River Wissey Lovell Fuller


November 2004

Ray describes a visit to one of West Norfolk's newest enterprises.

Situated in this beautiful region of the North Norfolk Coast, Creake Abbey is a little known gem. Originally an almshouse founded by the Augustinian order in 1206 it was later elevated to abbey status. A major fire in 1484, swiftly followed by the Black Death (which devastated the local community), resulted in the abbey being deserted. Today these atmospheric ruins are managed by English Heritage. Admission is absolutely free!

Creake Abbey Studios

Converted from redundant farm buildings, Creak Abbey Studios are rapidly acquiring a name for artistic excellence. Close to the Abbey, the studios offer visitors the opportunity to meet the artists and browse their work; everything from original oil paintings, photographs and painted furniture to cards, hats, plants and much more.

During the summer, the studios are open every day except Mondays (unless it is a Bank Holiday) from 11.00 until 5.30. During the winter, the site is likely to be closed during the week but will always be open at weekends. We visited on a Sunday.

We were delighted with the Stills Art Photography which had some breath-taking Norfolk landscapes in the most vibrant of colours. Prints are available as are simple framed photographs. Rob Liddington, who used to work in the special effects department at Pinewood Studios, combines his photographic talents with that of chef extra-ordinaire in the Abbey Coffee shop. And what a misnomer that is; you can get coffee and cakes but Rob also offers mouth-watering light luncheons you could die for!

Maureen was quite taken by Circus Designs, run by Clara du Cann and her partner Gary Haigh Smith. Their unique jewellery, and stained glass and mosaics were truly unusual and most pleasant to the eye. The colours of the jewellery in particular were heart stopping. Pat Bustin, the artist was unfortunately not available during our visit, but her work to quote her own brochure is "enthusiastic".

If you want an unusual day out this autumn, I urge you to visit Abbey Studios; if only to partake of the light luncheon!

Ray Thompson

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