Author Archives: Dave

Windows Upgrade

Nothing to do with computers (thankfully!), but at the end of the month we’re going double-glazed.

We always seek feedback from our guests (a simple questionaire left in the cottage), and while the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, one issue which cropped up a few times was the windows.  The window locks were fiddly to open, and over the years some of the openers have been painted closed.

We didn’t want to spoil the look of the cottage, so did a lot of research into finding replacements which would retain the ‘cottage’ look, and yet avoid the issue of frames swelling in damp weather (and getting fiddly to open/close again).  Luckily we’ve found a great local comany that will make us lovely double-glazed windows which retain the current appearance.

So if you stay from February onwards, you will have an even cosier cottage than ever!

Autumn Colours

 

Autumn Leaves, Oaktree Cottage

Autumn Leaves, Oaktree Cottage

 

It’s easy to get gloomy about the approach of winter as the nights start to draw in, but we still have a treat in store through October.  The trees around here are just starting to turn, and the early signs are that it’s going to be a good show this year.

We still have one October week, and one November week available, so book now before they’re gone…

Countryfile

BBC Countryfile comes from the North Norfolk coast tonight for their summer special.

Relive you holiday memories, see what you have to look forward to, or just wee what you’ve been missing!

 

Country tracks

I’m a self-confessed gadget boy.  I’m not a natural navigator, so when Sat-Nav came onto the consumer market I was definitely an “early adopter”.

The trouble is, it’s so easy to get into the habit of leaving it on the “fastest route” option, and end up getting funnelled onto the main roads – efficient, but not always pretty.

While I was on a week’s holiday in North Norfolk myself recently, I decided that I would still use the Sat-Nav (even though I knew where I was going) but to set it to “shortest distance”.  The routes were often rather winding and narrow, but took in some gorgeous lanes and villages that you wouldn’t normally stumble upon.

If you’re planning a visit to Oaktree Cottage, and you use Sat-Nav, give it a go and see what you discover!

Norfolk Diving

When you think of idylic locations for scuba-diving, the chances are that the North Norfolk wouldn’t be top of your list.  And if you’re looking for clear water and easy access, it would probably drop further down the list!

However, look a little deeper (no pun intended, honestly!), and you will find that there are a couple of hundred wrecks within 20 miles of the coast.  A gently sloping seabed means that the depth is still less than 40 metres 25 miles out, so all of those wrecks are within the reach of recreational divers.

Ship Wreck off the Norfolk Coast

Wreck of the SS Minorca – stands 7m from the seabed.

Why so many wrecks?  Well many are the casualties of the weather and treacherous sandbanks, but the majority are casualties of the two World Wars.  During the last war, part of Churchill’s war plan was to ship a two-year supply of coal into London to free up shipping for other tasks later in the war.  This allowed the Axis powers to use E-boats from the Dutch coast to pick off the merchant ships as they rounded the Norfolk coast.

Other interesting wrecks include two submarines (one from each war), several bombers, destroyers, and a paddle-steamer.

The marine life is pretty rich too – with all that plankton around there is an abundance of food, and of course some of the marine life is rather tasty!

Cromer Crab in its natural habitat.

A crab makes its home in a destroyer’s gun barrel.

If you’re plannig a diving trip to the area feel free to get in touch for advice, and if you’re looking for somewhere to stay then Oaktree Cottage is the ideal base.  We have a secure brick-built shed to keep kit safe, as well as an outside tap so you can wash it at the end of each day.

 

Blues & Booze – North Norfolk Railway Beer Festival

The North Norfolk Railway’s summer season got under way this weekend, with their 11th annual beer festival.  The festival takes place on the platforms and carriages at the Sheringham station amongst the period station fixtures.

The bandwagon

The bandwagon – an open goods wagon does a great job as a stage

With a mixture of jazz, blues, punk, and rock playing on the stage, and locally-produced sausages and hog roast wafting from the catering carriage, the festival was already a welcome assault on the senses before getting to the beer tent.

In The Beer Tent

100+ beers, ciders, and perrys to choose from. Now which one next?

The beer tent offered over 100 beers, ciders, and perrys from around the UK, with a great selection from Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire.

 

 

Holt Festival 2012

Holt festival (four miles from Oaktree Cottage) in now in its fourth year, and is once again bigger and more varied than ever…

Holt Festival

Holt Festival - Last week in July

The ‘big names’ for this year include Alan Bennett, Mark Steel, Miriam Margoyles, Andrew Motion, and Courtney Pine, but there is a lot more depth to the festival than the headline acts.

There is also a parallel programme of events for children and teenagers, including workshops for music, craft, dance, and even fencing, all of which are free.

The free and fringe events include an arts trail, book readings, street performers, and even an ‘open mike’ comedy night.

Oaktree Cottage is an ideal base location for the festival – you can be in Holt in less than 15 minutes, but when you want to escape the bustle you can retire to the peace of the cottage.

We’ve been booked for the festival week for some time, but if you’d like to book for the last week of July 2013 the diary is now open!

Playing Soldiers!

It’s a cliche, I know, but these days there is so much to do in North Norfolk that there really is something for everyone.

By way of example, the Muckleburgh Collection just outside Weybourne is a perennial favourite of boys of all ages, and last weekend saw one of the collection’s Big Days with its Military Weekend.  The weekend saw scores of additional volunteers re-enacting scenes from both World Wars, as well as the usual tank demonstrations and exhibits.

The Muckleburgh Collection

The Muckleburgh Collection

The collection does, of course, have wider appeal than a collection of “boys’ toys”.  There has been a military camp on the site since the 16th century, when the main threat of invasion came from Spain, but the deep water just off shore has always made the site a candidate for invasion from the sea.  The collection charts the history of the site through the ages, as well as the social history of those who worked at the camp during the wars.

The main collection consists of 25 tanks, about a dozen armoured cars, and literally scores of guns, support vehicles, and staff cars, and not a ‘do not touch’ sign in sight!  The site has seen a major re-vamp this year, including a larger cafeteria, and a new viewing area.

If your holiday in the cottage coincides with somebody’s special occasion, you could even treat them to a tank driving experience.  Perfect for the man (or woman) who has everything!

Voewood – one of North Norfolk’s best kept secrets

As a child, I used to live in High Kelling, and go to school in Holt.  Every day I would be driven, or cycle, past the entrance to Voewood House, never knowing what was at the end of the drive.

Similarly, if you holiday in the area today, you are unlikely to pick up a leaflet, or see a poster in the Tourist Information office promoting the house.  However, by planning ahead, and booking on a tour, you can look round this magnificent but homely house.

The house was built at the start of the 20th Century at the height of the Arts & Crafts movement, and was built as a ‘butterfly house’ – with a central body and angled wings – to be bright and sunny at all times of the day.  The original budget was £12,000, but an uncompromising attention to detail meant that the final cost was around five times this amount!

As well as the pre-booked tours, the house can also be seen during the annual Summer Garden Party (23rd & 24th June this year) or the Voewood Festival (24th to 27th August) – tickets essential.  This year’s festival has an impressive line-up, including Billy Bragg and Antony Gormley.

For details of the house see Voewood House

For details of this year’s festival see Voewood Festival