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Weybourne is the only intermediate station on the North Norfolk Railway and has been carefully restored to its original condition as an M&GN country station. Like Upper Sheringham, Weybourne was mentioned in the Domesday book (then Wabrume or Wabrunna), though human occupation of this area goes back many thousands of years with evidence from the Stone Age found on Kelling Heath, a hoard of thirteen Iron Age gold stater coins unearthed in Weybourne, and Roman potteries in the area.
The village of Weybourne lies about a mile north of the station and is well worth a visit. There is a tarmac footpath from the station all the way to the centre of the village, which has a shop, pub (The Ship) and two hotels (The Maltings and, about a mile to the west The Pheasant). The shingle beach is another half mile or so beyond the village centre.
The church in the village incorporates some of the remains of an old Augustinian priory founded around 1200 AD by Sir Ralph de Meyngaren (Mainwaring), and the tower of an earlier Saxon church. The priory was a very simple affair with a prior and three canons, it survived until Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of monasteries in 1538.
Weybourne is situated where the sandy cliffs meet the shingle bank protecting the North Norfolk salt marshes. This piece of coast is referred to as Weybourne Hope, where there is very deep water close into the shore making it an ideal landing point for an invasion. This gave rise to the old rhyme:
“He who would old England win, must at Waborne Hoop begin”.
So great was the threat in 1588 the area was fortified against possible attack by the Spanish Armada. During the Second World War, there was a large army camp, Weybourne Camp, which was an Anti-Aircraft (ack-ack) Artillery range. The Norfolk coastline here became a military controlled zone and was a restricted area for civilians. Winston Churchill visited the camp twice, and may well have arrived by train at Weybourne station. The camp closed in 1958 and is now home to the famous Muckleburgh Collection, the UK’s largest privately owned working military museum.
When the Eastern and Midlands railway extended the line from Holt to Cromer in 1887 there was no station at Weybourne. It wasn’t until the Poppyland tourist boom of the late 1890s that the M&GN decided that they would attempt to develop Weybourne as a holiday resort. The station was built in 1900 (as shown on the front of the building) and opened to passengers on the 1st of July 1901. It was built to serve the imposing Weybourne Springs Hotel (now demolished) which was also built around this time. Weybourne station is not what we know as a typical M&GN station as it was built by local craftsmen in a grand late Victorian style, and it was arguably one of the grandest stations on the M&GN.
The station here has been restored to recreate the early 1900s in the original M&GN tan and cream colour scheme.
The grand centrepiece of the station is the booking hall with its interesting high timbered ceiling. Leading off this is the restored ladies waiting room. In one corner you will find the ticket window with its period style booking office behind. There is a railway bookshop in the old Stationmaster’s office on the platform selling new and secondhand books. There is a disabled toilet/baby changing room in the former lamp room at the Holt end of the building. The former parcels office has been converted into a small period style souvenir shop and buffet. The station is a popular venue for civil weddings due to its period atmosphere.
Trains use both platforms here, depending on the service operating. At peak times trains to Holt leave from the south platform, which is over the footbridge which was moved here from Stowmarket in Suffolk on the Norwich to London line due to electrification. From the footbridge you get panoramic views back towards Sheringham and down to the sea.
There are usually some historic goods vehicles in the bay platform including a Southern Railway parcels van housing a model railway that is usually open when the railway is running.
There are several interesting walks from this station, up towards Kelling Heath or across the fields to Sheringham Park. Some give stunning views of the surrounding countryside, especially of Weybourne village, windmill and the coastline. There are display maps on the station platforms.
At this station the trains are controlled by M&GN somersault signals, these are unusual as they pivot in the middle rather than at the end. They are operated from the signalbox which was rescued from Holt in 1967 to replace the original Weybourne box demolished by BR in 1964 along with the adjacent waiting room on this platform. The present waiting room was built in 1987.
You may also be interested to visit the replica World War 2 allotment complete with Anderson Shelter, this is through the bridge at the Holt end of the south side platform. This was created for our popularwar time events and is also used as part of the ‘Evacuee Days’ educational experience run for school groups. This area also gives a great view of the trains. On the opposite side of the line is a large grassed picnic area.
The railway’s engines and carriages are restored and maintained in the well equipped workshops on the seaward side of Weybourne station. The operational locomotives are usually stabled at the Sheringham end of the yard. It is here, early in the morning that engines are prepared for their working day and also disposed at the end of the day. Unfortunately, public access is not normally permitted on Health and Safety grounds.
The station itself is located over a mile from the village of Weybourne and is closer to Weybourne Heath. It was not originally intended to be the site of a station, and opened in 1901 (later than most of the line) at the behest of a local hotel owner.
From time to time, Weybourne railway station (as well as the NNR itself) is used for filming and on-screen TV appearances, most notably as Walmington-on-Sea railway station in the Dad’s Army episode “The Royal Train”, as Crimpton-on-Sea railway station in the BBC TV sitcom Hi-De-Hi! as well as the 1985 adaptation of The Moving Finger.
Kelling Heath Park is a small halt on the NNR, used mostly by hikers. It was not on the original British Rail line, but was opened after the line was preserved.
The station was opened in 1983 as part of the NNR‘s extension to Kelling; a very short half coach-length halt was constructed principally to serve the nearby caravan park. Upon the completion of the extension to Holt in 1989, ‘Kelling Camp Halt’ was demolished and a new longer platform was constructed, ¼ of a mile further up the hill to the west; the station was also renamed “Kelling Heath Park“.