'The West Runton cliffs are breathtaking' Q&A with Ruthie Collins

Writer Ruthie Collins pictured with a hibernaculum - a place for wildlife to seek refuge. 

Writer Ruthie Collins pictured with a hibernaculum - a place for wildlife to seek refuge. - Credit: Mary Doggett

Each week, we shine a spotlight on someone who lives or works in north Norfolk. Answering the questions for this week's Q&A is Ruthie Collins, 21, from the Broads, who is one of the faces behind a 'fairy door trail' running in Holt over summer. 

How would you best describe your job or role in the community?
I’m a writer. I’m currently working on a series of poems and trails - including the Holt Fairy Door Trail - supporting biodiversity learning and nature connection with Natural Wonder, which is supported by Arts Council England and North Norfolk District Council, plus others like National Geographic Education.

Gavin Middleton, Men's Shed, Elena Parkin, Holt Library manager, Emma Blount, artist, Cllr Eric Vard

Gavin Middleton, Men's Shed, Elena Parkin, Holt Library manager, Emma Blount, artist, Cllr Eric Vardy, Holt town mayor Rodney Smith, Ruthie Collins, writer and Natural Wonder coordinator, and Holt Community Primary School students, Pia, Aidan, Sophia, Evie, Jessica, Isaac, Arthur, Bella, Maisie, Vincent and Freya with the decorated fairy doors which will make up a trail around Holt. - Credit: Danielle Booden

How long have you lived in the area?
I’ve lived on the edge of Norwich where the Broads National Park starts now for four years, though initially split my time between Norfolk and my hometown Cambridge where I was working and writing. The Broads are such a beautiful part of Norfolk.

What would you do if you were mayor for a day?
Ask all to wake up early and listen to the dawn chorus. Also ask parties to stop fighting and work together on climate change. In addition to vital tree planting and clean tech, this means helping communities most impacted by fossil fuel use – reassessing profiting from them for carbon impact and destruction.

West Runton beach

West Runton beach. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What is your favourite landmark in north Norfolk?
I absolutely love the sight of the cliffs at West Runton when you get to the beach – just breathtaking. I really love the views from the coast hopper buses along the coast, too – so beautiful. And there’s nothing like the sight of the beaches rippling out to sea across the North Norfolk coast.

What is your favourite pub?
I love the Red Lion in Cromer – so friendly and my dog is a bit obsessed with going in there. The first time she visited Cromer she was in there like a shot.

West Runton village stores and post office. Picture: Supplied by Andrea Loakes

West Runton village stores and post office. - Credit: Supplied by Andrea Loakes

Which shops do you rely on?
I love places like the post office in West Runton that really keep communities going - I snapped up an excellent writing notebook in there recently. Amazing staff. I spent a blissful time in Oola Boola in Holt after a day talking owl sightings with residents for my new poem The Owl Fairies of Holt, too.

What is your favourite place to eat out in north Norfolk?
Recently I crunched through some major edits on a commission while writing in Tides Restaurant on Cromer Pier. I don’t know if I was a bit delirious from work and words, but the brownie was literally the best brownie I’ve ever had.

A day out in Cromer, lunch at The Tides Restaurant on the Pier. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Tides Restaurant on Cromer Pier. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

What is a perfect day in north Norfolk for you?
Hearing my boy laughing and playing with friends at Happisburgh beach – they love the rocks there. Walking down the winding little road to the beach from the train station at West Runton with my dog is also one of my fave ways to spend the morning around there.

Which places in north Norfolk would you recommend to visitors?
The Holt Fairy Door Trail. Also, I'd recommend spots on the coast like Cromer, West Runton, Happisburgh, Blakeney and Stiffkey, plus places inland for biodiversity like wildflower centre Natural Surroundings, are all places I’ve recommended. Routes on Norfolk Trails like the Weavers' Way – cycling from North Walsham on the bike.

Ruthie Collins, on the beach in West Runton with a canine companion. 

Ruthie Collins, on the beach in West Runton with a canine companion. - Credit: Supplied by Ruthie Collins

Who is your north Norfolk hero?
I’m inspired by Bev Broadhead in Cromer, who is Artist Union Rep for Norfolk. Librarians like Elena Parkin from Norfolk Libraries work so hard to ensure the community benefit from literature. Also, Michelle who runs The Hut, in West Runton – I’ve written a poem, Fossil Fox, in my series inspired by talking with her.

What do you most love about north Norfolk?
Its beauty has long inspired writers and artists, I once wrote a feature on how the witches' stones of Happisburgh inspired Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore’s sculpture. I also respect how communities here speak out on issues like housing for locals and have a strong community spirit.