Burnhams are a delightful group of villages spread along the
valley of the small river Burn and close to the North
I make no
secret of the fact that Burnham Market is one of my
favourite places in the county. It is the largest of the
Burnhams and has a village green surrounded by Georgian
houses and cottages and dominated at its western end by the
church of St Mary Westgate which has a fine flintwork tower.
Market is made up of Westgate, Sutton and Ulph. A mile and a
half to the south is Burnham Thorpe which is best known as
the birthplace of Horatio Nelson .
Burnham Norton lies to the north on the edge of a reclaimed
salt marsh. Its Saxon round-towered church is isolated on a
Overy is half a mile to the east and has a church with a
square central tower surmounted by a bell turret and an old
water mill with a windmill beside it. Overy Staithe was a
small seaport in the past and is now a popular place for
sailing. The River Burn runs out to sea at Burnham Overy
Staithe and its creek winds from the harbour through salt
marshes and emerges into the sea between sand dunes which
stretch away to Holkham in the east and Scolt Head island to
Windmill at Overy is a landmark for miles and nearby on the
river is a watermill with a row of old cottages.
Deepdale is two miles west and the Burn ran into the sea
here in the Middle Ages before changing its course. Today it
is quite detached from the other Burnhams and is joined to
Up until 50
years ago a number of small industries flourished at Burnham
Market including blacksmiths, a foundry, a shoemaker, three
bakeries and at least five pubs of which only two remain.
There were also several maltings in the Burnhams.
character of the Burnhams has changed greatly in the past
few years with many of the old cottages becoming holiday
homes. There are a number of antique and book shops and of
course the area is very popular with holidaymakers in the
summer months. The area is a Mecca for birdwatchers with
great flocks of wild geese arriving from Siberia.