Mammoth step forward for north Norfolk prehistoric coast bid

A Steppe Mammoth (West Runton Elephant; Picture:: DAVID M WATERHOUSE

A Steppe Mammoth (West Runton Elephant; Picture:: DAVID M WATERHOUSE - Credit: David M Waterhouse

A £1.9m bid to develop the tourism potential of north Norfolk's prehistoric past is set to take a mammoth step forward.

Happisburgh footprints

Happisburgh footprints - Credit: Archant

Cash is being sought to fund the ambitious Deep History Coast project, reflecting the area's global importance in the story of life on earth.

Deep History Coast logo. Picture: NORFOLK MUSEUMS SERVICE

Deep History Coast logo. Picture: NORFOLK MUSEUMS SERVICE - Credit: Archant

The money would be used to showcase discoveries including the West Runton mammoth and 850,000 year old Happisburgh footprints.

The funding application is being submitted by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) to the Coastal Communities Fund. If successful it would create a series of discovery points along the coast, living landscape museum and virtual geology hub.

Digital displays of the prehistoric discoveries could also feature as part the planned renovation of Cromer's West Promenade.


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It is hoped the stretch of shoreline between Weybourne and Cart Gap near Happisburgh has the potential to replicate the success of Dorset's Jurassic Coast.

Speaking at a meeting of the authority's Overview and Scrutiny Committee council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: 'This stretch is probably more significant fossil wise than the Jurassic coast. The Happisburgh footprints are proof of earliest known human habitation outside Africa.

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'The Deep History Coast will have broader economic impact, as anything that benefits tourism should boost the rest of the area.'

The almost complete skeleton of the West Runton mammoth was discovered in 1990 and the Happisburgh footprints, the oldest of traces of humans outside Africa, in 2013. At the time the area was part of a land bridge known as Doggerland between the east coast and the continent. Applications for the next round are due to be submitted by next month.

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