The Hope is a continuation of the steep gravel beach that we walked on yesterday. The first decision of the day is whether to continue along the beach (hard walking) as we did yesterday, or to take the 'high road' along the cliff top (slightly easier walking and more scenic). As the tide is high and we are not sure about how far up the high water line reaches, we plump for the cliff walk and and are soon making our way up Water Hill.
There are good views back towards Blakeney and clear evidence of the damage being wrought on the cliffs here from coastal erosion. Unlike the harder limestone cliffs of North Yorkshire, the Weybourne Chalk is softer and more susceptible to damage with the sea undercutting it at the base at high tide and, water penetration on the top, more permeable layer. If you are interested in the geology of the area, this link gives a reasonably accessible introduction.
As we topped the hills now we could clearly see Sheringham nestled in a gap in the line of the cliff. Viewed from this angle, one can see the consequences of the different flood defensive structures used at Sheringham. As the man-made defensive structures have protected the frontage of the village, nature has taken its toll on the cliffs to east and west of the village with the result that the village and the cliffs are no longer in alignment. Rather, the village protrudes beyond the cliffs for over seventy metres and the distance is likely to continue to grow as the cliff line erodes further.
It was a beautiful day with the sun high in a blue and white sky. There was just a slight breeze coming off the water, at times struggling to even cool us down. With the tide out numerous bird species were feeding on the newly exposed rock, including shag, cormorant, gull and the occasional tern. The sharp cries of the birds and the salty aroma of seaweed filled the air. We were walking on firm sand, interspersed with the stones and rocks fallen from the cliff and left behind by the tide and were able to make rapid progress.