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Happisburgh is a village on the coast of north-east Norfolk, and to the east of North Walsham.
A pretty village with traditional flint-built cottages, happisburgh has a couple of highlights to discover: one is the 15th century Church of Saint Mary's, dominating the village with its high tower (you can climb the tower for lovely views across tha village and coast); and the other is the Happisburgh Lighthouse.
Dating from 1790, the lighthouse at Happisburgh is a well known local landmark, painted in red and white stripes. It is 26 metres high and the only independently operated lighthouse in England. It is occasionally possible to visit the Happisburgh Lighthouse and climb the steps to the top - typically on sunday afternoons in August and a few other times. See Happisburgh Lighthouse opening hours for up to date information.
Happisburgh is also well known for the erosion of its cliffs and the gradual loss of the village to the forces of the sea. Efforts to control the erosion using sea defences and large amounts of rock at the base of the sandstone cliffs have so far met with limited success. Stroll along the beach below the cliffs at Happisburgh and you can see part of the remaining wooden defense.
Note: it is possible to walk along the clifftops in Happisburgh but great care is required - do not go at all close to the edge because parts of the cliff are constantly collapsing - possibly including the sign warning you not to get too close!
Excavations at Happisburgh show that it was one of the very first regions to be inhabited by humans in northern Europe, with finds such as flint tools showing that a community was established here about 800,000 years ago. At that time it was a very different place to today - the River Thames entered the sea here, and mammoths, rhinos, hyenas and sabre-toothed cats roamed the landscape!
Map of Happisburgh and places to visit
Happisburgh places to visit
See more places nearby in the Norfolk guide