Happisburgh Coastline, Norfolk, 11th November 2017

November 15, 2017
Written by: Rob Slusar

A month or so ago, my friend and I set up a date to go up to Norfolk for a day with our cameras. We hoped for good weather, and as it turned out, we got it.

It seems fitting that on the 11th of November, we would select a number of World War II defensive positions as our target for the day.

We set out from Cambridge with the day cold, but dry. We had 3 main targets. Happisburgh Lighthouse, the WWII defences and some long exposure shots on the beach. We managed to stretch to all 3. Here are the results.

Happisburgh Lighthouse:

The red and white lighthouse stood out amongst the blue and the green.

We got lucky with the weather, but we got even luckier with the cloud formations on the day.

This vapour trail from a passing plane almost seems to come out of the lighthouse like a candle .

Rolling hills.

One of the pill boxes in this vast green field.

Another more robust pill box with blast walls internally for protection.

Trying to be artistic from inside of the pill box.

Black and white with the lighthouse in the background. This pill box felt less robust than the others. Perhaps it was for lookout only.

You can see off in the distance another pill box by the lighthouse. This area was very well defended if the unthinkable was to happen.

The pill box close to the lighthouse.

The obligatory 2 for 1 shot.

The lighthouse stands proud. This lighthouse still operates.


We had hoped to get down to a pill box which had fallen onto the beach. However, with the tide we decided not to chance it.

We then headed up to the cliff top WWII gun position.

It was believed during the early part of the war that invasion was a real possibility. Outside of the obvious Kent coastline, Norfolk was considered a viable invasion position. Once this was established, pill boxes, gun positions and radar positions were mounted all along the Norfolk coast. This position with its 2 gun positions and network of tunnels was one of them.

Spigot mortar bases now left to disappear into the undergrowth. Behind is one of the gun emplacements.

Another pill box at the gun emplacements.

Looking at one of the gun emplacements from the front.

A wide angle with both positions shown.

This is one of the original gun mount positions. You can still see some of the bolts from where the gun was cut away.

We dared venture into one of the bunkers below. I believe this is a light switch or socket of some form.

Once underground we were greeted with some tunnels and bunkers. Some are blocked, this one was more open. I believe this may have been more of a quarter for the gun operators. In the alcove to the right was a ventilation hole, so I suspect this was either a fire or stove.

Sadly, we didnt really have the gear to get into some of the other access hatches on site, but being underground in a place that was clearly important in the defence of the Norfolk coast was a great experience. Well it was for me.

After extracting ourselves from the ground and working out what time it was, we headed up the coast to do some long exposure photos of coastal defences of a different kind.

Wooden sea wall. I found that this batch of shots looked more moody and atmospheric in black and white, so went with it.

Groynes make the perfect subject along a beach. The wooden ones are my favourite.

A 10 second exposure.

A 60 second exposure.

Finally, with the light fading, we started our way back towards Happisburgh to catch the lighthouse at sunset.

Unfortunately, the cloud had gathered over the course of the day, so the colours in the sky didn’t really go as we liked. We did however get some usable images.

The lighthouse with the light blinking.

Another shot from the pill box looking towards the lighthouse.

On the whole it was a great trip. We got to adventure around the WWII defences, and we got some great images to boot.

There was more we could have seen, so it’s on my list of places to go back to.

Hope you enjoyed this set. I did.

Thanks for looking.



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