The 11th North Norfolk Railway beer festival
Once again the North Norfolk Railway came up with another outstanding beer festival. Over 100 ales plus ciders were on offer in the perfect surroundings of a working steam railway together with live music. Carriages on platform 2 gave ample seating and cover for the few times when rain began to fall and a bbq in a wagon offered hotdogs and burgers. In my opinion the best beer festival around!
Sheringhamn to Cromer Walk - Essential Information
Norfolk Green - Bus Service
- Service Number
- Coasthopper - Norfolk Coasthopper service - between Cromer and Sheringham.
Sanders Coaches - bus Service
- Service Number
- 44 - Linking Sheringham, Cromer, Aylsham and Norwich
- Sanders Coaches Website
- Date of Walk
- Walk Time
- 12:00 to 22:30
- Griffmonster Kat
- Weather Conditions
For the fourth year on the trot, Kat and I attended the North Norfolk Railway Beer Festival. As per the previous years, our accommodation was at the Woodhill Campsite in East Runton, and although there are sites closer to the venue, Woodhill has become our usual choice offering easy walks to both Cromer and Sheringham.
The details of the walk on this page is more of an example walk that can be done, and what we normally complete throughout the weekend. However on this occasion our walks were limited to the cliff top path between East Runton to Sheringham taking in the climb over Beeston Bump. On Sunday a car boot sale offered a diversion into Beeston with a simple walk onward into Sheringham alongside the road. The walks were accompanied with some bus journeys, particular after the Friday evening session when darkness was setting in. Unfortunately the late 10pm bus has been a victim of the government cuts so the latest transport back on the current timetable is 8:50. This was a very popular service, maybe because the beer festival was on, but I would guess there are always customers wanting to return to camp during the summer holiday season.
The highlight of the festival with regard to the locomotion was undoubtedly the resplendent B12 4-6-0 8572. This locomotive had just completed a refit and was being displayed with a repaint in the LNER Apple Green livery. A mighty fine sight to behold. Alongside the steam hauled trains was an accompanying diesel train provided by Class 101 DMU 101681 in the old British Rail green livery. It was pleasing to see Aldeburgh displayed on its front destination display, though I would have doubted it could have taken me back there, not that I wanted to go with so many ales on offer! Finally there was the Class 08 D3940 shunter providing shunting duties each time a steam hauled train arrived at the station. Me? An old train spotter? What gave you that impression?
I can honestly say that I look forward to this event throughout the year. There's always an excellent array of ales from across the country as well as a selection of local Norfolk ales. Steam trains run throughout the day and there's live music presented on a flatbed railway wagon. Beer, music and steam trains. What more could anyone want or ask for.
I am very glad to say that once again the event fulfilled all expectations and judging by the Sunday Lunchtime session it was a roaring success and virtually all the ale had been drunk by the time we departed. My only slight disappointment this year was that the Ugly Dog Skiffle Band were not in attendance. Even so, the King Size Papas put on some very entertaining performances of Jump Blues, perfect for a warm and sunny Sunday lunchtime, and The Yow Yows provided modern pop tunes during Saturday afternoon.
We managed to put in an attendance on all three days of the event, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday lunchtime was very well attended and one needed a little patience in getting served at the bar, but as Nessa points out in the programme notes 'I've never seen anyone die of thirst at a beer festival!' and everyone does get served eventually, though one would be advised to get a pint rather than a half! On this particular day we were due to attend an evening family meal at the Constantia Cottage Restaurant so could not sample too many ales during the lunchtime session. We departed at 2:30 as throngs of people crowded around the bar in the beer tent, spilling out onto the platform. Approaching the end of the platform we witnessed a Greater Anglia train arriving from Norwich. It seemed as if all of its multitude of passengers headed straight for the festival. And I don't blame them! I only hoped they would be gracious enough to leave a few ales for Sunday. Fortunately, by the time we returned Sunday lunchtime there was a few unsampled ales which made for a very relaxing afternoon.
I must admit, on the Saturday, we nipped into the Wyndham Arms on the walk back to East Runton and was treated to a pint of Humpty Dumpty Norfolk Nectar, a refreshing hoppy ale with the distinctive Humpty Dumpty taste, ending with a lingering honey dryness. Well worth the stop.
Over the length of the festival, between us, we managed to sample 32 ales, mostly half-a-pint each. Most of these were the more fashionable golden coloured ales and every one of these worthy to drink again. It was pleasing to note a few dark ales on offer and I do regret not sampling at least one of these.
Of those we tasted, my personal favourites were:
Great Oakley's Gobble: this 4.5% straw coloured ale was a feast for the palette with a lingering hoppiness that left ones mouth buzzing with the flavours. A fantastic pint of beer and well recommended.
Ironbridge's West Coast IPA: this 4.8% one-off ale had all the hoppiness of a good IPA with a distinct zesty citrus aftertaste leaving each mouthful tingling on the tongue and wanting more.
Marston Moor's Indian Pooch Ale: a traditional full flavoured 4.3% IPA that was very satisfying and true to what an IPA should taste like.
As usual there was a fair share of ales with strange, peculiar and outright funny names. My personal favourite names were:
Northumberland's Zig Zag to the Onion Bag: this 4.0% light golden ale was an easy drinking session beer with refreshing citrus overtones. Not sure where they got this name from but it certainly prompted me to have a sample and very glad that I did.
Tydd Steam's Dr Fox's Cunning Linctus: this 4.4% deep golden ale with a fruitiness which the tasting notes described as Mango though I thought were more akin to pineapple. I don't think I need to say that you should not try to order this after a few pints for fear of asking for the wrong thing! Great name but in busy bar times I recommend asking for a pint of Dr Fox's.
Dancing Duck's Gold: this golden 4.7% ale was full of plum and orange flavours and quite spicy with it too. You may think that the name Gold is nothing unusual - that is true, but brewery name of Dancing Duck was well worth the inclusion.
A complete listing of the ales on offer is available at Google Docs
We marked the end to the festival weekend watching the sun go down from the top of the hill in the quiet area of Woodhill campsite. It was most rewarding and a fitting end to a fantastic weekend. Unbeknown to us the northern lights made a display that night but we did not catch a glimpse. The sunset was awesome enough and a fitting finale.
Roll on 2013 and the 12th Annual North Norfolk Railway Beer Festival.
A simple circular route following clifftop paths in one direction and the beach in the other.
From Woodhill Park there is a path that runs along the cliff top, past West Runton and in front of Beeston Regis caravan site. Here it joins the official coastal footpath for the ascent up Beeston Bump. You can now follow the National Trail acorns down into Sheringham. Planning this walk right you will then be able to walk the shoreline all the way from Sheringham to Cromer. To return from Cromer follow the cliff top path to Cromer Bowls club where erosion forces the walker onto the road through to East Runton and back to where the walk starts.!
Sheringham Poppy Line: View in OS Map | View in Google Map
Sheringham is the terminus for the North Norfolk Railway, also known as the Poppy Line. This preserved steam railway runs the 5 miles between Sheringham and Holt along the former route of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway and has recently been reconnected to the National Rail network allowing steam specials to run from London and Norwich.
Work on rebuilding the line started in 1965, and on 4 June 1967, two steam locomotives were delivered. The operating company, North Norfolk Railway plc, was launched in 1965 following the granting of two Light Railway Orders. In May 1973, the railway was the scene of filming of the episode The Royal Train of the popular TV programme Dad's Army. The main restoration sheds are located at Weybourne with new carriage storage sheds more recently built near Holt with Heritage Lottery Funding.
Below is the route depicted on the OpenStreetMap, Ordnance Survey Map and Google Map. Links to full page versions are found in the Essential Information
Summary of Document Changes
Last Updated: ... 2016-01-16