Action call to lure tourists to ‘Cinderella’ coast between Weybourne and Paston
An action call has gone out to attract tourists to a 'Cinderella' stretch of Norfolk's coast.
While countless thousands flock to the celebrity-endorsed coastline between Hunstanton and Weybourne, there are concerns that they are missing out on the hidden wonders of a more easterly area.
On Thursday, dozens of organisations gathered to discuss how to raise the profile of the area from Weybourne to Paston, which is known for its towering cliffs.
The Eastern Promise event was organised by Norfolk Coast Partnership (NCP), and included representatives from the many groups that make up the organisation, plus parish councils.
The delegates met at Overstrand Parish Hall and heard talks on subjects including increasing access, landscape and biodiversity, marketing the area and sustainable tourism.
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Afterwards Tim Venes, NCP manager, said: 'It's a local focus on this bit of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AoNB), which we feel is undervalued and doesn't have the high profile of the North Norfolk coast, with its celebrity chefs and twitchers.
'It's a sort of Cinderella coast. We just don't make a lot of its natural assets.'
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He added: 'It's a fantastic area. It's got fresh local seafood and many other attractions, but it doesn't get the same income from tourism.
It's fantastically important for geology, and the cliffs are really important for wildlife. There's a wonderful network of quiet lanes where people can cycle and we don't make enough of that.'
He said it was 'more able to cope' with tourism than the more traditional tourism area from Hunstanton to Weybourne.
And he said: 'Unfortunately, we are not telling people about it, so we are starting from a relatively low base. But we can build something up.'
Angie Fitch-Tillett, North Norfolk District Council's portfolio holder for the coast, said she warmly welcomed the initiative, but highlighted why it was so undervalued.
She said: 'There are no main roads. The train stops at either North Walsham or Cromer, and the Coasthopper bus stops at Cromer.
'To the majority of tourists, the world stops at Cromer. But the eastern stretch of coast has so much to offer.'
After the conference, and lunch at the White Horse at Overstrand, some of the delegates went on guided walks with Peter Stibbons, from Poppyland Publishing, who talked about Lutyens' Overstrand, and Martin Warren, from Northfolk Project Geology Walks.