Tuesday, 30 August 2011

HEACHAM AND SNETTISHAM

Heacham has a long history dating back to before the Romans, with evidence of settlement going back as far as the Stone Age. Nowadays, apart from the glorious sunsets it enjoys as a result of its position on the Wash, its main appeal is floral. The poppyfields here are a spectacular sight at the height of the poppy season, when the fields around the village are aflame with red flowers. Heacham is also home to Norfolk Lavender where, as well as marvelling at the beautiful sea of purple blooms in the lavender season which extends from mid-June to the end of August, visitors can shop for lavender based products such as soaps, perfumes or lavender plants to enjoy in their own gardens.

Near Heacham, Snettisham is a pretty village with many fine examples of traditional Norfolk cottages made of carrstone, many of which are available to rent as holiday lets. The focal point of the village is the imposing spire of St Mary’s Church. During the 20th century, treasures from the village’s past were discovered in what has come to be known as the Snettisham Hoard, which included some beautiful examples of gold ‘torcs’ or neck rings. These relics of the Iron Age were found between 1948 and 1973, while in the mid-1980s a further hoard of Romano-British jewellery was found. These items are now on display in the Norwich Castle Museum and British Museum. The charming village sign depicts one of the torcs above a pair of seahorses either side of a boat and two local figures. Snettisham has its own RSPB bird reserve with walks available for viewing the huge numbers of birds from a number of different species. A few miles away from Snettisham is the royal house and estate of Sandringham; both the house and estate can be visited, and the Country Park is free of charge. During the Second World War, a German bomb fell in Snettisham, just 150 yards from the church, and an eyewitness from the village reported seeing a Zeppelin overhead just before the explosion. There was a theory that the bomb was intended for the King’s home at Sandringham but that the airmen missed their target by several miles; if that was true, it is just as well that the Royal Family had left for London, so were well out of harm’s way.

Map of the area.

'Norfolk Lavender' photo (c) 2010, Martin Pettitt - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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