided to spend 3 days away in it over the New Year period. So we headed to Burnham Deepdale Backpackers and Camping.
We spent New Year’s Eve playing scrabble and drinking Prosecco in the van, with the dog snoozing at our feet. We’re
getting are old 🙂
This was a new part of the country for us: we had been thinking about where to have the inaugural van trip and friend Ali recommended Burnham Deepdale on the north Norfolk coast.
I immediately had The Stranglers ‘Norfolk Coast’ in my head:
“I walked alone on the Norfolk Coast
With the screams of the birds they echoed around my mind”.
A great track from a great album a few years back, the title track being dark and atmospheric.
Turned out that the trip wasn’t as dark or gothic as that.
In fact, we had great, albeit cold, weather, with blue to grey dry skies and ‘that light’ you get on wide coastal expanses. The birds though were there in plenty – atmosphere regained. There were big flocks of various species to see along the Norfolk Coast Path, wading in the creeks or on the wing.
The various creeks and their meandering channels branch out towards Scolt Head nature reserve. Or rather, flow in from the sea along the River Burn and Norton, Mow and Trowland Creaks.
We didn’t get as far as Scolt Head or to nearby National Trust Blakeney Point though, where we would have been able to see seal pups. With the ageing hound with us, reasonably long walks were not on the cards – and you are also not encouraged to have a dog near the pups and seals, for good reason.
Instead, we had longish walks on a couple of the days, walking first east then walking some of the western section of the Norfolk Coast Path the next day. We covered about 6 miles each day. Which is considered a Large Walk for 15-year-old Brodie Dog.
She looks deceptively younger (even in her old lady jumper) and was told as much a handful of times when we were out on walks.
The walks meant that Brodie slept well at night even though we had been worried she might not settle in the van. She’s a medium-sized hound so her bed fitted perfectly, even when we had our double (ish) bed setup.
That said, she was happiest lying outside the van’s awning (with a blanket over her) to survey the comings and goings of the campsite. I think she would have been happy to slept under the stars with a blanket and her ‘granny sweater’. But I didn’t want to leave the van door open and lose all that heat – clear skies meant a couple of chilly nights outside.
Deepdale Backpackers campsite
The campsite was great – friendly staff and some great shower block facilities. And although it was low season, all the shops in the little arcade alongside it, (along with the cafe) were open a few hours each day.
If we hadn’t just had Christmas and my tax bill wasn’t due at the end of January (and we hadn’t just, err, bought a van) I may well have spent longer in the One Stop Nature Shop – a nature lover’s gadget central!
Walks along the coast from Burnham Deepdale
Back to the walks … the coastal path and the areas off-piste were understandably squelchy in places. Stepping down on to the saltmarsh and the mussel beds and wandering around the fishing port of Brancaster Staithe at low tide needed walking boots or wellies for sure.
Sections of the path comprised of a boardwalk, to avoid particularly muddy and marshy ground. On the stretch to Brancaster (and the nearby beach), we walked alongside head-high marsh reeds: strangely relaxing.
Except for when we had to jump off the boardwalk a couple of times when bigger parties were barreling through. The dog jumped down okay but needed some help to get back up on the boardwalk afterwards.
The van didn’t actually move for the 3 days we stayed in the area. Thanks to there being enough to see and great walks in the area … and the nearby, dog-friendly Jolly Sailors 😉
I’d like to visit the area again and spend a full day out on the estuary paths or head over to Scolt Head.