Happisburgh revealed as north Norfolk's most isolated spot

Buses in North Walsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Sanders buses in North Walsham. The company's network in north-east Norfolk does not reach some parishes, such as East Ruston and Eccles-on-Sea - Credit: Archant

It is known best known for a red-and-white banded lighthouse which has stood sentinel over the cliffs since 1791.

But now new figures from the Department of Transport have revealed Happisburgh has another, far more dubious distinction: It is the most isolated neighbourhood in north Norfolk, and one of the most isolated in the county. 

According to the figures the average minimum journey times to the nearest key services for Happisburgh residents was 63.5 minutes when walking or taking public transport, 48.3 minutes by bicycle or 23 minutes by car. 

This contracts sharply with north Norfolk's best-connected neighbourhood, Sheringham North, where the average minimum journey time was 23.6 minutes by foot or public transport, 23.1 minutes by bike or 14.7 minutes by car. 

And although Happisburgh sits on a bus route - Sanders' No.34 from Stalham to North Walsham - some surrounding parishes such as East Ruston and Eccles-on-Sea lack even that service. 

Lucy Shires, district councillor for Happisburgh, said the absence of better links was acutely felt by some in the community.

She said: "If you're a family, you cannot take your child to a local health appointment outside school hours on public transport.

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"If you need to take your child to the doctors and you don't have a car, they either have to miss school, or wait for a school holiday. 

"It also means young people have reduced opportunities in terns of jobs - as getting to Norwich and back for nine-to-five work hours is very difficult.

Lucy Shires, county councillor for North Walsham East.

Lucy Shires, North Norfolk district councillor for Happisburgh ward - Credit: Supplied

Norfolk County Council has acknowledged improvements need to be made as some communities still suffer from "inadequate or no bus services".

A spokesperson said: "Whilst our bus network is strong in many areas there are still communities and pockets that have inadequate or no bus services.

"In our rural areas, bus services operate between our market towns and intervening settlements, although many rural settlements do not have bus services that meet our well-established minimum standards."

Ms Shires said supporting young people should be at the heart of the county council's public transport policy. The council said it was already working on a Bus Service Improvement Plan aimed at improving services for the whole of Norfolk.

The statistics were gathered from the travel times to eight key local services during the 'morning peak' between 7am and 10am in October, 2019.

Property: Splendid isolation

Brown&Co real estate manager Vicki Foreman said isolation sometimes made certain spots more popular. 

She said: “Some of the locations we sell or rent in of course include picturesque villages with good pubs and a few shops but can be quite remote in terms of transport links.

Vicki Foreman, residential and lettings manager at Brown&Co

Vicki Foreman, residential and lettings manager at Brown&Co - Credit: Brown&Co

"However, that can, in some instances, make some properties in those locations more popular with people paying more because they are away from main roads.

"Many people do want to live close to amenities, such as those with children wanting to be close to schools or people without a car.

"Older people in particular want to live near bus routes and shops.

"So a property which comes up for sale or rent in an area with those benefits is going to be worth more."