L is for lobsters and crabs
Okay, we're going to let you into a secret here. You ready? North Norfolk has such succulent, meaty, tasty lobsters and crabs because just offshore from Sheringham and Cromer is… get this… the longest chalk reef in the world. Yes, really!
And it's part of the chalk seam that stretches across England and includes the White Cliffs of Dover and the White Horse Hill Carvings in Wiltshire. As a consequence north Norfolk also has some fantastic chalk bed rivers – Mun, Glaven, Stiffkey, Burn, Heacham, Ingol, Hun, Babingley and Gaywood – and the Cromer ridge is the highest point in East Anglia. Whoever said Norfolk was flat? Oh yes, Noel Coward.
Any-ho! Back to the crustaceans and the reason the chalk reef – which is just 200 metres off the shoreline and up to 20 miles long - is so important to them. First of all the composition of the reef means the water here is actually quite warm, and there's plenty of food here for them to scavenge.
The marine haven has so many species, including sponges, burrowing piddocks, sea squirts, anemones, starfish, brittlestars, sea slugs and fish including shoaling horse mackerel and bass, that experts are describing it as 'Britain's Great Barrier Reef'.
There are numerous places to purchase the shellfish, including Cley Smokehouse, Gurneys Fish Shop at Burnham Market, Westons at Blakeney, The Fish Shed at Brancaster Staithe, Richard and Julie Davies' shop in Cromer. Or get them ready-to-eat at Cookies at Salthouse, The Crab Hut at Brancaster, at Blakeney Harbour or from pretty much any café in Cromer and Sheringham.
The May Crab and Lobster Festival in Cromer and Sheringham celebrates Norfolk's little nippers.