Save Me

Please sign in to view your Saves

*New* Coastal Exploration company coming to Norfolk

Wells-next-the-Sea Quay

Boats will be moored at Wells-next-the-Sea Quay

Gorgeous, photogenic, peaceful, arty, friendly… these are all words commonly used to describe Norfolk, but adventurous? Er…

One man hoping to change the perception that Norfolk isn’t for the adventure-seeker is ex-marine Henry Chamberlain, who has been beavering away restoring traditional Norfolk fishing boats to take visitors – and locals – out to fish, camp and experience the adventurous side of Norfolk.

I spoke to Henry to find out more about his new venture:

Tell me about the boats

I have three boats: a 30′ whelk boat; a 20′ crab boat and a small, flat-bottomed Brancaster Mussel Flat moored at North Norfolk’s Wells-Next-the-Sea.  I have spent the last five years re-building the boats using traditional boat building skills. I have also had the original sails made where possible so, for, example a lug rig for the crab boat and, for the whelk boat, a gaff rig, although this would not have been standard.

The whelk boat undergoing extensive refurbishment

The whelk boat undergoing extensive refurbishment


'My Girls' - a 1965 Crab boat from Sheringham restored using traditional methods

‘My Girls’ – a 1965 Crab boat from Sheringham restored using traditional methods


Preparing for the sea

Preparing for the sea


My Girls under sail

My Girls under sail

What type of trips will you offer?

All the trips will be bespoke according to what the customer wants, but there will be some dominant themes, for example a three-day sail from Thornham to Blakeney travelling along the coast and overnighting on secluded creaks and beaches.

Trips go from Thornham (top) to Blakeney (bottom)

Trips will depart from Thornham (top) and end at Blakeney (bottom)

The focus will be a demanding, all round adventure experiences – traditional sailing,  swimming, an element of fitness, foraging for food, teaching navigation… it will be a mechanism for people to learn about the coast, but also to discover a bit about themselves as well.

I am also planning other more specialised trips: a two-three day traditional smuggling course – exploring the possibility of trading under sail along the coast – as well as wildlife trips to see the best of Norfolk’s wildlife.

Smuggling operations on a remote beach

Smuggling operations on a remote beach

So nothing for the faint-hearted?

I will also run more relaxing trips if there is demand, perhaps just for the day with the focus being on a well-prepared hamper, nice beaches etc – the client can dictate the pace here. There are lots of possibilities, ranging from just three to four hours, to three to four days, each developed according to the clients’ needs, tides and, of course, the weather!

Fancy something more low-key? Henry will also run trips to picnics on beaches

Fancy something more low-key? How about a gentle boat ride to a picnic spot on the beach?

Sounds like people will be putting a lot of trust in you…

As a former Royal Marine, I  have undergone extensive training and conducted operations using small boats, which – combined with the fact that I am a Norfolk boy and have spent many years navigating the local creaks – have the depth of experience to provide a safe but adventurous experience.

My passion for travel and adventure provides another angle, which is the land-based component of foraging for food, navigation and fitness.

Foraging for mussels will be part of the experience

Foraging for mussels will be part of the experience


I worked in the Caucasus mountains for four years, mainly in the north of Georgia and Southern Chechnya, have lived in Darfur, South Sudan and the Nuba mountains, running (among other things) camel patrols and working with the opposition forces trying to facilitate access for humanitarian agencies, and have also spent time Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia – can you tell I have a passion for adventure travel?

I have also travelled with Sudanese nomads, ridden a 350 Royal Enfield motorbike from India to Norfolk and cycled on a local bike across Mozambique – it is this type of approach to travel and adventure that I am trying to bring to Norfolk.

[Editor’s note: OK, OK – show off!]

Can you sum up your new company in one sentence?

Demanding, but fun, adventure travel balanced with some of the best food, comfortable camping (under canvas on the boat) and access to one of the most beautiful parts of the UK.

Sounds amazing – where do I sign up?

The website will launch shortly, but in the meantime, readers can email: [email protected]

The Coastal Exploration Company launches this summer




tagged in


3 comments on “*New* Coastal Exploration company coming to Norfolk”

  • David Diggens ( ex Army) July 15, 2016

    Lets meet up – After 3 years of doing something similar I am happy to share my experiences and knowledge with you.

    Look forward to hearing from you.


    David Diggens

  • Jonathan September 2, 2016

    We are planning a Norfok Gin cargo run together!

    • jogardner September 2, 2016

      Look at that – two of my Little Black Bookers working together! Do I get a cut? You can pay me in Gin (still enjoying my little bottle!). Hope you are well. Jo x


Tell us what you think

Your email address will not be published.

* Required
* Required

Little Black Book

The Little Black Book

Our A-Z of the grooviest local businesses to help make your life easier

View the businesses
Home icon Back home

The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Norfolk