alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts from the ‘Norfolk’ category

The ruins of St Benet’s Abbey in Norfolk

The ruins of St Benet’s Abbey on the banks of the River Bure within the Norfolk Broads are the best part of 1,000 years old. In 1020 King Cnut who ruled both England and Denmark, granted land and property to the hermits at St Benet’s and so the Benedictine Monastery was formed. It changed and expanded over the centuries and in the second half of the 18th Century a farmer built a windmill inside the abbey gatehouse. Some time later it was converted to a windpump but this ceased operating and now forms part of the abbey ruins.




Little remains of the monastery but in 1987 a tall cross was erected on the position of the High Alter. It was made from oak from the Royal Estate at Sandringham and can be seen from miles around.






Happisburgh Lighthouse on the Norfolk coast


Happisburgh Lighthouse


Happisburgh Lighthouse (pronounced ‘Haze-bruh’) is the oldest working light in East Anglia and the only one in Great Britain which is independently run and maintained through voluntary contributions. Built in 1790 and originally one of a pair, the lighthouse is 85ft tall and the lantern is 134ft above sea level. It overlooks the dramatic North Sea coastline which is constantly under threat from coastal erosion, and to this day threatens many seaside homes.

Interestingly the lighthouse was painted in bands in 1884 after the second lighthouse was demolished in the previous year. This was to distinguish the Happisburgh lighthouse from the tower at Winterton, a short distance along the coast.

Having enjoyed a good late afternoon walk along the beach, I drove from the car park back towards the centre of the village before turning into the lane which leads to the lighthouse. I was keen to see whether or not there was a good view with setting sun behind me. Standing proud on the hill, with the low angled sun light illuminating the field in the foreground, I was able to capture this image. I couldn’t have been more fortunate with the cloudscape, which provides a lovely backdrop to the main event.

Turf Fen Mill on the Norfolk Broads



The Norfolk Broads are a series of rivers and lakes (broads) most of which are navigable and together they form an area which has been called ‘Britain’s Magical Waterland’. The area is renowned for its big skies and windmills.

The drainage mill pictured in this post is Turf Fen Mill on the River Ant in Irstead and was taken from the river path at How Hill. Built in 1875 the mill ceased working in 1920, when cattle no longer grazed the marshes. Since 1976 the mill has been restored and maintained by the Norfolk Windmills Trust.


Pastimes on the coast – people in photographs

Wave watchers

Wave watchers

People don’t normally feature in my photographs. I normally wait for them to move out of shot before pressing the shutter. Just occasionally they will enhance a photograph by adding an extra element or storyline to an image which I like.

This short series of just six pictures all taken on the North Norfolk coast last year, illustrate what I am trying to say. Imagine taking the people out of each shot and what would you be left with? In each case a pleasing but hardly noteworthy image of the foreshore, the sea and in some cases a good sky. However the inclusion of a person or people to the shot, tells the viewer something else about the location. It documents how we interact with a particular location, in this case the enjoyment of our coastline, the sea and the large open skies.

Irrespective of the weather we might walk along the foreshore collecting our thoughts, listening to the sounds made by the shingles beneath our feet; or look out through a telescope to the far horizon, waiting to sight an elusive migratory bird flying in from others shores; or casting a line and just sitting patiently for a fish to take a bite; or throwing stones into the waves as the winds and high tide combine, all captured on a friend’s smartphone; or just sitting and watching from a sand dune with no one else around other than our trusted four legged companion……and at the end of the day, as the sun starts to set, walking back home only to return another day.

Is it any wonder we find pleasure and a certain peace with the coast, as we combine our hobbies with a dramatic and beautiful location.

There is of course someone else enjoying their hobby in these photographs……and that’s me!

Bird watchers

Bird watchers

One man and his dog

One man and his dog

The catch

The catch

Alone on the shore

Alone on the shore

End of the day

End of the day

To see a larger version, please click on an image. You may need to do this on a couple of the pictures to appreciate some of the detail.

Last light of the day on Cley Windmill

Cley Windmill

This very fine windmill can be found at Cley Next The Sea, on the North Norfolk Coast. The last light of the day fell on the mill and lit up the white painted sails, the terrace of village houses and the reeds in the foreground.  Minutes later the sun had dropped below the horizon and my camera was packed away in its bag, waiting for the light of another day.