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Wells lies in the North Norfolk coast between Holkham and Stiffkey. Wells has been a working harbour since at least the 13th Century and contains a wealth of ancient buildings, narrow streets and stunning Norfolk views.

Wells Quay

Crab fishing at Wells quay

Beach Huts at Wells

Beach huts at Wells

The poet Edwin Brock (1927-97) spent a lot of time on the North Norfolk coast while recuperating from a stroke and in his poem Postcard from Wells-next-the Sea he sums up the beauty of the location:

'Time to watch the boats subside
as the sea is sucked out of the estuary
and climb creaking to their feet again
as it all comes hurrying back.
Time to walk those skeletal pines
behind the bathing shacks
and believe the whole world is fossilised.'

The naturalist W.H. Hudson (1841-1922) visited Wells in 1912 to gather material for his book Adventures Among Birds and had this to say about the area:
'There are few places in England where you can get so much wildness and desolation of sea and sandhills, wood, green marsh and grey saltings as at Wells in Norfolk.'

W.H. Hudson was one of the founding members of the RSPB.

This stretch of the North Norfolk coast is particularly popular with holidaymakers and, as a result, is less 'wild' than it used to be, but the area is still beautiful and relatively unspoilt. The beach at Wells - which forms part of Holkham Bay - is particularly spectacular.

Wells also hosts an annual poetry festival which was founded by Kevin Crossley-Holland (see Burnham Overy Staithe). Speakers and contributors have included: Ronald Blythe, Richard Mabey and Kit Wright.

Wells also has a number of other literary connections: Chris Sugden (alias Sid Kipper) lived in Wells for a number of years when his was a child. In his book The Story of a Norfolk Farm (1941) Henry Williamson (who lived at nearby Stiffkey) transformed Wells into Whelk-next-the-Sea and the poet and journalist Bernard Phillips used to run The Moorings restaurant in the town.

Viewers of Stephen Fry's Kingdom will be familiar with Wells quayside as it was used as one of the main locations for the fictional town of Market Shipborough.


More photographs of Wells





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