Photo Gallery: Editors reveal the winter wonders that make Norfolk life so special
- Credit: citizenside.com
As part of our Norfolk is... campaign to highlight the gems of Norfolk, our community editors reveal their favourite places.
Mid Norfolk – Chris Hill
It may be tucked away down sleepy rural lanes – but with a budget of £4m and a dazzling array of performing talent from around the world, it can hardly be described as a hidden gem.
The Thursford Christmas Spectacular has permanently established itself as a part of the county's winter scenery and has become an unmissable date in the seasonal calendar for thousands.
From whichever direction you approach, the location itself is quintessentially Norfolk, surrounded by old air bases, farm fields, nature reserves, and picture perfect villages. And the museum at Thursford is steeped in the steam-driven agricultural heritage of our forefathers – and any memories of their toils can only be accentuated by the juddering winds of a December morning.
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Of course, all these scenes take on a brooding atmosphere in the darker months, when shrouded in mist and drizzle.
But if your idea of the idyllic winter is shimmering icicles, carol singers and Santa Claus, then John Cushing's lavish festive production is never going to disappoint.
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East Norfolk – Anne Edwards
After six months of chatter and music, combined with the smell of doughnuts and candy floss, there is an eerie quietness to Great Yarmouth's Golden Mile.
The Pleasure Beach is silent, tarpaulins covering rides and attractions; do the ghosts in the Haunted Hotel leave for the winter?
The beach is empty save for the odd dog walker, or brave angler.
Along Marine Parade the chirruping sound of amusement arcades continues, but softly, with doors firmly closed to keep out the cold wind as the out-of-season holidaymakers try their luck without the jostle and push of fellow gamblers.
The sea is grey and uninviting, but there is one constant – the seals continue to patrol up and down just off the coastline, their heads bobbing up among the waves giving the impression of a long-distance swimmer wearing a bathing cap.
When snow comes, it is incredible to walk along the seafront; and to this landlubber, born in the midlands, it is the most magical scene. You just want to run along the white-covered beach. It is an experience not to be missed.
North Norfolk – Richard Batson
The 'wilderness' coast of north Norfolk reaches the peak of its wildness in winter.
But it is not really a wilderness – something the dictionary describes as a barren wasteland of emptiness.
Life is still present in abundance, and an unseasonal trip to unsung places such as Salthouse proves it.
The big sky is sometimes cloudless chill blue, often grim grey, regularly a dark duvet of thick cloud.
But it is punctuated with the formation flying of migrating geese, in precision V formations the Red Arrows would envy.
No smoke comes from this aerial team – just an evocative honking that shouts 'winter's here'.
Scrunch up the shingle ridge that divides sea from marsh and the rewards greet the eyes rather than the ears. The sea bubbles with the powerful potential of waves and tide that have shaped the coastline for time immemorial.
Along the surfline the holidaymakers have gone, to be replaced by sea anglers casting their lines and eyes into the water in hope and in search of their maritime prey.
Scramble back down the stone bank and watch the birds, now landed in the 'international arrivals' terminals of shallow water, feasting on the resident food chain.
Visit at dawn or dusk and the atmospheric scene increases its octane rating as the rising and falling sun casts dramatic shadows and light across the landscape.
South Norfolk – Andrew Fitchett
When autumn's mosaic of colour is stripped away by the cold and wind, there's at least one place in Norfolk which remains vivid.
From afar, the canopy may resemble any other winter's scene, a blanket of pure frost smothering the landscape, but underneath the pines and among the ferns of Thetford Forest, photographers can still find images full of life.
While the rest of the county hibernates, walkers can find themselves in the midst of a million Christmas trees, the 30,000 hectares of evergreen plant life giving snappers a scene rich with colour and contrast.
And while wildlife in the county's most biodiverse area falls into a season's slumber – with little chance to Go Ape – a new face reveals itself, one that features frost-crunching dog walks and lovers of extreme sports.
The more sedate end of the spectrum offers the retreat of wide open space and perfect silence.
But the serenity is shattered by cries of 'mush!' and the spectacular sight of Siberian hounds tearing over the forest's desire lines when the British Husky Racing Championships arrives.
Intrepid mountain bikers looking for adrenaline-fuelled thrills also head for the forest floor, hoping that the snow will ease the pain of their falls as they race over the icy woodland debris.
West Norfolk – Chris Bishop
Winter comes down so hard on the Fens that sometimes even the rivers freeze.
Jack Frost doesn't mess about when he visits the black reclaimed peatlands south of King's Lynn.
I've seen the Ouse at Denver solid from bank to bank and snow drifting onto the frozen Relief Channel at St Germans bridge.
Down the bumpy by-roads around Vermuyden's washes there are incredible scenes as thousands of acres of waterland, 20 or 30ft below sea level, become iced over.
How the Dutch drainers would marvel if they could see how their great flood plains freeze and sparkle in the low winter sun, or glow crimson as it sets.
Some cross their fingers and hope it will thicken enough to skate on, as fen folk did years ago when the land was too hard to work.
If you believe the old tagglers, the winters were always harder back then.
Others pray great floes will not block the sluices when the thaw comes, blocking the path of the meltwater out to sea.
To view the gallery of your iWitness Norfolk Is Winter woodland photos, click the link on the top right of this story.
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