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Sharing part of its route with the longer Happisburgh Circular Walk, this 4.5 mile route still has much to offer. Leaving Happisburgh by the cliff top path, you’ll be walking above the site where early human footprints (over 800,000 years old) were found in sediment on the beach in 2013, famously the earliest evidence of human occupation found outside of Africa. Further along the cliff are the remains of a World War II radar station, which stand in contrast to the surrounding farmland.
Heading inland you’ll soon pass Walcott’s Church of All Saints, which is worth a visit for its bright and airy interior. The church is heavily Victorianised, with the screen being one of its few remaining medieval features. However, unlike its larger neighbour at Happisburgh, All Saints is home to some modern features dating from the 1920s, such as an art nouveau brass lectern, and art-deco organ.
The larger St Mary’s Church at Happisburgh is prominent throughout much of the walk. Located on top of a hill, this 15th Century church is an important landmark for travellers on both the sea and dry land. You are also treated to views of the iconic lighthouse. It is the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia and the only independently run lighthouse in Great Britain. Built in 1790, regular open days are held throughout the year, allowing you to climb to the top and enjoy the spectacular views.
There were originally two lighthouses at Happisburgh, lined up to mark safe passage through the treacherous shallow sands offshore. Remains of the ‘lower lighthouse’ can still be seen on the beach depending on the tides and shifting sands.