How Cromer is the Centre of the Universe

03 June 2018


Most Cromerians will tell you that Cromer is the centre of the universe and in some ways they are entirely correct. Over multiple millennia the North Norfolk coast has witnessed everything from mammoths to crabs!

Boasting one of the biggest paleontological discoveries in centuries you will now find many a fossil hunter on the Cromer and West Runton beaches. It was at West Runton that the Steppe mammoth was discovered in 1990. The most complete fossil of this particular mammoth ever found; being an astounding 85% complete, whereas all other fossils of the Steppe Mammoth have been at most a much smaller 15%. The discovery of the mammoth got the Cromer coast the nick-name of 'A fossil hunters paradise'.

It is not just mammoths who walked through the Norfolk Coast 500,000 years ago though! Another ground breaking discovery was made in 2013 of a set of human foot-prints dating 850,000 years ago. These foot-prints are the earliest evidence of humans coming to Britain out-dating any other discovery in Northern Europe relating to early humans. In addition to the foot-prints a crude hand-axe dating anywhere between 600,000 and 800,000 years ago was also discovered not too far from the foot-prints. These discoveries prompted multiple projects by the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) and Pathway to Ancient Britain (PAB) resulting in the excavation of over 80 Palaeolithic tools some dating back to 950,000 years ago.

Surprisingly it is partially in thanks to these fossil beds that Cromer Crab is also on the map. The chalky fossil beds on which the Crab and Lobster feed is responsible for their renowned sweetness. Making them notoriously more palatable than their relations in other parts of the world.

North Norfolk is not just famous for fossils though, it also has roots in the works of some true literary legends. Referenced in works by Jane Austen, A.C Swinburne and Elizabeth Gaskell. Oscar Wilde was also a notable visitor, taking up residence in a small cottage in the nearby village of Felbrigg. The most well known visitor though was Arthur Conan-Doyle; the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle spent a summer at Cromer Hall and it is thought this experience inspired the Hound of the Baskervilles, with local legend Black Shuck being the inspiration for the Hound in question.

Another feather in North Norfolk's cap is slightly more unexpected. North Norfolk, and Kellingheath in particular, hold Dark Sky Discovery Status. This means that it is one of the very few places in the UK where you can in fact witness the Aurora Borealis. Due to the un-obstructed view you can also see the entirety of the Milky Way and all seven stars of the Orion Constellation; giving it the highest accolade of being a 'Two Star Site'.

The Norfolk Broads are also a wonder in themselves. The 125 miles of navigable waterways are a result of Medieval pete digging; and far longer than their more famous counterparts in Venice and Amsterdam.

So with ground-breaking fossils, world famous crustaceans and an award winning night sky it seems like Cromer, but more importantly the North Norfolk coast, is very central in both Britain's and Man-kinds history.

If you have any other facts or know of any other discoveries about the Norfolk Coast please let us know by leaving a comment on this blog!