There’s something mind-boggling about the number of pebbles on Salthouse Beach. Vast expanses stretch as far as the eye can see, in deep drifts and ridges. You get the feeling that everyone in the world could come to Salthouse one day, choose their favourite stone and take it home, and the next day you wouldn’t notice anyone had been there.
The car park is long gone, buried under millions of pebbles – at least 6 feet deep – by a storm surge in late 2013. Visitors now park on the side of Beach Road and walk up over the stones where the car park used to be.
Salthouse Beach is dog-friendly with no restrictions. You’ll both get a good work-out as the pebbles shift underfoot, slowing progress – it’s a trudging beach, the kind of surface endurance runners train on to build up stamina.
It’s fair to say you feel the wind coming in off the sea, but the pebbles also heat up in the sun, making the few inches above the surface positively radiate warmth on sunny days. You can see the shimmering of the air as you look across the top of the ridges.
With deep water close to the shore, Salthouse is a popular sea fishing beach. Sea bass, cod, smooth hound, flatfish and mackerel are all regularly caught on this stretch.
Inland there are open views of marshes and fields, looking south towards the village. Marsh Harriers and Barn Owls can be seen hovering over the reed beds, grazing meadows and salt and fresh water pools. Birdwatchers are drawn here by the abundance of different species, including wintering and migrant varieties. Snow bunting, lapland bunting, shore larks and little egrets can all be found in the marshes.
It’s a good thinking beach with little to distract you from your reverie. Accompanied by the rhythmical sounds of the waves washing pebbles up and down the beach, you can walk for miles in either direction, the landscape remaining virtually unchanged.
Salthouse Beach is monotonous and featureless, yet full of hidden life and activity – from the birds on and over the marshes, to the fish beneath the waves just off the shore. A place where it’s impossible to get lost, but easy to be lost in thought.
The sea came and claimed the car park at Salthouse Beach a few years ago, leaving in its place a vast, deep mound of pebbles. As a result it’s now necessary to park on the side of Beach Road. There’s no charge.
There are no facilities at the beach, and no public toilets at the beach or in Salthouse Village.
The village is around 1.0km (0.6mi) away, back along Beach Road and turning right towards Cley next the Sea. Within Salthouse you can find Cookies Crab Shop, a shellfish shop serving a selection of platters and other refreshments, The Old Post Office, a small convenience store with a deli, and The Dun Cow, a dog-friendly pub with a large garden.
Salthouse Beach is dog friendly, with no restrictions.
Please watch out for any areas roped off to protect ground-nesting birds between April and August.
No lifeguard service at any time of year.