There are no signposts to Kelling Beach, and unless you examine a map of parish boundaries you’re unlikely to realise that Kelling lays claim to a section of the coastline. But if you look closely it is there, a 700m (0.4mi) section of the shore where pebbles and just a sprinkling of sand meet the sea.
It’s a forlorn little spot – there’s no car park, no facilities, no well-maintained path with benches placed considerately at picturesque points along the way – but it’s interesting nonetheless.
A restricted byway (a public right of way on which vehicles are prohibited) leads off the A149 coast road just to the east of the village centre war memorial. It’s an overgrown grassy track with occasional views across the fields between the high scrub on either side. On a busy day, you may pass perhaps half a dozen assorted dog-walkers and runners.
The path dog-legs to the right by a large pond, and then left again, and by now you can see the pebble ridge that protects the land from storm surges. Climb to the top and the magnificence of Kelling Beach, all 700m of it, is laid out before you.
The first thing to strike you is the hexagonal brick and concrete WWII pill-box plonked in the middle of the beach, as if an absent-minded giant dropped it there by accident. It’s in remarkably good nick, despite its jaunty angle. Looking around, there are more military goings-on here, with three large gun emplacements, a white building bristling with antennae and a sprinkling of further pill boxes on a grassy rise overlooking the beach to the east.
The Muckleburgh Collection has its home just behind the beach on a disused RAF anti-aircraft training camp. Muckleburgh is the UK’s largest private military museum, housing tanks and armoured vehicles, artillery, machine guns and missiles. The collection is often used in films and documentaries. There’s a grass airfield if you’d like to fly in and you can book to drive a tank.
Further to the east you can see the fishing boats and golden cliffs at Weybourne Beach, with the former Coastguard Cottages perched up above. To the west the pebble beaches of Salthouse, Cley and Blakeney disappear into the distance.
Kelling Beach is a pebble beach, with just a sliver of sand emerging at the water’s edge. Although not a bucket and spade, sandcastle-building beach, there is a certain appeal to the pebble. They don’t get in your sandwiches or shoes, they absorb and radiate the sun’s heat, they’re ideal for skimming off the surface of a calm sea and they’re surprising comfortable to lie on.
Kelling Beach is small, quiet and virtually unknown, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
There is no car park in Kelling village, safe and considerate roadside parking only.
Kelling Beach can also be reached by a beach walk from Weybourne or Salthouse.
The nearest car park is at Weybourne Beach.
Large hard surface car park with 300 spaces. Open 24 hours.
Price: Mon-Sun 08:00 – 18:00
1 Hour £1.50
24 Hours £7.00
Free outside these hours.
Limited spaces allocated for Blue Badge holders and motorcycles.
Address: Beach Road, Weybourne NR25 7SR
More info: north-norfolk.gov.uk
Kelling Beach is served by the Coasthopper.
Nearest drop-off: Kelling Cross.
Distance: 1.2km (0.7mi) along a public right of way.
More info: Visiting By Bus, www.sanderscoaches.com
There are no facilities at Kelling Beach.
Kelling village has a tearoom called the Old Reading Room Gallery selling light snacks and refreshments.
Just outside the village on the A149 coast road toward Weybourne is The Pheasant Hotel.
Kelling Beach is dog friendly, with no restrictions.
No lifeguard service at any time of year.