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Overstrand lies on the North Norfolk coast between Cromer and Sidestrand. It's name derives from 'narrow shore with a steep edge'. There is a nice walk along the cliff-top path from Cromer which passes the old lighthouse and the golf course. Like it's larger neighbour, it was once a genteel Edwardian holiday destination - but today has an air of faded grandeur.

Overstrand Beach

Overstrand beach looking towards Cromer

Lord and Lady Battersea had a holiday home called The Pleasaunce built here in 1897. It was designed for them by Sir Edwin Lutyens and hosted a number of literary visitors including Arthur Conan Doyle and George Meredith.

Winston Churchill used to stay at the Sea Marge Hotel in the village and this may have provided the inspiration for Jack Higgins' novel The Eagle Has Landed - which is set in North Norfolk (see Blakeney) and concerns an attempt by German paratroopers to assassinate the English PM. While in residence Churchill had elaborate arrangements in place with Cromer Post Office in case the grand fleet needed mobilising.

Sea Marge Hotel, Overstrand

The Sea Marge Hotel Overstrand

R.H. Mottram used to spend his childhood holidays at Overstrand - as he recalls in his Autobiography with a Difference (1938).

Overstand beach is also the setting for George Barker's long poem In Memory of David Archer. Barker, who lived in a cottage on the Blickling estate at Itteringham, was a frequent visitor to this stretch of the coast. Here is an extract from the poem:

I walk on Overstrand shore
and the crab at my foot
inscribes praise in the sand.
The wave bursts with glory
because it rises up like
angels out of the sea,
and the dead starfish burns
on Overstrand promontory.

Why do I hear them cry
out from the far side of life,
those forms and impulses
unborn beyond the sky?
Why should they hope and seek
above all else to be?
Tonight on Overstrand
I know for one moment why.


More photographs of Overstrand





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