Sancastles on the beach

Once a busy fishing village it has become a holiday favourite for those in the know.

Backed by the beautiful dunes - a nature reserve and a site of special scientific interest - the beach offers acres of golden sand and even on the hottest summer days there is always plenty of space for children to build their sandcastles. Here you can enjoy the sound of skylarks singing against a background of waves lapping against the shore. Sometimes you'll catch sight of a seal bobbing in the water or lazing on the sand. If you feel peckish there is the Dunes Cafe, which is popular with visitors and locals alike all through the year.

Overlooking the beach are the eye-catching colourful African roundhouses of the Hermanus holiday centre. The thatched buildings, modelled on huts at Hermanus Bay in South Africa are part of a complex with a bar and restaurant that are open to the public.

Life's a beach

Turning back from the dunes you will see the tower of

Holy Trinity and All Saints church,  one of the biggest

landmarks in the village. In summer the tower, which at

132ft is the third highest in the county, opens to the

public every Saturday. Views from the top are stunning on

a clear day. Inside the 12th Century church Winterton's

maritime heritage is evident with fishing nets on the walls,

a fisherman's corner under a First World War cross from

Flanders and a memorial to a rector who gave his life saving a choirboy from drowning.         

As well as the lighthouse, which is now a holiday home, the village once had its own lifeboat. The last one, the Edward Birkbeck, saved dozens of lives between 1896 and 1925 when the lifeboat station closed down. The foundations of the building along with remains of the wartime coastal defences, can still be seen in the dunes near the cafe while the boat, rescued decades later from the harbour in Conwy, Wales, is now back in the village and under the care of the Winterton on Sea Lifeboat Restoration Group. 

The village is also blessed with a post office stores, which was taken over in 2016 by Jeanne and Gino Farace and given a revamp as well as a new name, Poppy's.

Over the road there is a handy convenience store, Loomes, taken over in 2008 by high school teacher Sathees Vethanayakampillai, it runs with help from his wife Kamaliny, brother-in-law Thajee and assistant Vicky. It has also undergone improvement work and more products are being introduced. A few doors away is the Fish Bar which is just as popular with the residents as it is with visitors.

Adding to the charm of the village are the spectacular flower displays, created and tended by the  Winterton-on-Sea In Bloom committee, businesses and residents. In 2016 the village won a gold in the Great Yarmouth in Bloom Awards.

Fishing boats still go out from the village, but the days of being able to buy fish from the huts on the dunes are gone. Herring fisherman Sam Larner, who found a national following in his 80s, is remembered in the village with a blue plaque on the cottage where he lived near the church. Famed folk singer Ewan McColl wrote The Shoals of Herring after interviewing Sam for the radio in 1960. One of the pubs where he often sang was the Fisherman's Return. Still a popular watering hole, the 300-year-old freehouse has only changed hands four times in the past century. Current landlord Darrin Winter took over in 2009 from Kate and John Findlay who had it for many years.

Jeanne and Gino

The Village

WINTERTON is a little oasis on the East Norfolk coast. There is none of the brash razzle dazzle of other resorts nearby, but what it does have in buckets and spades is charm, history and the benefit of being next to a fabulous unspoilt beach.

News from the Winterton-on-Sea Parish Council & the village

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SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT: Plans have been lodged for a change of use that will enable a field study centre to be created at Winterton Primary School.

If the bid by the school governors wins approval it will mean the school - which came perilously close to closure last year, will be able to offer residential courses to other schools and youth groups.

In the application, Robin Chew, facilities manager for the Consortium Multi-Academy Trust, explained there would be 34 beds at the centre.

"The existing school footprint is larger than required for the current number of pupils," he said. "The existing school activities will continue with a reduced area."

Current staff and pupil levels would not be affected, but the trust was hoping to increase the number of children on the roll.

A new staff room, head teacher's office and resource room were being created in an under-used area upstairs.

According to the plans the head teacher's office would become part of a single-sex dormitory, a classroom at the front of the school would be turned into another. The staff room would be turned into a recreation room and kitchen while a staff sleeping area, toilets and showers would be built further back.

Winterton Parish Council has said it supports the proposals but has concerns about coach parking arrangements.

One resident questioned the value of the centre and the impact on the village. "There are few local businesses that would benefit greatly from the use of the school as a base for school parties," said the neighbour in a comment on the application.

"In my experience of school trips businesses in the immediate environment do not benefit financially from the presence of a group of children. Their money is spent in the gift shops of the places they visit on days out."

She added: "I can see how it would benefit the Consortium Academy Trust and many of its partners schools. I am less convinced about the positive benefits to the village of Winterton."

The plans, which have the reference 06/18/0714/CU, can be seen and commented on using the planning portal on Great Yarmouth Borough Council's website and the target date for a decision is 12th February.

See previous stories on our blog about the fight to save the school.

BEACH ROAD: A decision on new year-round restrictions aimed at ending parking chaos on Beach Road is expected by the end of April, the parish council has been told.

Drivers ignored traffic cones and some even crossed the pavement to park on the dunes during peak periods of the festive season.

But a consultation on new restrictions stopping people from parking on the northern side of the road could be in place well before next Christmas.

A consultation started just after the holiday is due to end on 29th January.

For Parish Council minutes and much more visit