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River Heacham

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Title: River Heacham  
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Subject: Peddars Way, Heacham, List of rivers of England
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River Heacham

River Heacham

In Norfolk
River Heacham

Origin: In the village of Fring.
Grid reference: TF 737 349
Terminates: North Beach between Heacham and Hunstanton
Grid reference: TF 665 382
Length: 5.7 miles
fall: 25 metres from source to the ponds behind North Beach
Catchment Area: Unknown
Tributaries: Unknown
Water Mills: 1

The River Heacham is in the North West of the County of Norfolk.[1] Its source is in the village of Bircham Newton (Map reference TF 339 762), 25 metres above sea level. The river is 6.8 miles long from the source to the pools behind the tidal flaps at North beach, Heacham. The pools discharge into the North Sea at low tide.


From the source at Fring the river is crossed by Peddars Way and then runs across open countryside in a north westerly direction. Over the years this part of the river has been heavily modified but without any significant flood defence. After 2 miles the river runs through a shallow wooded valley south of the village of Sedgeford. From Sedgeford the river slowly curves north west towards Heacham crossing under the B1454 road and then turns west towards the only mill on the river. Just past the road bridge the river divides into two: one branch which once fed the millpond for the mill, and the other running past the mill.

Heacham Watermill

Heacham watermill or Caley Mill, as it is also known, looks very different from most other mills in Norfolk, being Gothic revival in architectural style and built of local carr-stone. It was also unique in Norfolk for having its waterwheel on the outside of the building. Originally used to grind corn, the building is now owned and has been used by Norfolk Lavender for lavender production since 1932. See Links at the bottom of the page. After the mill the river passes under the A149 coast road and then skirts around the northern side of the village of Heacham. The river then flows through Heacham Park where it has been dammed to form a small lake. After the lake the river goes north for a couple of hundred feet before turning west again crossing low-level meadows. The river ends up against the tidal flaps at North Beach between Hunstanton and Heacham, where it fills a series of pools that run parallel to the coast. These pools discharge at low tide. The river supports a varied and diverse wildlife population including the water vole. There is also a small breeding trout population in the upper reaches, while in the lower reaches eels can be found.

External links

  • Heacham – Community website
  • Heacham Online
  • William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1845
  • 1891 Census of Heacham
  • Norfolk Lavender


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